THE LWVWA VOTER is published 6 times a year. Find out what we’ve been up to!
We had a wonderful new members’ reception and enjoyed getting to know each other better. We hope each member can find an aspect of the League that helps them become more involved in local policy issues!
Anne Smith, LWV-WA and LWV-WA Board Member and Convention Chair
I am excited to tell you about the 39th LWV-VA Convention at the Norfolk Waterside Marriott on May 17-19. We think this will be both an informative and fun session! The location is close and easy to access so you can come for the full Convention or take advantage of the single-day registration.
The League of South Hampton Roads is the host League and has planned activities on Friday evening … a “Dine Around” to take advantage of Norfolk’s fine restaurants or a water ferry to those in Olde Towne Portsmouth. You can register early, beginning at 5:00 pm Friday, May 17, and join the fun. Saturday morning’s plenary session will be League business, primarily reports. Voting will take place during the Sunday morning plenary.
Diversity and Inclusion are major considerations for all levels of the League – National, State, and Local. Saturday’s lunch speaker on Diversity is Christy S. Coleman, a Williamsburg native with extraordinary accomplishments. Named by Time as “One of 31 People Changing the South,” she is the CEO of Richmond’s American Civil War Museum, which encompasses several historic sites. Previously, she was President/CEO of the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit and Director of Historic Programs for Colonial Williamsburg.
Let Mary Schilling know of your interest in attending soon.
Registration ends April 25.
We have some truly informative breakout sessions planned for Saturday afternoon. Speakers include Jim Spore, 30+ year Virginia Beach City Manager talking about Infrastructure, Innovation, Transportation issues. Others include Skip Stiles, Executive Director of Wetlands Watch on “What about This Weather?”; Walt Latham, York County Director of Elections/General Registrar and President of the Voter Registrars Association of Virginia; and W&M Law Professor Rebecca Green on Redistricting Reform. Before our Sunday a.m. plenary session, Ron Carlee will speak on “Defending Democracy on All Levels.” A professor at Old Dominium University, Dr. Carlee, past Arlington, VA County Manager and Charlotte, NC City Manager, is a global presenter for the International City Managers Association (ICMA).
Although Convention adjourns at noon Sunday, the South Hampton Roads League has scheduled a “bonus session” for the afternoon focused on THE ENVIRONMENT. It includes knowledgeable speakers on a topic relevant for us all, including combating rising sea levels. LWV-WA can send eleven voting delegates, but absolutely every member is welcome to attend as observers and participate in every way except voting … it is an opportunity to learn, meet others from around the Commonwealth, and also … have fun! I hope many of you will choose to participate as observers.
by Mary Ann Moxon, Publicity/Outreach member
Members of the Williamsburg Area LWV
visited “TENACITY: Women in Jamestown and
Early Virginia” exhibit on opening day
November 10 at Jamestown Settlement.
Women’s roles in early Virginia were rarely
recorded. Historians have gathered facts about a
few of the women who are the subjects of this
yearlong exhibit. The special exhibition is a
legacy project of the 2019 Commemoration,
American Evolution, a national observance of
the 400th anniversary of key historical events
that occurred in Virginia in 1619 and continue to
influence America today.
This story-driven exhibition features
artifacts, images, interactives and primary
sources – some on display in America for the
first time – to examine the struggles women
faced in the New World and their contributions.
The first Englishwoman Anne Burras Laydon
arrived in 1608 at age 14 as a maidservant;
Cockacoeske, a Indian woman recognized by the
colonial government as the “Queen of the
Pamunkey” who ruled until her death in
1686; Angelo, the first documented African
woman in 1619. The exhibit shows the Virginia
Company of London’s effort to encourage the
growth of the Jamestown colony by recruiting
single English women. From women’s roles to
women’s rights, these tenacious women
profoundly influenced the early years of the
Below President Mary Schilling is pictured
with Coline Jenkins, great-great-granddaughter
of suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who came
for the opening of the exhibit. The exhibit
continues until January 5, 2020. Be sure to see it.
by Phoebe Kent, Voter Co-editor
LWV-VA League Day at the General Assembly is Wednesday, February 6, 2019. We will attend the Women’s Legislative Round Table (WLRT) from 8:30-9:30 a.m. After WLRT, members will visit the offices of key Senators and Delegates to advocate for legislative action.
Williamsburg Leaguers will gather at the Capitol to be seated together in the Senate or House Galleries for the noon recognition ceremonies. It’s a thrill to be introduced and recognized by Lt. Governor Fairfax in the Senate or House Speaker Cox – and we hope to have a good-sized crowd present. Lunch and networking with other League members follows. An Italian buffet lunch will be served at the nearby Berkeley Hotel. Luncheon pre-registration is required by February 1. To register for the lunch, go here.
William and Mary president Katherine Rowe was the featured speaker of our fall membership meeting. Read the Virginia Gazette Coverage here!
Katherine Rowe, president of the College of William and Mary, said the school was celebrating 100 years of women at the college. Rowe said while changes were happening at the college, Virginia, its home, rejected the ratification of the suffrage amendment in 1920. The Commonwealth did not symbolically ratify suffrage until 1952.
“In alignment with these centennials, we find the opportunity to reflect on that generation who brought the franchise for women, particularly the women of that generation,” Rowe said. “I want to say that in our current generation of students now, I see a generation that is prime to make a similarly great impact on the world.”
Rowe discussed student civic engagement and was named the first honorary member of the Williamsburg Area League of Women Voters at its fall membership meeting Wednesday night.
One of the reasons Rowe said she felt the current generation of undergraduate students were poised to make an impact on the world was because they were more engaged with their communities than past generations.
“The world is here all the time and (students) are in it,” Rowe said. “There is no more bubble of college anymore…for better or for worse.”
She added while students are more aware of the immense challenges they have inherited, they are also are still optimistic about searching for solutions. Rowe said she is especially inspired by undergraduates’ sense of responsibility to build better communities.
“This generation of undergraduates are going to be the critical partners in sustaining our democracy,” Rowe said. “So we need to be listening and learning from them as they too need to be listening and learning from us.”
A member of the audience asked Rowe how the League of Women Voters could attract a younger and more diverse membership population. Rowe said she suggested simply asking younger voters what they thought.
“As a teacher, I would partner with students in the class because they knew things about what their learning process was like that I didn’t know, and if I engaged them as partners I would always come to better solutions,” Rowe said. “So my answer to you is ask, and you will get fantastically exciting ideas.”
Another member of the audience asked Rowe about the college’s Neighborhood Relations Committee. She said most people in the surrounding neighborhoods used the committee to complain about issues with college students. The woman asked Rowe if the committee could be used to create more positive interactions between the community and students, rather than just being used as a sounding board for complaints.
Rowe said she enjoyed the idea another person had brought up that evening, which was inviting college students over for dinner to get to know them.
“You have chosen to live right next to a college campus. It has its challenges, it has extraordinary benefits, so I would think about how we can embrace the vitality of that 18-22-year-old moment,” Rowe said. “And it starts with a nice dinner at midterms.”
At the end of the night, Mary Schilling, president of the Williamsburg Area League of Women Voters, named Rowe the first honorary member of the Williamsburg League.
Rowe reflected on her first memory of voting from when she was 6 or 7 years old. Rowe’s said she was allowed by to follow her mother into a voting booth by their local League of Women Voters. There Rowe looked up curiously as her mother cast a ballot.
“It was thrilling to be able to watch an adult vote,” Rowe said.
Later in life, Rowe said she volunteered for the Judge of Elections in Philadelphia.
“It was inspiring to be part of a democratic process,” Rowe said. “I owe a lot to the League of Women Voters, and to everyone who has helped to foster a commitment to (civic) participation.”
by Phoebe Kent, The Voter co-editor
The Williamsburg League’s fall program features The College of William & Mary’s new president Katherine A. Rowe. The October 10 event at Legacy Hall begins at 4:30 pm. A reception will follow President Rowe’s remarks.
In July The College of William & Mary began an exciting new chapter; its 28th president is a recognized leader, teacher, scholar, and entrepreneur – and its first woman president. Prior to William & Mary, Rowe held a number of leadership positions in higher education.
From 2014 to 2018, she was provost, dean of the faculty, and Sophia Smith Professor of English Language & Literature at Smith College. She is deeply interested in design thinking, entrepreneurship, and the digital humanities and has been nationally recognized as an innovator in higher education. During her tenure, Smith transformed its liberal arts curriculum, greatly increased diversity in faculty hiring, launched one of the first statistical and data sciences majors at a liberal arts college (and the first at a women’s college) and broke national fundraising records for women’s colleges.
Prior to joining Smith, Rowe spent 16 years at Bryn Mawr College as an English professor, department chair and director of the Katharine Houghton Hepburn Center for leadership and public engagement. Before that she was an assistant professor of literature at Yale. Rowe is cofounder and former CEO of Luminary Digital Media, which developed a series of educational apps enhancing student engagement and learning of classic Shakespearean texts.
Rowe earned a bachelor’s degree in English and American literature from Carleton College and a master’s and a PhD in English and American literature from Harvard. She has completed graduate work in Cinema and Media Studies at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her areas of research and scholarship include Shakespeare, Milton, Spenser, Medieval and Renaissance drama and media history.
Rowe has coached Ultimate Frisbee and led multiple teams to state championships in Pennsylvania. She was a World Ultimate Club Finalist and a Women’s Nationals Finalist. She and her husband Bruce Jacobson have two adult children, Danny and Beah.
Unanimously elected by William & Mary’s Board of Visitors in February, President Rowe was officially sworn in on July 2. She describes her goal for her first semester as one of “sustained, strategic listening” to all elements of the community. We are indeed fortunate to have this early opportunity to meet and hear her.
by Les Solomon, Membership Co-chair & LWVUS Convention Delegate
Creating a More Perfect Democracy was the theme of the 53th National LWV Convention. More than 1000 League leaders attended the four-day convention that included excellent speakers, workshops, and thoughtful, methodical debate.
My key takeaways:
1. The LWV National is on sound footing. Two years ago, the financial health of LWVUS was not good; this year, they reported an amazing turnaround with more than $5 million in the black, thanks to strategic planning and a rigorous donor campaign.
2. Membership diversity is a key to sustainable growth. The League’s ongoing Transformation Journey and accompanying Roadmap provide evidence that demographically, the League must change. This initiative was seen as so important that all delegates participated in a seminar, Using Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Lens to Strengthen Social Impact and Collaboration.
3. There is so much energy at the local level to Empower Voters, Defend Democracy. I found the following sessions to be most interesting, many funded by LWVUS grants:
a. Immigration Sharing Session: Immigration policies should promote reunification of immediate families; meet economic, business and employment needs; and be responsive to those facing political persecution or humanitarian crises.
b. Youth Voter Registration: Learn Winning Tactics. Learn strategies for planning registration events that get the biggest bang for your volunteer buck and help empower young people!
4. Interesting Brochures (contact me for more info)
a. Engaging Members: Moving individuals onto & up the leadership ladder.
b. The Voter Girl Project: A youth citizenship project with the Girls Scouts.
c. National Popular Vote
d. Did you know that the US deports some veterans? #Deportedveterans
e. Why We Should Abolish the Electoral College: Since 1970, the LWV has believed that the Electoral College should be abolished in favor of a direct popular vote.
5. New LWVUS Statements:
a. Mission: Empowering Voters, Defending Democracy.
b. Vision: We envision a democracy where every person has the desire, the right, the knowledge, and the confidence to participate.
c. Value: We believe in the power of women to create a more perfect democracy. (The Value Statement raised some interesting questions regarding diversity.)
6. August 26, 2020. Get ready to celebrate the centennial of women’s suffrage marking a century after the ratification of the 19th Amendment. Our featured speaker at the banquet was Elaine Weiss, author of The Women’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote.
Thank you for the opportunity to be one of your delegates to the 2018 LWVUS Convention.
by Phoebe Kent, The Voter Co-editor
Our Williamsburg League will host the LWV-VA Fall Workshops at Colonial Williamsburg’s Woodlands Conference Center on Saturday, September 8. The morning plenary session includes welcomes by Virginia League President Sue Lewis and Williamsburg President Mary Schilling, consideration of how to attract and energize membership, and a variety of issues relating to voter access and outreach. After lunch, all attendees will focus on advocacy issues. Following an explanation of the difference between advocacy and lobbying, attendees will consider issues including Behavioral Health, Education, Election Integrity, ERA Ratification, and Gun Violence Prevention. We look forward to welcoming to Williamsburg representatives from leagues throughout the Commonwealth for this informative and useful day of sharing strategies and ideas. At this time, 22 Williamsburg members are planning to assist with workshop logistics and attend the programs. The meeting will conclude at 3 pm.
8:00 – 9:15 Registration
8:45 – 9:15 Local League Presidents Pre-session Briefing: Things you need to know
Greeting and Welcome … Sue Lewis, LWV-VA President, Mary Schilling, President LWV-WA Host League
2018 LWVUS Convention through the Eyes of a Local League
9:30 Membership and capacity building … “Attracting and Energizing”
Attracting New and Engaging Current Members …
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Local Leagues Exchange … Community Building and Ideas
Fund-raising, Revenue Development, How to Use Social Media
11:00 Voter Outreach/Access
Election system and process security
All About Debates
Advocacy vs Lobbying
Gun Violence Prevention
NOTE: This year there will be no breakout sessions. Everyone will have access to everything as panels and issues leaders do presentations.