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!
Empowering Voters. Defending Democracy.