The LWV-US 2020 Convention featured a variety of topical and important Seminars. Here is a link to see the various presentations.
Several members of our League watched sessions and here are their summaries.
Session: Improving Civics Education & Strengthening Democracy with the Harvard Case Study Method
Summary from: (Mary Hummel)
Applicable to: Civics Corp
Harvard is famous for its Case Study Method. Dr. David Moss, Harvard Business School, and his team have developed a high school curriculum using the Case Study Method for multiple civics case studies throughout history. The Case Study Method project was piloted 2016-20 to and is now continuing to offer grants to train high school teachers in this method at no cost to the teachers. Over 30,000 students have been taught civics using this method. The results of scientific evaluations indicate that teachers have much more job satisfaction using this method and that students are more engaged and more interested in the democratic process having studied in via case studies. Dr. Moss was asked and is considering using a ZOOM meeting to summarize this exciting method for interested Leaguers.
More info at their website. www.cmi.org The book is Democracy: A Case Study, Dr. David Moss
Session: Rebuilding Trust With Each Other to Save Our Civil Society (Debra Graves)
Summary from: Debra Graves
Applicable to: General Membership
Dr. Carolyn Lukensmeyer, Executive Director Emerita, National Institute for Civil Discourse, was the featured speaker. Results from recent surveys were presented reflecting a marked decrease in the trust of governmental institutions, especially at the federal level. The higher percentages of distrust correlated with certain demographics; such as age, education, and race. With the emphasis on the League’s nonpartisan position, it is in a favorable position to help rebuild this trust and educate the public on changes threatening our democracy. How to be successful when we are so polarized presents a significant challenge. This seminar, especially the links below, shed light on reasons for the divide and techniques to aid in breaching it.
https://video.rmpbs.org/video/divided-we-fall-unity-without-tragedy-8pxtqc/ https://www.ted.com/talks/eric_liu_how_to_revive_your_belief_in_democracy https://www.ted.com/talks/robb_willer_how_to_have_better_political_conversations
Session: Climate Emergency–Time for All Hand on Deck
Summary from: Ann Yoshida
Applicable to: Climate Change and Environmental Concerns, UMRR, LMR
This panel presentation was led by Illinois’ Eleanor Revelle, and focused on League efforts to deal with climate change taking place across the nation. LWVUS has a Climate Emergency Working Group and any LWV member may sign up to be in its Google group and receive emails about what’s going on in this arena. Much of the presentation focused on actions taken in each of the states represented and on what the League can bring to the table in being effective partners in this crucial effort. LWVUS has resources for those who want to take action in their own locations and each speaker also emphasized the importance of collaboration with other like-minded groups. It was an inspiring presentation on a daunting topic.
Summary from: Janet Spector Bishop)
Applicable to: League Management
Club Express is much more than a website – it’s a full “chapter management” system, involving the membership chair, treasurer, communications team, and more. It tracks fees and donations, creates an online membership directory, handles volunteer sign-ups, etc. as well as provides a full website and email blast system. All for a fee, of course. The decision to use it would be a full Board decision- and would really rely on many chairs and leaders being willing to, first, devote a lot of time to building the system (that is, shifting a large amount of our data and information into it) and, second, really change the way we operate. It would make us highly dependent on tech. While it’s good to know there are useful productivity tools available, this may not be a priority for us in the near term.
Summary from: Sue Swaringen
Applicable to: League Management
BoardSource is a membership program designed for nonprofit organizations looking for year-round support, and for those who are committed to continued advancement, helping to strengthen their boards and missions. The standards and procedures that BoardSource recommends are overkill for our League. But the informational resources may be of interest and use to any of our Board members who are interested in topics like fundraising, membership, compliance, etc.
Session: Making Democracy Work In Criminal Justice
Summary from: Janet Kittlaus)
Applicable to: Criminal Justice Position Update Study
Racial Equity…so treat people fairly
Reentry reform…so fewer people returned to prison
Sentencing reform…so shorter stays, fewer people sent to prison
Reducing incarceration…so fewer people going in
2019 state convention, California adopted a new CJ position. 32 States have a CJ position. US incarcerates 698 per 100,000 The Next closest is the UK with 139 per 100,000 Talking about Criminal Justice: Bias! Remember humanity; treat people with generosity and dignity. Labels like “felon”, inmate, convict, offender—negates the central fact that this person is a human being to be accorded all the rights and respect due to a human being. Labels are hurtful and misguided; further, they create fear. Voting rights—LWVUS supports ALL citizens The voice of the afflicted is powerful. 21st Century Policing report is the gold standard on policing.
Recommend their resources to our people: recording, slides, handouts, and other materials in your League.
Session: Voting Rights Across the Lifespan
Summary from: Sarah Hill
The session presented what the League could do to make democracy work for all ages. By all ages, the discussion included allowing infants the right to vote, effectively giving their parents the right to act as their proxy vote. A more realistic age suggested was giving 13 + year olds the right to vote. To do that, they stressed the importance of education starting at the grade school level. (Note: Germany once considered a law giving everyone has the right to vote from birth; parents and guardians would have proxy votes until the child claims it for him/herself. The idea behind this is that children have rights – education, healthcare, etc. But have no way to express a claim to those rights and were deserving of having a say, if only by proxy through their parents. We were asked to consider what impact the Parkland students might have had on gun violence protection if they were voting citizens.) In addition, they offered suggestions on how to reach out to politically-engaged young people to discuss voting rights across their lifespan.
Session: Using the Power of Music to Get Out the Vote
Summary from: Kate McMahon Gazda
This session highlighted the musical “Perfect 36 the Musical.” It was written and performed 25 years ago for the 75th anniversary of the 19th amendment. The intention was to stage it again for our 100-year celebration, but COVID derailed that. Instead, the authors have invited us to use their songs and videos. This is the direct quote from their website: Please share our songs and music videos to inspire friends, family, community members, teachers, and students to register to vote and exercise that right come November. These songs can also help start conversations about important issues, such as the history of voting, the balance of power, equality for all. I found the songs educational, inspirational and moving, and good music is sung by talented singers.
Please click on the link and see for yourself. Once in, click on the very first image for an overview of the songs. After this image and overview, you can click on the videos of specific songs.
Session: Voter Girl Project Teams with LWV and Girl Scouts
Summary from: Kate McMahon Gazda
The LWV of Kent, Ohio partnered with the Girl Scouts to provide an annual one-day program that allows the Scouts to obtain a citizenship badge. Their League representatives explained the program so that we can consider using it. I suggest we consider it, though it is not a top priority in my opinion. The Voter Girl Project is trademarked. For $150, we can purchase “a VOTER Girl Project license from the League of Women Voters of Kent. The license includes a package of files (on a flash drive) that includes all the information you need to plan and conduct your own successful VOTER Girl Project.” (from their website) • The program is customized for each level of Girl Scouts (Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, etc.) with learning outcomes identified for each level. • They work with the state Board of Elections to provide the experience of voting to the Scouts. • A core team of 5 – 10 people plans and organizes each year’s program. There are as many as 200 girls attending the event each year. Twenty to 30 people are needed to actually run the programs. • The program for each level is 2 ½ hours. • The Naperville LWV has bought and used this program and is enthusiastic about using it to foster long term youth engagement. • For complete info, go to https://my.lwv.org/ohio/kent/voter-girl
Session: Engaging Non-Voters in Lower Turnout Precincts
Summary from: Carole Weber
Participants briefly shared their (mostly) successful efforts in engaging non-voters. Organizers promised to send a list of these efforts to meeting participants. Value to/Ideas for LWVGG:
• Several participants from IL (Naperville, Arlington Hgts, and Highland Park/Highwood [most recently — and VERY enthusiastic]) explained their very successful Stroll to the Polls, using high school students to canvas low-turnout areas, distribute door hangers, discuss voter reg, etc. One good reminder for anyone approaching someone’s home is to knock then step back — to avoid looking like they are rushing the door.
• Gather voting records, if available, from the past and send postcards to those who have not voted in the last few elections.
• Include a voter registration QR code on posters, postcards, or door hangers.
Session: Youth Voter Registration and Education Programs, including Mock Elections
Summary from: Nancy Bishop
Our League has done a terrific job of organizing voter registration in the high schools. Useful Ideas: • Use social and traditional media to excite students about the importance of voting. Pictures are good ways.
• Provide cards to give students with election dates, issues, etc. Information for students attending college away, or in the military is particularly useful.
• Give bracelets or other little things (not sure what the bracelets said)
• Ask students, who want to participate, to fill out self-addressed postcards so that League could send them information about dates and the importance of voting. Social Networking and Online Presence
• Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are best for social networking. Facebook is no longer popular with this age group.
• Looking at the web site of the Fairfax League who presented, they provide good information on their Internet site. Go to LWV-Fairfax.org and arrow down to High School Voter Registration and High School Voter Registration and Education Volunteers. They also have a presence on Facebook. COVID Considerations:
• Take informational packets to schools and let school hand out.
• League members could wear sandwich boards with voter information and election dates to places like Farmer’s Markets. Concerns: The Fairfax League is very large (500 members) with plenty of money and woman power to achieve their goals. Their ideas may not be practical for a League our size. A concern of mine is sending postcards and using social media would include privacy issues and also the need to keep all materials nonpartisan.