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   League of Women 
  Voters of Berrien 
   & Cass Counties
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May, 2019

on Memo Line

___raspberry chicken or
___cedar-wrapped salmon or
___orecchiette pasta (vegetarian)

*6:00 p.m. June 12, Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant

Civil Discourse: WHAT It Is, WHY We Need It, and HOW to Do It

      On May 15, LWVBCC, together with cosponsors the OutCenter of Southwest Michigan and the Rebecca Dewey Three Oaks Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, will host a forum on civil discourse.
     The forum will feature four people who are or have been involved in government and the political process: Aaron Miller, Michigan House Representative from District 59; Dennis Smith, Miller's opponent in the 2018 election; Dave Pagel, who formerly represented District 78; and Joey Andrews, who ran unsuccessfully last year in District 79. Moderator will be Gwendolyn Moffitt, Community Engagement Liaison for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, Public Affairs Division.
     The program will address a troubling phenomenon that is drawing more and more attention now: the apparent breakdown in cultural norms in how we talk with and treat one another. The problem is apparent in the world of politics but extends well beyond that into our everyday lives.    
     The panelists will help us understand how civil discourse figures in their work, changes they have seen over the years, its impact on how they do their jobs, and ideas on what works best.  People attending the forum will share their own observations about the problem and probe ideas for solving it.
     Mark your calendar now: Forum on civil discourse at Berrien RESA, 711 St. Joseph Avenue in Berrien Springs, 6:30 p.m. May 15, 2019.            

LWVBCC Book Group May 6

At its meeting at 10 a.m. on Monday, May 6, the LWVBCC book group will discuss books they have read about civil discourse. Some of the books selected are these:
  • Alan Alda, If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?
  • Sarah Holland & Beth Silvers, I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening) A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations
  • James Hoggan, I'm Right and You're an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean It Up
  • Ben Sasse, THEM: Why We Hate Each Other--And How to Heal
  • Claude Steele, Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do
  • Rebecca Traister, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger
     You are welcome to attend whether or not you have read a book about civil discourse. The meeting will be at Marilyn Klawiter's home. Please call or text Marilyn at 269-362-1871 to let her know that you plan to attend.

LWVMI Prevails in 
Gerrymandering Lawsuit

On April 25, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division, determined that the current districting plan, drawn in 2011, "is an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander" that "was devised with discriminatory intent,"  the purpose of which was to keep one party in power by diluting the weight of votes for the other party.
     In a lengthy opinion (146 pages), the Court, based on evidence presented, found that all 34 of the challenged districts violate the plaintiffs' First Amendment right to association; and that 27 of them also violate their Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection of the laws.  It also determined that those same injuries would occur if another election were held under the gerrymandered districting plan.
     To remedy that problem, the Court allowed the two houses of the Michigan legislature (House and Senate) until August 1 to submit remedial maps signed by the Governor.  If they fail to do so, or if they do but the Court determines that the newly-submitted maps do not remedy the constitutional harms, the Court itself will draw remedial maps-perhaps with the assistance of a special master it appoints for that purpose.
     The remedial maps (whether drawn by the legislature or by the Court) will be used for the 2020 election.  The Court also required a special election in 2020 for the challenged Michigan Senate districts since those are 4-year terms that otherwise would not be open to challenge until 2022.  You may read the full opinion here:  Click to read latest opinion here.  ( As we go to press, the two sets of intervenors filed a notice of appeal of the decision to the U. S. Supreme Court.)

Annual Dinner 6 o'clock p.m. June 12
Tabor Hill Winery and Restaurant
Reservation deadline: May 30, 2019

     This year's annual meeting and dinner will be in the Vineyard Room at Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant, 185 Mt. Tabor Road, Baroda. Because the restaurant staff needs to know how many to plan for and which entree each person has chosen, we need your reservations and entrée choices by May 30. 
     Please send payment ($30 per person) without delay either (a) by check mailed to LWVBCC, P.O. Box 1032, Niles, MI 49120 or (b) by PayPal through our website: lwvbcc.org.  
     Either way, please include the name of each person attending and his/her choice of entrée:
___raspberry chicken or
___ cedar-wrapped salmon or
___orecchiette pasta (vegetarian)
     There will be a brief business meeting that evening, too, to approve a budget for the upcoming year, elect new Board members, and conduct (briefly, we promise) other necessary business. By the middle of May, LWVBCC members will receive by email the proposed budget, information about nominees to the Board, and a proxy form. We hope you will attend. But if you can't, please complete and submit the proxy form appointing another LWVBCC member to cast your votes at the meeting in your absence.
     Our special guest for the evening will be Judy Karandjeff, outgoing President of the Michigan League.
     We hope you will be there. You won't want to miss it: good food, good friends, and mighty good time in a beautiful setting.

Suffrage Celebration Begins

      In September, LWVBCC will host two special events to celebrate ratification of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote.
     Megan Burnett, Bellarmine University, will bring two live performances of her "Conversation with a Suffragette" to our area--one at the Vickers Theatre in Three Oaks at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept 18; and another at the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph at 7:30 p.m. the next day. A post-show discussion will follow the performances.
     Megan Burnett--actor, playwright, and theatre professor--will present her one-woman show, "Conversations with a Suffragist: Mattie Griffith Browne--Kentucky Abolitionist and Suffragist."  Born in Owensboro, Kentucky, to a slave-holding family, Browne was determined to free the slaves she inherited from her parents. As an adult, she became a writer and poet, and wrote Autobiography of a Female Slave to raise money to free her slaves. Succeeding in doing so, she turned her activism toward suffragism and worked with Susan B. Anthony and others to obtain the right to vote for all citizens.
     As Mattie, Megan Burnett gives the audience a glimpse into her passion for freedom, citizenship, and voting rights for all Americans--black and white, male and female--at a time when these ideas were very controversial.
     Please join us as we explore the history of women's suffrage through one woman's life experiences. Tickets will go on sale June 31st. Cost is $10.00 (Students: $5.00). 
     Details to follow.                              --Judy Scully

Environmental News

     Last month, I mentioned the lawsuit Juliana vs US. The suit was filed in 2016 on behalf of 23 young people charging, basically, that the US government is promoting industries that damage the environment and, therefore, the health and well-being of future generations and demanding that policies be adopted to counter climate change.
    T he League of Women Voters US joined the suit initially in September of 2017.   Most recently, an amicus brief was filed by LWVUS on March 1 of this year in support  of the lawsuit.
     The suit is scheduled to be heard in the 9th District Court in Portland, Oregon, on  June 4. The results of the hearing will have long-lasting, far-ranging effects and will  certainly result in appeals. I'll keep you posted!           --  Chris Zilke

Know Your Rights: Voting

Here is a new resource--Know Your Rights: Voting.  It has answers to your questions about Proposal 3 and more!  Click here for Know Your Rights.

State Convention May 17-19

     The 2019 Convention of the League of Women Voters of Michigan will be held May 17-19 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in Livonia.  Members of LWVBCC also are members of the Michigan League.
      If you would like to attend the convention, please email lwvbcc@gmail.com for more information.
Non-Partisan Policy
The League as an organization does not support or oppose any political party, candidate for elected office, or any group that supports candidates. As individuals, though, but not as representatives of the League, members are encouraged to participate in political activity and to run for office.  Our non-partisan policy does require two Board members--the President and the Voter Service Chair--to totally abstain from partisan political activity.  

LWVBCC: Contact Us

P.O. Box 1032
Niles, MI 49120

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Monday, May 6
10 a.m.
                  Book Group
        Marilyn Klawiter's home
Please call ahead or text
if you will be attending:

Weds., May 15
6:30 p.m.
Civil Discourse Forum
Berrien RESA Conference Center
Berrien Springs
Open to the Public
See article at left for details.

May 17-19
State League Convention
Livonia, Michigan

Wednesday, June 12
6:00 p.m.
LWVBCC Annual Meeting 
and Dinner
Tabor Hill Winery

Weds. & Thurs.
Sept. 18 3:00 p.m. & 
Sept. 19 7:30 p.m.
"Conversation with a Suffragette"

Board of Directors
Marilyn Klawiter, President
Karen Ristau,  Secretary
John Ripley, Treasurer &
        Communications Coordinator
Linda Cheek
Kathleen Fleming
Michael McCaffrey
Jane Raymond
Anita Rutlin
Judy Scully
Christiana Zilke

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The League:  Helping to Make Democracy Work Since 1920!
And about to Celebrate our 100th Anniversary!
The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization encouraging informed and active participation in government. It influences public policy through education and advocacy.

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