Season’s Greetings to one and All. Regardless of which holiday you celebrate, the Leadership team of the Boston League wishes you and your family a safe, healthy and happy time together with family and friends.
This is the winter newsletter which hopefully sets the tone for the new year ahead in terms of the Boston League. You will find a “Meet the Members” section with a brief biography from a veteran member, Kerry Costello, and a new member, Sarah Edwards. Each of these women joined the League in a different time in their lives, but each shares a commitment to non-partisan advocacy for citizens and our rights in a democracy. I venture to say that both Kerry and Sarah share the following sentiment as well. “Voting is NOT a Spectator sport.”
There are also some opportunities for service at a level of involvement that may appeal to you in terms of interest as well as meeting the time commitment you may have to devote to advocacy.
The Boston league often fields requests for voter education and advocacy assistance. Shelia Martin facilitated a workshop on “Contacting your Local Elected Officials” at the Grove Hall Library. Members of the LWVB also participated in the State League’s event on City Hall Plaza.
While we have done yeoman’s work in the field of Voter Registration in the past, “The times, they are achanging” according to Bob Dylan in a famous lament. Although, I view the changes to Voter Registration to be a positive and one that the League has lobbied for decades! That is not to say that in person voter registration drives at public events are out of fashion. There is no substitute for personal interaction and an opportunity to educate about civics in my opinion as a forty year member of the League.
Your Leadership team is meeting and planning every month. Members are always welcome to attend and observe. Each member rotates the duty of chairperson for the month. Sarah Edwards is our indefatigable secretary with yours truly as her second and Judi Wright manages the treasury with dedication to minding our Fiduciary responsibility. The members of the Leadership Team are the following: Clare Hayes, Judi Wright, Sarah Edwards, Rosemary Jones, Allentza Michel, Ellen Hilly, Florence Slepian, Helen Waldorf, Amy Gitlin, Suzan Chatis, Palma McLaughlin, Shelia Martin and Kerry Costello. Do not hesitate to contact any one of us with questions, concerns or ideas for an event or community project.
Kerry A Costello
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE
We are seeking a member volunteer to update our Facebook page and website as needed with Boston league news and events. The volunteer should have some ability to create flyers, invites and send advisories to community news outlets as needed. This could be shared with another volunteer in a division of labor. Contact Sheila Martin at martinsheila31 [at] gmail.com or 617.542.0737.
We are seeking an Envoy. The LWVMA is creating a corps of Legislative Envoys to link local Leagues with our legislative efforts at the State House and to make those efforts more effective. We are looking for one or two interested members in each local league. The program begins in January.
The Legislative Envoy Program formalizes the links between the State’s League’s Legislative Action Committee and local Leagues. With better and stronger connections between our State League specialists and local leagues, we can be more effective in moving legislation and acting on legislative priorities when swift, coordinated action matters most.
We’ll start with a small group of envoys from different Leagues who will be responsible for building relationships with State Representative(s) and Senator in their districts. The hope would be to foster more engagement at the local League level. The plan is to grow the group over the next several years. If you are interested in the Legislative process, this is the opportunity for you! Contact Colleen Kirby at LWVMA or any member of your Leadershjp team.
GROVE HALL LIBRARY EVENT
LWVB Board member Sheila Martin leads the discussion.
The Boston league received a request from the Grove Hall Branch to conduct a presentation on “How to Communicate with Elected Officials”. Kate Gray, the librarian, said there was interest from some library patrons to initiate a “Post cards with a Purpose” campaign. On October 21, Sheila Martin, a LSWV of Boston Board member, led the discussion with a small group of patrons, all of whom were women.
After a brief overview of the League and its mission, we had a very enthusiastic discussion about various methods of communicating with Elected Officials. Some of the key points included presenting a clear and direct message, requesting a response and providing your contact information in the communication. Following up if a timely response is not forthcoming was emphasized. All participants were given copies of contact information for elected officials at the local, state and national levels serving the Grove Hall neighborhood. Copies were also left with Ms. Gray for distribution to library patrons in general.
FOCUS ON MEMBERS
Sarah is a software architect who has lived in Cambridge for 13 years. She grew up in Texas and had short stints in Colorado and California. She joined the League during the 2016 primary because she believes that democracy works best when everyone participates and their voice is heard. She thought about the low voter turnout and general contentiousness of that election season as evidence that were not feeling heard and therefor, were not participating in the electoral process.
She joined the League in particular because when she was growing up, the League provided the only voter guide in her area. Her belief in the need for non-partisan voter education, registration and voter advocacy are the most important than her personal stance on any policy issue.
Sarah believes that the idiosyncratic and diverse viewpoints that each voter brings to the table is a vital part of what makes democracy work. The issues she feels disproportionately and deeply about are diversity in the High tech industry and access to clean public toilets that are gender neutral.
As mentioned in the opening remarks, Sarah took on the role of secretary. Her clear and succinct notes help the Leadership team to stay focused on the tasks we lay out during our monthly meetings.
Kerry is a school psychologist in the Andover public schools who resides in JP. She is a lifelong Bostonian who properly drops her “R” as needed! She joined the League in 1997 at the invitation of Kay Heggie who as a neighbor knew of her interest in politics and civic involvement. She has been a stalwart member since that time and served as the LWVB president for two terms.
Kerry lead the LWVB study of the Boston School Committee over twenty years ago. It was a typical League study with all sides of the issue thoroughly researched and vetted over the course of a year. Consensus was finally reached after vigorous discussion and debate in the spirit of the League which meant civility and honest, open dialogue were the hallmarks of the deliberations.
Kerry believes that Democracy is NOT a spectator sport for the feint of heart. It requires active participation, education and advocacy. A favorite quote is one by Anatole France. “To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream, not only plan, but also believe.”
Kerry believes in the mission and purpose of the League and demonstrates this commitment with her active involvement with the LWVB.