League of Women Voters of NYS


February 2017

From the State President
    I was one of over 1,000 people who turned out for a Rochester luncheon on February 15th honoring Susan B Anthony's birthday and was lucky enough to get this picture with the "star" (an impersonator, of course). I was also 
lucky enough to be wearing - just by chance - the red and black colors the Susan B. Anthony Museum and House is now featuring, so Susan and I matched. 
     The museum has never had a response like this before - and it follows their great success this past Election Day and the day after when many thousands of people lined up (some waiting for hours - even with kids in tow) to attach a sticker to her grave saying they'd voted.
    There is clearly a new and renewed appreciation of the critical role Anthony played in helping women win the vote and it has become deeply personal for many. "Susan B Inspires Me" is their new slogan, and keynote speaker Ann Dexter Gordon, a prominent Anthony scholar, reinforced that message. 
      As the living legacy of Anthony's (and ultimately Carrie Chapman Catt's) suffrage organization, the League rejoices in all the recognition she is getting. I enjoyed meeting many Rochester area League members in the crowd and I know I missed many others.
      Since 1917 was the year NY women won the right to vote, the celebrating has begun across our state and as LWVNYS president, I serve on the state Women's Suffrage Centennial Commission (chaired by Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul). I was also recently appointed to the LWVUS 100th Anniversary Committee. NY's head start in planning has provided valuable insights and materials to the national effort. "Wow!" was the reaction of fellow LWVUS committee members to our toolkit for local Leagues - so kudos to all of you who helped on it.
  We are also proud of our new FIGHTING FOR DEMOCRACY pins which just arrived. When I wear one of these with my "Watch Out, I'm a Voter!" button, I get lots of good reactions from strangers. I highly recommend it. It's our time to shine! 

Dare Thompson, President
League of Women Voters of NYS
 darethompson@gmail.comTel: 518-465-4162
Facebook: League of Women Voters of NYS
Twitter: @LWVNYS
Lobby Day 2017
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Travel with the League
Click here  for trips and itineraries.
100th Anniversary Dates
November 6, 2017                 100 th Anniversary of Woman Suffrage in New York State
November 19, 2019               100th Anniversary of the League of Women Voters of New York State
February 14, 2020                 100th Anniversary of National League of Women Voters
August 26, 2020                   100th Anniversary of the official certification of the ratification of the 19th
                                                  amendment by the US Secretary of State

Update on Centennial Subcommittees
A packet of resources for local Leagues to organize programs and events on women's suffrage history has been mailed to every local League - and a new page has been created on the state website with links to all the info, as well as a calendar to see what events are scheduled, and a blog on significant events and locations in women's history in NYS. Check out at all the resources at  http://www.lwvny.org/programs-studies/womens-suffrage/index.html. You might find a book or movie that you'd like to read or watch together with some League friends!  

LWVUS has created a new logo to be used during these next 4 years to celebrate the League's 100 th anniversary. We have customized it for NYS (on left). We have also created buttons  that are for sale from the state office (on right) for $1 plus tax and shipping. 
Don't forget to register for the Conference at SUNY New Paltz Commemorating Women's Suffrage Centennial (April 21-22); the state League has also organized a lunch and tour at Val-Kill (Eleanor Roosevelt's home) with LWVUS Executive Director, Wylecia Wiggs Harris, speaking to the attendees. Click  here for the registration form; click  here for the agenda for the conference.
In partnership with the NYS Archives Partnership Trust Foundation, the State League is hosting a Reception and Program at the NYS Museum on Saturday, Nov. 4 th to commemorate the opening of a special exhibit on Women's History in NYS. A gavel used by Susan B. Anthony and owned by the state League will be part of the exhibit. A relative of Elizabeth Cady Stanton will be providing a short presentation about her great, great grandmother. Watch for registration info on this exciting program.
A book on the 100 years of LWVNYS is underway with assistance of Martha Kennedy and Phoebe Bender, Co-Chairs of this subcommittee. Diana Waite of Mount Ida Press, an Albany-based researcher and publisher, has already begun exploration at Columbia University of the large collection of state League history, consisting of 40 linear feet of records in 68 boxes and 26 volumes, plus some oversized items. We hope that all local Leagues have also begun exploration of old boxes and files to uncover their own history.
Jennifer Wilson, Director of Program & Policy, jennifer@lwvny.org
Budget Testimony
This year the League submitted and presented testimony at a total of three budget hearings. We submitted testimony on election law to the Joint Committee on Public Protection and education testimony to the Joint Committee on Education. We presented our testimony on ethics reforms to the Joint Committee on Local and General Government. The three testimonies that were completed are posted on our website. Click here for: Election Law, Education, and Ethics Reforms.    

New Project with NYS Education Department and NYS Social Studies Supervisor Association
The State League office has a very exciting project in the works with the State Education Department and the NYS Social Studies Supervisors Association (NYSSSA). The League was contacted by the two agencies during the fall of 2016 about a potential push to get civics back into classrooms. We are just in the beginning stages of this campaign but the goal of the project is to ensure that all seniors are registered to vote before they graduate from high school.
As a first step, the state League will be hosting an exhibit table at the NYSSSA convention in March. We will be distributing information on registering students to vote to all social studies teachers. We will also be handing out our membership brochures, Citizen Lobbyist, First Vote, SIA materials, and Constitutional Convention materials. We will be giving teachers contact information for Local League Presidents in their area. It is our hope that local Leagues will help these teachers in securing additional materials to get their students registered to vote as well as answer any questions they may have about holding voter drives or submitting completed voter registration forms. 

57th Biennial State Convention - June 9-11
The 57th State League Convention is scheduled for June 10-11, 2017, at the Holiday Inn Express in Liverpool, NY (just off the Thruway near Syracuse). We will be sending out the registration kits next week. 
Field Trip!
To celebrate women achieving the right to vote in 1917 in NYS, the state League is organizing a field trip from Liverpool to Seneca Falls on Friday, June 9 (day before Convention actually begins). This is will a separate charge and everyone is welcome (not just convention attendees); tours of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton home, Women's Hall of Fame and the Women's Rights National History Park (and Wesleyan Chapel), as well as dinner and a speaker at an historic restaurant in Seneca Falls, will be included. You will need to be in Liverpool by noon on Friday to join this trip. Watch for more information in the registration kit.

Workshops will be organized for Friday evening, June 9, and Saturday morning, June 10. Please email the state office (Katrina@lwvny.org) with specific topics you would like us to offer as a workshop during Convention. Local Leagues and members can also offer caucuses or info sessions to share their own concerns or successes and times will be available for these also.

Mark your calendar to join us NOW!
Kate Jankowski, Director of Communications & Development, Kate@lwvny.org
Our annual solicitation letter for the League of Women Voters of NYS will hit your mailbox soon. If you'd like to get a jump on your annual gift, you can give now by clicking here:  https://secure.lglforms.com/form_engine/s/hQUE1blw9x-qEEC6eqk1Yg. Thank you for your support of our efforts to make democracy work!  
LWVUS Action
LWVUS Board Sets Legislative Priorities for 2017 
The LWVUS Board set the following as the legislative priorities for 2017:
  • Campaign for Making Democracy Work™ (MDW), with special emphasis on protecting voting rights.
  • Watchdog: Respond strategically on issues with LWV positions when needed, but focus on the campaign for Making Democracy Work™.
The board recognizes that the next year will be full of the unexpected. The main focus for LWVUS should be our MDW Campaign, but other topics are expected to pop up that are important to the LWV-including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), immigration and climate change. There will doubtless be other, unpredictable legislative issues. Advocacy staff, working with the president and advocacy chair, will respond to watchdog issues as time allows. The board can re-examine or re-align legislative priorities as the situation may dictate during this next year.
LWV of Huntington held our first youth committee meeting where we had three  students  attend and participate.  We did a role play of Vote 18  and the students gave us some great ideas to use for hot topics to bring up when we are presenting it to schools.  They will also be contacting their schools and arranging for us to do programs there. Everyone who attended our meeting agreed that having students as part of the committee not only brought us new ideas and contacts but enthusiasm and energy.  We suggest other leagues reach out to students and involve them in planning process of programs for youth.

Also recognizing youth's input in our communities, the LWV of Rye, Rye Brook and Port Chester annually gives a Student Civic Achievement Award to one high school junior who lives in and attends a high school in the City of Rye, Villages of Rye Brook and Port Chester, or the Rye Neck section of the Town of Rye, in recognition of the student's overall contributions to his or her school and community in the areas of civic engagement, advocacy, leadership or voter education.

LWV of Chautauqua is also working with youth in their community. They are working with the Middle School teachers in Dunkirk and Fredonia on a project related to climate change. It is a contest called "Don't Throw That Away." Students can write papers, do posters or come up with other creative expression to deal with this environmental issue.

Following the increased interest in taking action after the marches in January, the LWV of Rensselaer County had about 20 people gather for a postcard mailing event at the Psyche delicatessen. Attendees were there for 2 hours talking and writing. (photo on right)

The LWV of Albany County is hosting a Community Conversation on Immigration in the Captial Region. They will  present an in-depth look at the issues and concerns of the immigrant/refugee community in the Capital District as part of a panel discussion.  The panelists will share some "human interest stories,"discuss the services they offer and ways that individuals can be involved and supportive of immigrant.

The LWV of Tompkins County was recently recognized and received the Making a Difference Award from the Tompkins County History Center. Congratulations, LWV of Tompkins County! President Kay Sharp is 2nd from right in photo on left. 

The election season has begun again for the LWV of East Nassau. They have already scheduled candidate forums for the three teams running for Village of Freeport Mayor, Trustee and Village Justice.

In celebration of Black History Month, Rev. Marvin  McMickle, president and professor at Colgate  Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and several of the  Rochester Sisters of Saint Joseph, who saved U.S. Representative John Lewis's life on the Edmund  Pettus Bridge back on Bloody Sunday in 1965, will  speak to the LWV of Rochester on "History as An Argument for Voting."

LWV of NYC has been holding a number of successful Open Houses to encourage people to learn more about the League.  This month they are focusing on "Advocacy in 2017" and will present a panel of LWV members sharing tools, techniques, and tactics to help voters get their voices heard.  While NYC saw a greater number of voters turnout in 2016 than in 2012, the percentage of eligible voters was only 55.98 percent. We've got work to do to help make democracy work and get voters registered and engaged for NYC's mayoral race.

Everyone is talking about Fake News. How can we recognize it? How can we combat it? What has really occurred and what is made up? The LWV of Saratoga is holding a  program on this topic featuring Rex Smith, Editor of the Times Union. 

It's been easy to find positive signs of a change in the Buffalo region: waterfront development, medical campus construction, new business expansion and startups, and an uptick in the population and employment. But how are we really doing? LWV of Buffalo/Niagara hosted Larry Brooks, currently president of the boards of the Western New York Land Conservancy and the Central Council of Buffalo's St. Vincent de Paul Society, to discuss the state of the region, why we are where we are today, and ways to go forward in order for this region to realize its potential.

LWV of Brookhaven hosted a meeting  Winning Votes for Women: A Centennial Remembrance including a talk by Dr. Natalie Naylor, President of Nassau County Historical Society and committee member of Long Island Woman Suffrage Centennial Conference.
League of Women Voters of New York State
62 Grand Street, Albany, NY 12207
Tel: 518-465-4162;  FAX: 518-465-0812
Website: www.lwvny.org
Facebook: League of Women Voters of NYS
Twitter: @LWVNYS