W&M President Rowe to Speak at Fall Meeting

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.

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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.

Six Takeaways from the LWV National Convention

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.

Power Up for Action: Williamsburg Hosts Fall Workshops on September 8

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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.

AGENDA 

8:00 – 9:15 Registration

8:45 – 9:15 Local League Presidents Pre-session Briefing: Things you need to know

9:15 Plenary

  • 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

  • Transformational Journey

  • 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

  • Redistricting

  • Registration

  • Voting Rights

    • Election system and process security

    • Voter access

  • VOTE411

  • All About Debates

12:30 Lunch

1:30 Advocacy

  • Advocacy vs Lobbying

  • Behavioral Health

  • Education

  • Election Integrity

  • ERA Ratification

  • Gun Violence Prevention

3:00 Adjourn


NOTE: This year there will be no breakout sessions. Everyone will have access to everything as panels and issues leaders do presentations.

Members: join us at the June 7, 2018 Annual Meeting!

by Phoebe Kent, The Voter Co-Editor

Members at the W&M homecoming paradeCome join us from 4:30-6:30 pm at Legacy Hall in New Town for a lively, interesting Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 7. In addition to the opportunity to converse with fellow members, the meeting features Kelly Thomasson, Governor Northam’s Secretary of Administration, who will share her insights with us. Her responsibilities are many: management of clemency petitions, restoration of civil rights, extraditions, authentication of documents and commissioning of Notary Publics.

Kelly is a graduate of Lead Virginia, a statewide leadership program that gives a select group of professionals the opportunity to learn about regional differences and statewide needs, creating a nonpartisan network of informed, active leaders with a shared vision for the Commonwealth’s future. She currently serves on the Lead Virginia Board of Directors. She was named to Top 40 Under 40 by Style Weekly in 2017.

We will also conduct our formal business – hearing a report from President Mary Schilling, voting for new officers, and approving a budget for 2018-2019. Hors d’oeuvres and drinks will be available. We hope to see you there.

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League of Women Voters State Council

Would you like to observe and participate in the statewide League Council this summer? It takes place on June 16, 2018. Each local League has two voting delegates (the President or designee and one other delegate) but can send an unlimited number of observers.

The Council will be held at the Roslyn Retreat Center, Henrico, VA. The deadline for Council registration is May 31. Registration is $50 for each delegate or observer; reservations need to be made online.

In addition to the discussion of League business, attendees will be able to participate in workshops pertinent to League activities in Virginia. Contact Mary Schilling (president@lwvwilliamsburg.org) if you have questions or are interested in attending.

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President’s Column – May 2018

by Mary Schilling, President, LWV-Williamsburg Area

Again this year, Great Decisions, our signature foreign affairs lecture series, was a huge success—with sold-out crowds plus standbys. Doug Wood managed speaker selection and logistics while Doris and Harvey Margulies orchestrated registration, check-in procedures and correspondence. Mary Anne Miller coordinated hospitality. A special thanks to the team and their many volunteers who provided support. Great Decisions has earned high visibility in the community, and already subscribers are looking forward to next year’s series.

During General Assembly the LWV-VA’s Women’s Legislative Roundtable brought into focus the incredible array of bills proposed in the House of Delegates and the Senate. Each Wednesday a Williamsburg League contingent trekked to Richmond to hear non-profit executives, Delegates, and elected officials discuss bills as they moved through the legislative process. In direct conversations with our local Delegates and Senators we were able to advocate for League positions on a variety of bills. Our League consistently had the largest number of members present, and on one occasion, seated in the House Gallery, we were recognized by the Speaker. Concurrently, a number of League members wrote emails, sent letters, and made phone calls advocating on individual bills. The advocacy efforts were tracked as part of a challenge launched by the LWV-VA.

The March for Our Lives galvanized and mobilized persons of all ages and from diverse communities on issues of sensible gun legislation. What was conceived as a march in our nation’s capital ultimately became hundreds of marches across the country and even abroad on Saturday, March 24. A large crowd gathered at Colonial Williamsburg’s Capitol for speeches, then marched down Duke of Gloucester Street. Many League members joined in the march to demand common-sense solutions to curb gun violence. Others joined the March for Our Lives in DC where nearly a million people gathered near the US Capitol for speeches, videos, and music performances. Similar to other historic marches, these events provided opportunities for the exercise of free speech focused on a critical issue of our day.

“Empowering Voters, Defending Democracy” is the new LWV slogan! As noted by LWVUS, “Voting is a critical cornerstone of our democracy. We must protect the right to vote with laws and policies that make sure all eligible voters are free to exercise that right.” It is imperative that we work to expand voter access, work to register all eligible Americans to vote, and guard against any covert or overt attempts to suppress the right to vote. Further, we need to be vigilant and ready to stand up and speak out when our democratic institutions, norms, and rights are threatened. These are serious times.

Please join us for our Annual Meeting on Thursday, June 7, 4:30-6:30 pm, in New Town’s Legacy Hall. The event includes a reception, brief business meeting, and remarks by the Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth Kelly Thomasson. Passionate about openness and inclusion in state government, Secretary Thomasson assists the Governor in recruiting and appointing Virginians for boards, commissions and councils. Her portfolio includes management of clemency petitions, restoration of civil rights, extraditions, authentication of documents and commissioning of Notary Publics. She is the Governor’s liaison to Virginia’s Indian Tribes as well as the Council on Women and was appointed by former Governor McAuliffe to the Virginia Information Technology Advisory Council. We look forward to seeing you at the meeting!

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Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.