A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change
e-bulletin
July | 2022
Message from the Steering Committee
A Message From Chair of the Month, Phyllis Lehrer
The eighth month of the calendar is, at times, referred to as the Dog Days of August. It’s summer, not much is happening and dogs can lie undisturbed in the middle of the road. 
For the Amherst League of Women Voters, August will not find us cavorting in the new dog park. 

Our book sale that involves many volunteers continues the first weekend of August. New this year will be an information tent at the sale to recruit new members as well as register voters. We will need volunteers for that effort.
Also in August is a candidate forum for the sheriff’s race. We are working with the Northampton League on that event.
In August, the Racial Justice Committee will be organizing speakers for the on -going Judy Brooks Conversation Series.
In August, we will finalize plans for our September opening meeting and for an outdoor in-person social in September. We would love to see you in person!
In August, we will form a group to review the Town Council form of government. This will require a lot of thought and ideas. 
In August, we have to think of the September primary. 

As responsible citizens we don’t stop caring for our democracy because it’s August. 

Keep up the good work.
And thanks to all who work year round.
Best wishes,

~ Phyllis Lehrer
Upcoming Events
Are You Ready For
📚The Book Sale!!!!  📚

Please consider helping out during the sale! The Book Sale can't function without your help. 
Now is the time to sign up to be a cashier. So please sign up for at least one slot. Even better sign up for a few.  Here is the link to sign up.
Sale dates: July 29 (10–6), July 30–31 (10–4) and August 5–6 (10–4)

Come one, come all, come buy more books than you'll ever read like a proper bibliophile! This year we will be taking cash and credit cards so nothing will hold you back from creating your dream library from scratch! See you in a couple weeks for the event of the year!
Meet the Candidates for Sheriff of Hampshire County

You are invited to a Candidate Forum that highlights the Primary Election race for Sheriff of Hampshire County on Thursday, August 25 at 7 pm, jointly sponsored by the Amherst and Northampton Leagues of Women Voters.  

The candidates will present their views and answer questions in-person at the new Northampton Center for the Arts, 33 Hawley Street in Northampton as well as online. Amherst Media and Northampton Open Media will be cooperatively recording the forum which will also be accessible later from our website. We will send out links and any other pertinent info in August.

As one of the few contested county offices in this year’s Primaries, the race for Sheriff brings to light the importance of this arm of local law enforcement.  Sheriffs oversee county jails and houses of correction, providing needed health and educational services to inmates.  Their leadership has an impact on drug addiction and mental health treatment, vocational training and prisoner reentry back into their communities.  Can you name the current Hampshire County Sheriff?  In a recent poll only 17% of voters can. Let's increase the 17%!
Find out more at aclum.org/KnowYourSheriff. Watch this ACLU MA video for a quick primer:
News from our Committees
RACIAL JUSTICE COMMITTEE
Greetings from the Racial Justice Committee (RJC) for July 2022
The next Judy Brooks Conversation Series program will be with Amherst Media Board President, Artie McCollum, and Director, Jim Lescault. Stay tuned for the mini-bulletin for the date and time.

Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Educational Suggestions:

The Arc of Justice” is a 6-part podcast series produced by William (Sandy) Darity and Kirsten Mullen, authors of From Here to Equality: Reparations For Black Americans in the Twenty-first Century, and the Sanford School for Public Policy at Duke. Our RJC member, Meg Gage, highly recommends this podcast. To subscribe to the whole series, go to this link.

William (Sandy) Darity is an Amherst native; he grew up with Meg (another Amherst Townie!). Sandy and his wife, Kirsten may be coming to a League program at the beginning of next year. Stay tuned!

And, for more about Reparations studies and the history of African Americans in the US, please see the Stolen Beam Series, which will be offered at the Jones Library (via Zoom) this fall. This is a free and inclusive opportunity to dive into the history and the different ideas about Reparations.

Here is the Jones Library announcement about this excellent upcoming course:

The Stolen Beam Series

Would you welcome a place to learn why some people are talking about reparations for African-Americans? A 5-session class, called The Stolen Beam Series*, will be held in the Fall ON ZOOM and is sponsored by the Jones Library and the African Heritage Reparation Assembly. The Series was developed by members of the Reparations Committee of the Jewish Community of Amherst and will be co-facilitated by members of that committee.

The goal of the series is educational engagement with a narrative of US racial history that is different from what many of us learned in our schooling. The class will focus on the legacy of African enslavement, what was stolen, what may be owed and historical examples of reparations. The class offers an opportunity, especially for those relatively new to the topic, to study and reflect on writings of prominent thought leaders on the topic of reparations for African Americans as a path to restorative justice.

The class meets ON ZOOM for five consecutive Thursdays:  Sept. 22, 29, Oct. 6, 13 and 20, from 7:00–8:20 p.m.  Registration indicates the intent to attend and participate in all five sessions.  There is no charge for this program. Most reading/video materials will be provided via the internet. Some of the materials may be available at the library. 

Find registration and information at here.  Please contact Janet Ryan at ryanj@joneslibrary.org with any questions. 

*The name "Stolen Beam" is a reference to a Talmudic debate about the right thing to do when we discover that the house in which we live was built with stolen materials, "a stolen beam."

~ Marcie Sclove, Chair, Racial Justice Committee (RJC)
SUSTAINABILITY & CLIMATE ACTION COMMITTEE
Email and Call Your State Senator to Support Offshore Wind Legislation TODAY!

Contact your state Senator and urge them to support a strong offshore wind bill for the Commonwealth. Offshore wind will be the workhorse of our clean energy and decarbonization efforts in Massachusetts—it will likely provide around 50% of our regional grid’s power by 2050. It is crucial that Massachusetts enacts climate legislation with strong offshore wind language to ensure we reach our climate goals.

Talking points to include in emails and phone messages to Senators:
  • Wind power is key to decarbonizing our economy as quickly as possible so we can meet mandated emissions reductions targets for the Commonwealth
  • Wind power will drive economic opportunity and investment across the region to create a strong, green energy industry and workforce
  • Clean, renewable energy from wind will provide enormous health benefits for all residents and particularly those most impacted by fossil fuel pollution in their communities
  • Collaborative leadership and bold action are needed more than ever to move us forward into a livable future

Be sure to check the LWVMA Twitter for tweets about the wind bill, and like and retweet them.

~ LWVMA
MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE
The Book Sale presents a wonderful opportunity to recruit new members and distribute voter information.

We will have a tent, chairs, and water. Come on over, bring your friends!

~Phyllis Lehrer
LWVMA News

THE CIVICS SHOWCASES BEGIN

Composting at Needham High School; Better treatment for, and the prevention of, homeless veterans; Sports betting; Universal access to pre-kindergarten education; Against animal cruelty: these were a few of the issues, local, state and national, that juniors at Needham High School tackled.

How do you affect positive change for something that you care about? The required Civics course has students research a topic of interest, learn how to advocate for their chosen issue, and then present what they have learned to the public.

In Needham, that culminating project was a civics fair, Students Advocate for Change, cosponsored by LWV Needham and the Needham High School Social Studies Department. This is one of the Civics Showcase projects sponsored by Massachusetts local Leagues in cooperation with their local high schools in this first year of the LWVMA Civics Project, undertaken under the leadership of Karen Mazza.

Learn more about  the Needham project at LWV Needham’s website where you can watch a six minute video produced by The Needham Channel, also available here. Listen to the students talk about what they learned about advocating for an issue; hear their Representative, Denise Garlick, who with a variety of local officials was asking questions of the students, comment on the importance of this education for their future activities as citizens.

~ Susan Millinger
MA PUBLIC MEETING AMENDMENT UPDATE

The Senate did not accept the House's amendment to require public meetings under the open meeting law to permanently use a hybrid remote/in-person format after March 31, 2023. Instead, the legislature just extended the pandemic emergency provisions for remote access that were set to expire Friday, July 15, to March 31, 2023. So the legislature has kicked the can down the road and will have to take up making some sort of permanent provision for remote access to public meetings early in the new session that begins in January. That may mean another action alert in the future!  
 
Here's the statement from the coalition, including LWVMA, that has been working on this issue:  Massachusetts legislature extends remote access to public meetings | ACLU Massachusetts

~ League Leaders (Nancy Brumback)
LWVUS News

NATIONAL CONVENTION SUMMARY
Bylaws:

All the Bylaw changes proposed by LWVUS, implementing the proposed structural changes in the League, passed. Several just barely got the 2/3 vote they needed. Five more votes would have defeated Amendment 1 (dues changes.)

So no sooner than 2024, PMP will end; dues can be proposed (by individual local Leagues; not sure about States), but every member pays what they can. To join the League, one will join through National. 

Wisconsin's proposed amendment to drop the age requirement did not pass.

The Program for 2022-2024 proposed by LWVUS passed; LWVUS also endorsed two concurrences: New York's Healthcare modernizations and California's Criminal Justice position. 

The ERA was added to the program (as part of Making Democracy Work) for the next biennium by membership proposal and the support of 2/3 of voting delegates.

Also National has decided to work to get rid of the Electoral College (President Turner announced this on Friday) and to the statement of Program about Making Democracy Work was added specific reference to direct popular election of the president. (This is intended to refer to both the National Popular Vote Contract and abolishment of the Electoral College.)

In addition, because the members approved for consideration the Digital Equity Concurrence (which LWVUS's program committee did not recommend), it was brought to the floor and approved as part of the 2022-2024 Program.

Resolutions:  

The Resolution Committee recommended five resolutions; all passed by overwhelming majorities. Subjects: Immigration Reform, Climate Emergency Declaration, Statehood for D.C., Murdered and Missing Indigenous People, and Reproductive Rights. Resolutions are dealt with on the last day, but the Reproductive Rights resolution was put before us on Friday afternoon, the day the SCOTUS decision was revealed, and passed by a sweeping majority. (Maybe 2–4 against.)

LWV of Radnor Township, through Roberta Winters, submitted a resolution titled “Climate Emergency Declaration.” The recommended resolution statement reads, “Be it resolved: We, as delegates of local Leagues assembled at the 2022 LWV US Convention, call upon the LWVUS Board and state and local Leagues to urge state and local governments to adopt and publicize the Declarations of Climate Emergency appropriate to local conditions and take appropriate action to implement the Declarations of Climate Emergency.”

To see complete texts from Convention Resources click here.

~ Susan Millinger
Ryan, Jessica. "Dog days" Portrait of boy in bee suit and dog. Photograph. Massachusetts; 2021.
This work is licensed under a http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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e-BULLETIN STAFF AND CONTRIBUTORS IN JULY
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 this month's e-Bulletin include LWVA members, Bonnie Isman, Phyllis Lehrer, Susan Millinger, and Marcie Sclove. Material on LWVMA and LWVUS comes from the website lwvma.org and lwvus.org, respectively, selected by Susan Millinger.