lwv logo
League of Women Voters
of Albany County
Bulletin
February-March 2018
        Issue 9, www.lwvalbany.org
Aimee Allaud & Marian Schwager, Bulletin Editors
Published by League of Women Voters of Albany County, PO Box 611, Slingerlands, NY 12159
Facebook: League of Women Voters of Albany County   
Twitter: @lwvac
In This Issue
Mission
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
Policy on Inclusiveness
The League of Women Voters in both its values and practice is committed to inclusion and diversity. This means:
 

We recognize that diverse perspectives are important and necessary for responsible and representative decision making;


We believe inclusiveness enhances our organization's ability to respond effectively to changing conditions and needs;


We affirm our commitment to reflecting the diversity of Albany County; and


There shall be no barriers to participation in any activity of the League on the basis of economic position, gender, race, ability , age, sexual orientation, creed or national origin. 

 
Quick Links
Electronic Bulletin
Join us in an Afternoon Celebration of  Black History Month
"Surviving Oppression and Adversity.  
Looking at Black History in America"
Sun, Feb. 25, 3:00-5:00 pm
Hubbard Interfaith Sanctuary
College of St. Rose
959 Madison Ave,  Albany

WHAT: A Retelling of Black History in America through 
             Prose and Song
 
WHO:   
Nell Stokes-Holmes, LWVAC member 
Paul Stewart, Founder, Underground Railroad History
         Project, 
Dr. Risa Fausette, historian and Associate Professor
         of History at the College of St. Rose.

WHY : Oppression, persecution, adversity and even genocide have affected ethn ic and cultural groups throughout the annals of history.   Nell Stokes-Holmes will take us through a powerful retelling of Black  history in America.  Guest presenters will then offer insight as to the factors that influenced resilience and fortitude in the face of such oppression and adversity - faith and spirituality, music, martyrs and heroes, and strong women figures in the family.

The program is free and open to the public.   
 
For information contact:  Aimee Allaud, Communications Director, 85aimee@nycap.rr.com
 LWVAC Board meetings are held monthly (see calendar) 
at St. Sophia's church, 440 Whitehall Road, Albany, 
call Margaret Danes, president, 489-4442, mdanes@nycap.rr.com.  
Bulletin editors, Aimee Allaud, 85aimee@nycap.rr.com., and  Marian Schwager, welcome comments and suggestions
   
  League of Women Voters of NYS and
League of Women Voters of NYS Education Foundation  
62 Grand Street, Albany, NY., 12207, Tel: 465-4162 ,  www.lwvny.org., e-mail:lwvny@lwvny.org
Dare Thompson, President
  
League of Women Voters of the US,
1730 M Street, NW., Washington, DC 20036-4508
Tel: 202-429-1965202-429-1965, www.lwv.org
Chris Carson, President  
President's Message

"Voices: Yours, Mine and Ours"  
 
Contrary to that old adage, silence is not golden.  Silence, in fact, allows for a number of injustices and transgressions.  Bullies, bigots, demagogues, oppressors, powerful politicians and business leaders become the victors.  Fear of reprisal, ridicule, or even physical harm are oftentimes components of silence.  But sometimes it's simply inertia and the unwillingness to make the effort. 

Fortunately, there are those who have strong convictions and who have been willing to "step up to the plate."   Throughout the history of mankind we have shining examples of men and women willing to affect positive changes and to make a difference.  In the annals of American history, John F. Kennedy's "Profiles in Courage" is an inspirational accounting of leaders who put the good of the country before their own political careers.  Were that only true today.

There is a need in today's society, perhaps more so than ever, for all of us not to be silent. Growing voter disenfranchisement, distortion of facts and promotion of fiction, equal rights still denied to women while sexual harassment charges are being unveiled daily, corruption in government, vocalization of prejudices and biases, and so much more. 

Should we be quiet?  Should we be jaded?  Should we look away?  What difference will it make?

There are a number of memorable quotes in the book "The Power of One" by Bryce Courtenay, "...man assumes the role of the loner, the thinker, and the searching spirit who calls the privileged and the powerful to task.  The power of one was the courage to remain separate, to think through the truth and not be beguiled by convention or the plausible arguments of those who expect to maintain power, whatever the cost."

Your voice, my voice becomes our voice. 

We can be heard by being visible.  We can be heard by joining rallies.  We can be heard by sending letters and cards.  And we can heard by casting our votes on election day. 

We can be heard.  We can make a difference.  

Margaret Danes, President
THANK YOU
We gratefully acknowledge an anonymous gift of $100 to the LWVAC Education Fund and will be putting it to good use in 2018 as we plan our Voter Service education outreach.  Thank You!

WELCOME....
A warm welcome to our 44 new and returning LWVAC members.  YOU make us strong in Albany County, New York State, and Washington.  Thank you!  
LWVAC Marches!
"Energized and ready to make a difference.   Over 3,000 marchers in the January 20 rally at West Capitol Park heard the call to make a difference.  Speakers urged marchers to do more--volunteer for good candidates, run for office, and VOTE.  We can make a difference."  League had a nice group of women including three from Schenectady.  The message was "Women's rights.  Women vote" and "Your voice.  Your vote!"  
 
What's Next for Civics Education?
Join Us to Decide!
 
At our December 2017 LWVAC program, " Citizenship 101: Educating Citizens for Participation In Democracy. What Does it Take?" we heard from two speakers with years of experience on this topic. Pamela Katz, Professor of Political Science at Sage Colleges, and Richard  Steinbach, Social Studies teacher for 28 years at Troy High School,  presented their findings and recommendations.  We have posted the presentation on the League's website at   http://www.lwvalbany.org/uploads/3/4/2/4/34249262/civicsprogramdec2017.pdf

Based on this, we saw the need to form an exploratory committee on the following questions:
  • What are the current NYS Education requirements for civics education, particularly for the Participation in Government (12th grade) course? How are the requirements being taught?What more is needed to prepare students for participation in democracy?
  • How can the League facilitate authentic learning experiences?
The goals will be: To learn what the LWVNYS is doing on the topic and how the LWVAC
could complement that work in the Capital District.
 
Mary Berry and Aimee Allaud have agreed to co-chair a committee to start the ball rolling by
offering two concurrent meeting times: Evening (hosted by Mary in her home) and Daytime
(hosted by Aimee at St. Sophia's Greek Orthodox Church).   Time Frame: March 2018 for first meetings

Please contact them if you are interested:
Mary Berry, maryb424@aol.com ; Aimee Allaud,   85aimee@nycap.rr.com   
Great Decisions Discussion Group -  Spring 2018
You are Invited to Come to Learn and Discuss

Great Decisions is America's largest discussion program on world affairs. The name is shared by a national civic education program, briefing book and television series administered and produced by the Foreign Policy Association (FPA).  The Great Decisions program highlights eight of the most thought-provoking foreign policy challenges facing Americans each year. The  
Great Decisions briefing book provides background information, current data and policy options for each issue and serves as the focal text for discussion groups. This year the topics are:  the waning of Pax Americana, Russia's Foreign Policy, China and America: The New Geopolitical Equation, Media and Foreign Policy, Turkey:A Partner in Crisis, US Global Engagement and the Military, South Africa's Fragile Democracy, Global Health: Programs and Challenges.  Further information about the FPA and the Great Decisions program including 2018 Briefing Books is available at www.fpa.org
 
Great Decisions Discussion Meetings Spring Schedule
Mondays (Feb.12 and 26, March 12 and 26, April 9 and 23, and May 7 and 21) from 9:30-11:30 in the Community Room at the Berkshire Bank, 11 Vista Blvd., Slingerlands.  To ensure that attendees are aware of the specific aspects of the complex topics that will be under discussion, participants will be required to purchase a copy of the FPA Briefing Book for 2018.  Books can be ordered via the FPA website:   www.fpa.org . Participants rotate leading the discussions and volunteer for providing refreshments.
 
Please note: Meetings of the Great Decisions groups are open to all LWVAC members. All League members who are interested in learning more about foreign policy are welcome, but space is limited. For more information please contact  Martha Kennedy at  
dkennedy2@nycap.rr.com
LWVNYS ADVOCATES HIGHLIGHT NEED FOR PAY EQUITY REDRESS IN LETTER TO EDITOR IN TIMES-UNION, 
January 20, 2018

Underpaid women carry, and care for, the nation
We want to thank the Times Union for publishing the Saratoga County gender pay gap article "Widest gender pay gap," Jan. 11.

This article notes that Saratoga County has earned the dubious distinction of ranking No. 1 in New York state for having the biggest pay gap between female and male workers and correctly points out "women need more education than a man to rank and be paid equally." But, where jobs have been undervalued for centuries, because of association with "women's work," the amount of education and skill required is often dismissed when setting their salary.

Nurses, librarians, child care workers and teaching assistants are among the job titles recognized as traditionally female. The amount of education and skill needed by workers in these jobs is likely to go unrewarded in their salaries. Work that has been historically undervalued and stigmatized for centuries as just women's work needs to be directly addressed to remove imbedded salary discrimination. We need to be asking our school districts what they pay their certified (involves special testing every three years) teaching assistants relative to those in male-dominated jobs like entry-level cleaners (often no minimum qualifications).

After years of attempts at reform, it is interesting how little attention we give to the underpayment of women's work and, more importantly, the underpayment of huge numbers of workers who work very hard. Our society continues to ride heavily on those who are underpaid.

Lois Haignere, Pay Equity Specialist, League of Women Voters of New York State and Barbara Thomas, Women's Issues Specialist, League of Women Voters of New York State
Call for Nominations
 
Many thanks for the hard work of those on the League's Albany County board whose terms will conclude at our Annual Meeting.  Your hard work made a difference, but we know that you'll continue to pitch in whenever you can.

The nominating committee is seeking assistance in suggesting members who could fill the following positions:
  • President or Co-presidents
  • Vice President for Administration
  • Secretary
  • **Directors for
    • Communication
    • Voter Services
    • Membership 
    • Program
    • Webmaster
You may nominate yourself or someone else.  If you are nominating another person, PLEASE ASK if she or he is willing to be nominated before submitting the name.
 
Please send the name, phone number and email address of your suggestions to arleenstein@gmail.com , by February 15th.
 
**Don't panic!  Directors have a committee to help. And the webmaster works with the Communication's Committee.
 
LWVAC Nominations Committee Chair, Arleen Stein, 459-5559  
DID YOU KNOW?.......
  • Options for Taking Action NOW:  LWVAC Advocacy Topics Blog on our website www.lwvalbany.org/advocacy-blog.htm.  You can "follow" on the bottom of the blog page to  receive email updates on national/state/local topics.  Current action issues on all levels are listed along with helpful tools.
  • Try Voices! Our New Political Advocacy App LWVNYS has launched a new partnership with Voices, a political advocacy app that shares action alerts from the League directly to your phone. These action alerts will allow you to quickly call, email, or tweet at your legislator with the touch of a button. The alert will provide you with a sample script, email, or tweet and give you the power to lobby on these issues quickly and easily. Download the app on your phone using this link: https://tryvoices.com/lwvnys
     or search "Voices: Political Advocacy" in the Apple App Store or Google Play on your cell phone.
  • Albany County Legislature experienced a major shift in leadership in January with the election of freshman Legislator Andrew Joyce (D-9) as the new Chair, and the unseating of Frank Commisso (D-11), the 25 year Democratic Majority Leader, by Gary Domalewicz (D-10).  All of this was precipitated by Democrat Vicky Plotsky winning the 38th District seat last November in a special election, shifting the Democratic party to a 15-14 majority toward reform.  (contact Patricia Sibilia, LWVAC County Legislature Observer Corps at PatriciaSibiliaNY@GMail.com
  • From LWVUS:  In 2017, our New Citizens Voter Registration project resulted in 25,000 new Americans registered to vote. From "metropolitan areas"  like Houston and Atlanta, to the western hills of South Carolina and the Pacific Northwest, more than 700 League volunteers worked all year to plan and carry out voter registration drives at more than 450 naturalization ceremonies for new citizens.  (you can join our Albany New Citizen project too; contact Julie Elson, jelson510@earthlink.net
  • LWVUS 53rd NATIONAL CONVENTION "CREATING A MORE PERFECT DEMOCRACY"  The League of Women Voters' 53rd National Convention 2018 will be held June 28 - Sun., July 1, 2018 in Chicago, IL. We invite our League members to save these dates and plan to join hundreds of passionate and engaged leaders for our biennial national gathering to be held in Chicago next June.  
WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH HERE IN ALBANY
            
The Albany area has had a strong connection to influential persons in the historical movements to include African American slaves and women in the mainstream of American life.  Albany was an important station in the Underground Railroad and women active in the suffrage movement were major stationmasters for it.  In March, the Underground Railroad History Project, the NYS Council for Social Studies and the Archives Partnership Trust will partner in a three day conference (check our calendar for more information) aimed to provide more insight on this piece of history.  The New York State Museum continues its impressive exhibit on women and the vote and the Albany Institute for History and Art offers a "spotlight" on the counterpoint to suffrage promotion - the anti-suffrage movement and its Albany based advocates. In the chill of Albany winters, members can keep warm by engaging in some of the events at these sites and learning more about both Black history and the centuries old push to afford women full citizenship. As local events celebrating Women's History Month unfold, check League social media for additional dates and sites.  The following offers a thumbnail sketch of how women came together to establish a month long tribute to the history of women's achievement and activism. Although the following briefly chronicles the US history of this celebration, months honoring women in history are also done in other countries throughout the world.

How the Month was Established.
As recently as the 1970's, women's history was virtually an unknown topic in the K-12 curriculum or in general public consciousness. To address this situation, the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission on the Status of Women initiated a "Women's History Week" celebration for 1978. In 1979, the Women's History Institute at Sarah Lawrence College decided to initiate similar celebrations.  They also agreed to support an effort to secure a "National Women's History Week."

The first steps toward success came in February 1980 when President Carter issued the first Presidential Proclamation declaring the Week of March 8th 1980 as National Women's History Week. In the same year, Representative Barbara Mikulski, who at the time was in the House of Representatives, and Senator Orrin Hatch co-sponsored a Congressional Resolution for National Women's History Week 1981. This co-sponsorship demonstrated the wide-ranging political support for recognizing, honoring, and celebrating the achievements of American women.

Each year, the dates of National Women's History Week, (the week of March 8th) changed and every year a new lobbying effort was needed. By 1986, 14 states had already declared March as Women's History Month. This momentum and state-by-state action was used as the rationale to lobby Congress to declare the entire month of March 1987 as National Women's History Month. In 1987, Congress declared March as National Women's History Month in perpetuity. A special Presidential Proclamation is issued every year which honors the extraordinary achievements of American women..
 
All information on Women's History Month is from www.nwhp.org.    
Calendar

Feb. 4, 1:30 pm      LWVAC Board Meeting, St. Sophia's Church, 440 Whitehall Road, Albany
                             all members welcome, contact Margaret Danes, 489-4442.

Feb. 8, 7 pm        "Medicare for All:  Our Town, Our Taxes," Bethlehem Town Hall, Delaware
                            Ave.  Delmar, LWVAC co-sponsor with Bethlehem Morning Voice Huddle,
                            contact,  apratt3@nycap.rr.com .  Topic:  Single Payer health insurance.

Feb. 12  7 pm        Albany County Legislature, Albany County Courthouse, Eagle Street, 
                             Albany, contact Patricia Sibilia, PatriciaSibiliaNY@gmail.com  

Feb. 14                Happy 98th Anniversary LWVUS-Making Democracy Work for 98 years!

Feb. 25, 3-5 pm    LWVAC Meeting - see Front Page   

Mar 4, 1:30 pm    LWVAC Board Meeting, St. Sophia's Church, 440 Whitehall Road, Albany,  
                           all members welcome,  contact Margaret Danes, 489-4442.

March 9-11        Underground Railroad History Project 17th annual public history conference,
                         "Embracing Equity in a Global Society," in collaboration with NYS Council for
                          Social Studies and Archives Partnership Trust, NYS Museum, Albany Capital
                          Center, Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence.  Open to public,
                          https://undergroundrailroadhistory.org/ and http://nyscss.org/wp-
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Mail to: League of Women Voters of Albany County, PO Box 611, Slingerlands, NY 12159

League of Women Voters of Albany County 
lwvac@lwvalbany.org