A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change
April | 2021
Message from the Steering Committee
A Message From This Month's Chair,
Susan Millinger
Many of our long-time members joined the League as young mothers, wives of new University faculty. They wanted to involve themselves in the life of the community, eager to make it better, and looked for mental stimulation. They found what they sought—and they found friends, in many cases, life-long friends. Times have changed, and today League members are more often themselves professional women, working or retired. Yet today’s League fills the same needs, and is still very much a group of friends who meet in one another’s homes, to share tea and cookies and League business. Pleasant as this is, these traditions don’t help us open the League to people unlike ourselves, nor does our early afternoon weekday meeting time.

If we want to meet the challenge of the National and State Leagues to become more diverse, equitable, and inclusive, we may need to rethink when and where we meet as well as what programs we offer and whom we invite to membership and leadership. The pandemic has shown us virtual meetings, a step toward greater accessibility. Can we go further, and move to evening or weekend meetings? And what further steps can we take to become more attractive to people unlike ourselves? To realize the commitment stated by our Diversity Policy “to developing an inclusive membership that reflects the diversity of groups within our community,” we may need to rethink some time-honored and enjoyable practices.

~ Susan Millinger


Raising awareness and promoting action on redistricting 

Co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of

Thursday, April 29, 7:00–8:00 p.m.


Why should we care? What’s at stake? How is the census connected to redistricting at local, state and federal levels? 
League members and the public are invited to join the conversation between two veteran legislative members of Massachusetts’ Redistricting Committees: 
Stan Rosenberg, former State Senator and two-time Senate Redistricting Chair and Michael Moran, 18th Suffolk District State Representative, 2010 and current Chair of the House Redistricting Committee.
Learn the basics and how individuals can help shape fair maps and influence the process and the outcomes.
Moderated by Adrienne Terrizzi.
Ask your questions on the Zoom Q&A.
Registration in advance for this meeting is required. Join the Conversation:
Congressional Districts — 160 Representatives — 40 State Senators 
What will the State look like at the local, state, and congressional levels in 2022?


The Governance, Organization and Legislative Committee (GOL), one of four Town Council Standing Committees, is responsible for drafting Amherst’s District Advisory Board (DAB), a once-in-a-decade town effort following the decennial U.S. census. Adrienne Terrizzi offered comments at previous meetings supporting all 9 members of the board be appointed from among non-elected office holders and also suggested additions to the redistricting committee’s charge. 

GOL approved appointment of 9 independent resident members, one from each district and no more than two from any existing district. The document now awaits review by the Secretary of State’s legal counsel. The timeline for recruiting, interviewing, and recommending appointees to the Advisory Board will be reviewed at GOL’s April 21 meeting before it goes to the full Town Council on May 3. 

LWVA urges its members to consider submitting a Community Activity Form (CAF) to serve on the redistricting board, once notice that the Council is accepting CAFs is published on the Bulletin Board timeline:
The League of Women Voters official position on redistricting is available below:
News from our Committees

Below is a great summary on the VOTES Act from Judy Zaunbrecher, LWVMA Co-President.  

LWVMA is supporting, advocating for, and encouraging our members to advocate for the VOTES Act, which includes expanded mail-in voting, including prepaid postage. You can read a summary of the VOTES Act here:
LWVMA is a member of the Election Modernization Coalition, a coalition of good government groups in Massachusetts advocating for making voting easy and accessible for all voters in Massachusetts. 
The April edition of the Mass Action newsletter outlines actions you can take to advocate for this important election reform law, including a Lobby Day on May 11 at 1:30 p.m.:
~ Bonnie Isman

"Climate Action in the State House" 
May 13 7 p.m. 

The Sustainability and Climate Action Committee is honored to announce, and happy to invite, all interested to join a webinar led by LWVMA climate specialist, Launa Zimmaro at 7 p.m. on May 13. Launa has been a Climate specialist on the LWVMA Legislative Action Committee for over a decade. Many of us at LWVAmherst know and deeply appreciate her work; we are excited that she will be speaking to us.

Launa will provide a brief overview of important climate-related bills and their relationships to important executive actions. She will leave time to share her experience working in the state house, and there will be time for a Q&A.
About Launa and the Environmental Action and Advocacy Committee

Launa Zimmaro has been a member of the League of Women Voters since 2008, joining shortly after retiring from a 35-year career as an elementary school educator and principal. Launa’s work with the League spans local, state and national levels. As a member of the LWVMA Legislative Action Committee since 2009, Launa has focused on money in politics and climate change and energy. In early 2017, Launa helped form, and co-chaired, the LWVMA Committee for Environmental Action and Advocacy (EAAC) with a League colleague. The mission of the Committee is to inform and engage members across the state on critical environmental issues and policies impacting Massachusetts, and to support and promote the transition to clean, renewable energy and environmental policy through legislation and local action. Launa also serves as an Executive Committee member of the newly formed LWV US Climate Emergency Task force, a team with the same mission, dedicated to working with state and local Leagues across the country.
Thanks to the Steering Committee and to all of the League members and wider community members for making our program “Working Toward Racial Equity, A Round Table and Dialogue” such a success. To read the summary and link to the recording of the event, please go to:
We are developing some “brown bag lunch” program opportunities for League members. Stay tuned for more information.

For resources to continue our ongoing education into DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion), I again look to the resources from the national and state leagues. Here is a wonderful list:
Enjoy this beautiful spring!

~ Marcie Sclove
Chair, Racial Justice Task Force (RJTF)
What is the history of housing discrimination in the US, Massachusetts, and Amherst? 
How can we move forward: if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. 
Please attend!
~ Submitted by Adrienne Terrizzi and Elisa Campbell
LWVMA is supporting, advocating for, and encouraging our members to advocate for the VOTES Act, which includes expanded mail-in voting, including prepaid postage. What can you do?

First: you can ask your legislators to speed the passage of this bill. The goal of the Election Modernization Coalition, a coalition of good government groups to which LWVMA belongs, is to encourage the Joint Committee on Election Laws to hold a hearing in the next two months on the bill, and then report a comprehensive election reform bill out of the committee so it can be brought to the floor for a vote in June. We want this bill passed before the temporary extension of last fall's voting reforms expires June 30. We need this bill in place to cover the city elections that will be held this fall. 
We are encouraged to send an email to our own state Senator and state Representative Find your legislators at links below.

Here's a suggested email: 
Dear (name) 
As a member of the League of Women Voters of (town), I urge you to contact the legislature's leadership and ask that HD.1536/SD.1002, the VOTES Act, be brought to the floor for a vote by this summer. We need this bill to provide meaningful voting reforms, including expanded voting by mail and same day voter registration, in time for this fall's city elections. Those reforms were extremely popular with voters and helped produce a record turnout in the fall 2020 elections. There is no time to waste. Please ask the leadership to bring the VOTES Act to a vote. Thank you. 
Name and home address 
(be sure to include your home address so legislators know you are in their district) 

Second: you can REGISTER FOR VOTES ACT LOBBY DAY MAY 11. Details above in our Voter Service Committee section.

Third: You can encourage your legislators to co-sponsor the bills if they have not already done so. Click below to find out if your legislator is a co-sponsor. When last consulted, Jo Comerford, Mindy Domb, Dan Carey, and Lindsay Sabadosa were all co-sponsors. And you can thank your legislators for co-sponsoring if they have already done so. 

Civic Learning Week aims to build broader awareness of and support for civic learningamplify and celebrate youth voiceand empower participants to envision themselves as change makers in our democracy.

LWVMA is a member of the Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition. We joined with the MCLC to help pass the Ch. 296, An Act to Promote and Enhance Civic Engagement in 2018. Since passage of this law, civic education in Massachusetts is on a road to considerable improvement.
Find out more about the inaugural Massachusetts Civic Learning Week, April 26-30, 2021! 
~ from League Leaders
Give the Gift of League Membership This Mother’s Day

This Mother’s Day, we’re welcoming in the next generation of leaders. Help us welcome your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, neighbors, or other young people in your lives into the League. Access templates and learn more here.

The 2021 LWVMA Convention “Expanding the Table: Making Democracy Work for Everyone” will be held Saturday, June 26 on Zoom. Convention brings local League delegates together to hear distinguished speakers, approve program for the next biennium, elect a new board of directors, approve the budget, and network with leaders from across the state. Make plans now to have your League well represented—there will be no charge for this event! 
Guns, Safety, and the Edge of Adulthood Report

LWVMA is a member of the MA Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, which is focusing on actions that will address the root causes of violence and create anti-racist system change. The Center for Court Innovation has released an in-depth and critical report on why youth pick up guns:
Want to learn what LWVUS has to say about the filibuster?  Read CEO Virginia Kase on the history of the filibuster:
Read what the League doing about Georgia’s Voter Repression Bill:
The next Semi-Annual Survey is coming soon. For an explanation of why it exists, with some data from the first survey: 
Register (at right) for a webinar on May 4 to learn more about the focuses of the Spring Survey, as well as about supports to help you track and report on your League’s data.
Sources: the Blog and Newsroom at lwv.org

This monthly message is for anyone interested in the League, not just members. If you know someone who might be interested, forward this message and invite them to subscribe themselves, using the link below.
The Editor of the LWVAmherst e-Bulletin, Jessica Ryan can be contacted here. The Associate Editors are Trish Farrington and Susan Millinger; Assistant Editors are Janice Ratner, Phyllis Lehrer, and Kay Fite who checks the links. Contributors to the April 2021 e-Bulletin include LWVA members Elisa Campbell, Bonnie Isman, Susan Millinger, Marcie Sclove, and Adrienne Terrizzi. Material on LWVMA and LWVUS comes from the website lwvma.org and the newsletter League Update, respectively, selected by Susan Millinger.