Amherst League of Women Voters

A Voice for Citizens, a Force for Change

August 16, 2020
In This Issue:
Elayne Berger, Book Sale Chair
Cynthia Brubaker, Recorder
Trish Farrington, Publicity
Bonnie Isman, Voter Service
Marla Jamate, At-Large
Ann Kieser, At-Large
Phyllis Lehrer, Membership
Deanna Pearlstein, Event              Organization
Janice Ratner, Treasurer
Joan Rabin, At-Large
Jessica Ryan, E-bulletin Editor
Adrienne Terrizzi, Spokesperson

August E-bulletin, Jerry Brubaker

August 18, Tuesday, The Car Parade, 11:45
August 26, Wednesday, Equality Day, the date the 19th
       Amendment was certified
September 1, Tuesday, Primary Elections, 
       7:00 AM - 8:00 PM
September 14, Monday, Steering Committee meeting 
       1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
September 17, Thursday, Opening Meeting, 7:00 - 8:30,
      Zoom link information to be provided


On behalf of the LWVA Steering Committee and the newly-formed Racial Justice Task Force, we would like to invite you to the LWVA Opening Meeting via Zoom on September 17th, 7-8:30 pm. Our speaker will be Traci Parker, Assistant Professor of Afro-American Studies at the UMass.  She holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago. Parker is the author of Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement: Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights, and is currently working on her second book, Beyond Loving: Black Love, Sex, and Marriage in the Twentieth Century.   She teaches courses on African American women's history, nineteenth and twentieth century US history, race and racism, class, labor, capitalism, and consumer culture.

In these times of profound racism and renewed efforts towards racial equity, especially in the context of the Corona Pandemic, Professor Parker's perspective will be welcomed and will hopefully inform our own work moving forward towards racial justice.

More information, including the Zoom links, will be forthcoming closer to the event. Stay tuned!

To subscribe to the e-bulletin, visit and click on the blue tab "Sign up for Email Updates".
Don't forget to visit the Amherst League of Women Voters Facebook page and "like" us. Marla Jamate, our Facebook editor, does a great job and deserves a wider LWVA audience.

Our website is

LOOKING FOR people willing to take pictures occasionally at a LWVA event. Contact the editor:Contact the editor

Dear members,

Strong Women Stay Young- that's the name of an exercise book on my bookshelf. But the word strong didn't make me think of physical strength when I saw the book again. It made me think of the strengths I've gained as a member of the League of Women Voters. I feel as though I've continued to stay 'young' because I have internalized the values of the league and have steadily been working on worthwhile causes.

Throughout most of my life I've been involved off and on in political causes but have never stuck with one organization for an extended period of time. But in the last few years I have listened to myself complain about so many political issues that I felt I needed to do something proactive. I never realized how much effort it took to collect signatures for getting an issue on the ballot. At first I struggled with asking people to sign my ballot petition, but then signature by signature it became easier to ask, and easier to not take it personally if someone did not want to sign, or if someone just turned away or refused to give me eye contact. I'm now more confident about calling our state and federal representatives and writing letters to people asking them to be sure to vote.

I can appreciate the saying - "It takes a village to raise a family" because I feel it also takes a whole country to uphold democracy.

I am only volunteering a little of my time to uphold our democracy, but I feel so much better doing something. I am certainly not young in age, but I do feel I am young in spirit. If you are not involved in concrete community action, I recommend you volunteer because I'm sure it will lift your spirits in these more than trying times.

Ann Kieser
On behalf of the Steering Committee
New Members!

Barbara Bigelow and Polly Peterson. We welcome you!



 JOIN US!  Tuesday, August 18 at the Common, 11:45am

Come one! Come all!  For a razzle-dazzle car parade! Pandemic-protected, but also a way that the League can carry out its primary function: to inform voters and encourage voting. Our cars will carry informative signs (the razzle) as well as crepe paper (the dazzle) and information about this fall's voting will be available for interested individuals.

What are we doing:
Drive-by encouragement to vote in the September 1st primary while providing needed information. 

We'll meet at the Common in front of Town Hall, gathering at 11:45 a.m., to drive through downtown and then go to neighborhoods.  If we have enough cars, we will go in different directions to cover more parts of town. There'll be signs available at the Common, but we are having a preliminary car-decorating session starting at 10:30 a.m. at Seelye St on the east side of Amherst College Alumni Lot between Rte 9 and Spring St. Feel free to join us for some or all of the car-decorating time, or join us at the Common, in front of Town Hall.
If you're planning to come, or if you can't come and you'd like us to drive through your neighborhood, let us know: here.

How are we doing it:
In the spirit of Tennessee! 

The Centennial Commemoration Committee, sponsor of the event, chose August 18th for the Car Parade because of its significance in the history of women's suffrage. The story of the ratification of the 19th amendment is a dramatic one, filled with heroes and villains (see for example Eleanor Flexner's classic Century of Struggle, first published in 1959).  No one expected a border state would be the 36th state needed for ratification. But governors in New Hampshire, Vermont, and Connecticut refused to summon a special session of their legislature. The opponents of women's vote poured into Tennessee, and according to eye witnesses, liquor flowed freely. But on August 18 1920, the youngest member of the House remembered his mother's exhortation "Don't forget to be a good boy and help Mrs. Catt put 'Rat' in Ratification," and voted yes. So Tennessee's vote ensured that the 19th Amendment would be enacted. Thank you, Tennessee!

-- From the Centennial Commemoration Committee:
Bonnie Isman, Susan Millinger, Barbara Pearson, Jessica Ryan, Ruth Smith, Adrienne Terrizzi, Kathy Vorwerk

In Memoriam:

The Steering Committee regrets to report the recent death of former Amherst League member Etta Walsh. We send our most sincere sympathy to her family and friends. We are grateful for her many contributions to the League and to the community.


The Connecticut River Conservancy's "Source to Sea Cleanup" will happen this fall. With COVID-19 considerations, the cleanup will be different in several ways. The main one is that the work will happen over the entire month of September instead of on just one weekend as in prior years. This will allow for safe physical distancing. Registration for this event is now open. Check the CRC web site for more information.   

The Conservancy has eight major projects planned for 2020.These projects are: two dam removals in VT, two riverbank stabilizations in MA & NH, a culvert upgrade in MA, two floodplain berm removals in VT, and a living shoreline project in CT. These projects will put more than $2 million into the local economies at these sites.

An excellent online resource to obtain more information about the Connecticut River can be found on the Conservancy's website. There are eight presentations, each about one hour (half hour with Power Point plus Q&A); they are free and are available any time on the CRC website, above. Click on first site shown for Connecticut River Conservancy; then Learn, and Livestream Presentations. Some of the topics are: migrating fish, health & swimability of the water, dam removals, hydroelectricity, freshwater mussels.

Elizabeth Davis


The Fort River is the longest free flowing (no dams) tributary of the 410 mile long Connecticut River. It originates in the streams of Shutesbury; at Amethyst Brook it is called the Fort River. which flows into the Connecticut River in Hadley. 1.4 miles of the Fort River run through the property of the Hickory Ridge Golf Course.

In conjunction with this property the Conway School in Northampton has prepared "A Study of the Fort River Watershed." This was done at the request of the Fort River Watershed Association. This report is very interesting, full of good information and history, helpful maps and water quality data. Its chapters are Ecological Assessment of the Fort River Watershed, Land Use and Strategies for Improving Water Quality. If you would like to see the report, click here

The Town of Amherst is presently in negotiations with the owner of the golf course to purchase the 149 acres of the golf course property. Twenty-eight acres of this property are being considered for solar panel development. If the Town is able to finalize this purchase, it will have a significant opportunity to restore the Fort River to its preindustrial condition, clean up its waters, restore native vegetation needed by wildlife, and improve recreational access to this river and forest landscape. Stay tuned for further information and updates.

Elizabeth Davis


League Commemorative Walk Front Page News!!!

* Maybe it was the important event we were honoring.
* Maybe it was the many walkers wearing white like the suffragists we were honoring.
* Maybe it was the fantastic publicity from newspaper writers and photographers.

Whatever the reason...

On June 25 our League commemorated the 100th anniversary of Massachusetts ratifying women's right to vote. Our members and other community participants met at Kendrick Park and carrying League Banners and VOTE Signs walked through town to the Common in front of Town Hall. Here Susan Audette, assistant town clerk, joined us. Of course we all wore masks and socially distanced, but the mood was lively and spirited, and even bystanders got in the mood.

Check out this link to view WGBY's Connecting Point piece on the walk: Connecting Point Video Adrienne Terrizzi, Phyllis Lehrer, and Andrea Battle gave wonderful interviews emphasizing the importance of each person's vote.

We also had a nice article in the Hampshire Gazette, including pictures, and here is the link to that:  Hampshire Gazette Article

It took a long time for women of every color to get the right to vote .Hopefully we won't have to wait so long for a female vice president or president!!!

Trish Farrington

Voter Service News

Can you help? LWVA is working with the Amherst Survival Center to encourage voter registration during the Center's food distribution days. We will be able to set up an information table outdoors under a tent and maintain social distancing. Volunteers will have hand sanitizer and wear masks as required by CDC guidelines. As usual, we will offer information on how to register online and by mail. This year we have registration forms in various languages. We will also explore other food distribution sites for similar registration outreach. Volunteers are needed! Schedules are being formed now. Contact me at 413-256-1021 or email here.

Here's a tip from Karen Price of LWV-Needham. "The Sec of State has several easy to use website aliases you can use, especially on letters to the editor or other printed material instead of using the incredibly long URLs. These are the ones I have used but there could be more." 

Who uses Twitter? the Elections Division has been tweeting helpful info on the elections daily. You might want to follow.

Bonnie Isman 

A few weeks after the LWVA Annual Meeting, an energized and expanded Racial Justice Task Force formed from what was originally known as the Local Action for Social Justice Committee (LASJC). It was clear from the first Zoom meeting that everyone was eager to start work. During the first meeting we discussed many topics. We talked about other organizations we could work with and we began to generate a list of actions we could take. Listening and learning will be essential. We all agreed that there is no time to lose. To help guide our discussions and advocacy work we wrote a statement of purpose and goals  which you will find below. At its August meeting, the Steering Committee approved this task force as a component of the LASJC. Going forward we will be sure to keep members informed of our work so be on the lookout for actions you can take.
- Rebecca Fricke

Statement of Purpose and Goals for the Racial Justice Task Force/Committee:

Purpose: The purpose of the Racial Justice Committee/Task Force is to encourage and help focus the Amherst League of Women Voters' work to understand and challenge systemic racism, both locally and nationally. We will collaborate with other like-minded local efforts who share this goal. We intend to educate ourselves and our organization about racism at the individual, community and organizational levels with a commitment to listening. We seek a solution-oriented understanding of what it means to be anti-racist. In working against racism in our community, we intend primarily to partner with other organizations rather than initiating projects on our own.

Specific Goals:
  1. To collaborate with individuals and community groups addressing racial injustice; those groups might include the Racial Equity Task Force, Interfaith Organization Network, Coming Together, NAACP, Peoples Assembly, Human Rights Commission, and the high school BLM group, possibly participating in a town-wide coalition on these issues. We will be guided by League principles such as non-partisanship in identifying the individuals and organizations with whom we will partner.
  2. To explore involvement in the proposed resident committee to work with the police on safety in Amherst.
  3. To seek to diversify the membership of the Amherst League, following the National and State League Principles of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
  4. Create a communication stream in both the Amherst League and the local community about issues of racial justice and legislative efforts by the state LWV.
Chair: Marcie Sclove

Andrea Battle Rebecca Fricke Adrienne Terrizzi
Susan Millinger Martha Hanner Bonnie Isman
Ash Hartwell Meg Gage
Sudha Setty Mira Setty-Charity


It is of the utmost importance to keep up providing opportunities for the youth in all possible ways, educating in civics basics and guiding them in voting effectively. LWV can truly awaken a fire within, inspiring them to be active citizens for the common good. As an educator and activist for the environment since a long time ago, I truly believe in this paradigm. Indeed I was very happy to help LWVMA again as a judge for the High School Video contest this year.Last year we had lots of participants compared with this year; however many students did it again in spite of the challenging viral situation.

Climate Change was the theme last year. We had 99 entries, and the winner was Madeleine Lombard from Four Rivers Charter. This is the playlist, winner and others: Link to Playlist

Voting Rights at 16 was the theme this year. There were only 21 entries. Of those, only 2 were not in favor of voting at 16. 

The videos were interesting, with the typical force of the youth, the passion and urgency of these times.  This year was particularly special as our own Amherst High School received an honorable mention! Yippee! Ian Buchanan is the winner; you can watch his submission to the contest
here.  Please check below my brief interview with the video contest honorable mention winner!

Interviewing Ian, winner of the LWVMA 2020 video contest Honorable Mention

Laura:Congratulations Ian for this special mention! You make your school community, family and friends so proud! Way to go! Why did you want to make the video, was this topic important for you?

Ian:I heard about this project through school and immediately thought it was interesting.
L: How did your family and friends react to your choice to participate?
I: I told my family and they encouraged me to take part in it.
L:Do you think young people are more interested or concerned about topics of today?
I: Young people now more than ever are paying attention to issues that will impact them the most like climate change and the cost of education.
L:Did you learn anything from the whole process?
I:During the video making process I learned all about why 18 year olds got their right to vote due to large protests of the Vietnam war and I thought that 16 year olds should now have that same right to vote.
L:What else would you like to comment/say?
I:The 16 year old voting rights argument project was a great experience!
L:How do you like LWV promoting these topics? any suggestions?
I:I think that it's wonderful that LWV is promoting meaningful discussions among the youth and I hope that they continue to do so.

Respectfully submitted by Laura Rojo MacLeod


Voting News: T
here are lots of items about voting in Mass. League Action Letter that was sent out to members on Monday August 3.  Such as:
  • Problems with voting by mail or in person? Contact here if you experience ANY problems or difficulties with voting whether by mail or in-person. The Election Modernization Coalition (to which LWVMA belongs) is collecting evidence of such in order to work to improve the new system.
  • Pollworkers are needed, and you DON'T have to work in your community-or be registered to vote. Secretary of State Galvin's website Elections: Be A Poll Worker has info on where poll workers are needed-or contact your town clerk/election official. Interesting (and paid) work for a college student.

Interested in learning more about what your local League can do to further DEI (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion?) LWVMA has started a DEI peer discussion group, led by two members of LWVMA's DEI Committee. Contact one of the leaders with questions or to join the group: the Winchester LWV or the new Central Berkshire LWV.

Welcome to a new League in Western Massachusetts! Central Berkshire League was accepted as a League at the July Board Meeting. Congratulations to Central Berkshire!


VOTE411 LWVs election information site, has all the election information you could want.

For an interview on 2020 Talks (July 23) with CEO Virginia Kase on the violence against protestors, click here: Interview.

On the LWV blog: a guest post by a Kansas League co-president, 5 Reasons to Have Confidence in Mail-in Voting

Should Sixteen-Year Olds Have the Vote?

You  can view the winning videos of the Teen Voting Rights Challenge here. 

LWVAmherst "sent" two delegates to National Convention, held by Zoom on June 25-27: Barbara Pearson and Susan Millinger. Barbara was leading a pre-meeting caucus on health care (accessible here); she can reflect on her experience. This is first-timer Susan's description of the event itself. Many of the caucuses were held too late in the evening for me, but I did attend a very informative session on the New Mexico proposal that was accepted as a concurrence (see below) and one of the two sessions on Climate Change, hosted, among others, by Massachusetts' Launa Zimmaro.

Program for this biennium:

The Campaign for Making Democracy Work was accepted, but so too was "continuing work on urgent issues: Climate Change, the ERA, Health Care, Gun Safety and Immigration." (It is important to note that at the last convention, National wanted all attention and action to focus exclusively on Making Democracy Work.)

The non-recommended motion to support abolition of the electoral college was argued (those opposed said in the current political environment it was smarter to focus on a more achievable goal, the National Popular Vote Contract.) However, by the votes of delegates, it was added to the list of urgent issues.

Two concurrences won acceptance. One, from New Mexico, is a policy making it harder to transfer public lands held by the federal government to anyone else, either state or private citizens. The proponents argued convincingly that states are less able to supervise and maintain public lands than the federal government. Although this is a very live issue for western states; most if not all states contain federal lands, so the Convention agreed it should be accepted as a national policy.

The Concurrence on Electoral Systems was also accepted. This concurrence was created by collecting pieces of very different Leagues' studies, not as the result of a national study. At our Program Planning Meeting this past winter, LWVMA sent word that it objected to that procedure, and so did we at our meeting. But this apparently was a minority sentiment, and the concurrence entered national policy. One result is that we can now say that LWVUS approves of ranked choice voting, as well as LWVMA.

Three resolutions were brought forward by the Resolutions Committee and accepted on Saturday: one on Immigration, one on Climate Change, and one on Racial Justice. They were all accepted by a yes vote of over 1090. One of the authors of the Racial Justice Resolution was Vedna Heywood, a current member of the LWVMA Board, and chair of the State Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.

The Budget was accepted. The Treasurer assured us that LWVUS is in a good financial position; it has more in reserve than the required six months of expenses. Because of the pandemic, the budget does assume a 20% drop in revenue. Grants are making up a much larger portion of National's income than they used to; CEO Virginia Kase is by my estimation largely responsible for this.

Five changes in the Bylaws were proposed; four were accepted. The proposal to drop the Membership category of Associate was opposed by Leagues needing a category for young people who aren't students. Another change in bylaws made permanent the waiver for students of PMP (our per member payment to National.) Perhaps the most immediately relevant bylaw change makes a strong statement about the importance of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: that "The League is fully committed to ensure compliance--in principle and practice-- with LWVUS' Diversity, Equity and Inclusions Policy." Since this change is in Article II, which all Leagues are required to have as a bylaw, Amherst as well as LWVMA, will need to include it as part of Article II, now to be called Purposes and Policies. There was an attempt on the floor to weaken the language by removing the phrase "to ensure compliance" but it was defeated by an overwhelming majority.

I thought staff handled the challenges of Zoom very well. The new Board Members are a very diverse group-in race, age, probably gender identity, and geography (although there is no one on the Board from New England.) LWVUS' new president, Deborah Turner, a physician from Iowa and a long time LWV member, who took over at the end of the Convention, seems a great choice. Dr. Turner is the 20th president, and only the second woman of color to be president.

Here's a link to the Convention homepage:  LWV 2020 Convention  You can access the proposed resolutions, bylaws, concurrences and budget there. If you have any questions about Convention, click here.

E-bulletin Staff and Contributors in August
The August e-bulletin was created by a panel of Editors: the summer editor, Jerry Brubaker; the new editor whose term starts in September, Jessica Ryan; and the former editor, Susan Millinger. Contact Jerry here. The Associate Editor is Trish Farrington; Janice Ratner and Phyllis Lehrer proofread the issue; Kay Fite checks the links. Contributors to the August 2020 e-bulletin include LWVA members Ann Kieser, Bonnie Isman, Elizabeth Davis, Marcie Sclove, Susan Millinger, and Trish Farrington. Material on LWVMA comes from either the League Leader Update or Mass League Voter or from letters from LWVMA.

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.