Happy Birthday to US! We threw ourselves the party of the century on December 13, 2020.
LWVMA was thrilled to honor this important milestone by celebrating virtually with our members, our corporate sponsors and many other supporters. If you were there, thank you for attending! If you were unable to be there, here is what you missed:
Smaiyra Million moderated our conversation with Dr. Danielle Allen who inspired and motivated us by leading with the good news about the record voter turnout in the 2020 presidential election. Professor Allen stated “for the first time in history, we had everybody in the electorate.” This was followed by a look back at the history of the League – including a focus on turning “informed” voters into “informed, authentic and engaged” voters to insure that all people, including communities of color, continue to stay in the electorate. And finally, Dr. Allen left us with a call to action: make permanent the emergency pandemic election laws changes that the League was instrumental in passing this year – she said this is the most important next step we can work on together here in Massachusetts.
Pam Wilmot, Vice President for State Operations of Common Cause, received the Lucy Stone Lifetime Achievement Award. Please read more about Pam, below. And finally, the League honored 38 local League leaders who have made significant contributions at any level of the League: local, state or national. Please read about these formidable League leaders, below.
Happy 100th birthday to us! We are excited to begin the next century of work empowering voters and defending democracy!
LWVMA Sizzle Reel– 100 Year Timeline
Click here to watch the sizzle reel.
Meet Our Speaker
Danielle Allen, James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. the Board of Education (2004), Why Plato Wrote (2010), Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (2014), Education and Equality (2016), and Cuz: The Life and Times of Michael A. (2017). She is the co-editor of the award-winning Education, Justice, and Democracy (2013, with Rob Reich) and From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age (2015, with Jennifer Light). She is a former Chair of the Mellon Foundation Board, past Chair of the Pulitzer Prize Board, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.
Allen is also the principal investigator for the Democratic Knowledge Project, a distributed research and action lab at Harvard University. The Democratic Knowledge Project seeks to identify, strengthen, and disseminate the bodies of knowledge, skills, and capacities that democratic citizens need in order to succeed at operating their democracy. The lab currently has three projects underway: the Declaration Resources Project, the Humanities and Liberal Arts Assessment Project (HULA), and the Youth and Participatory Politics Action and Reflection Frame.
Meet Our Honoree
While Pam is now working at the national level for Common Cause, for years she was Executive Director of Common Cause Massachusetts, where she built broad coalitions, drafted bills, advised legislators and other state officials, and employed grassroots organizing techniques to win dozens of ground-breaking changes. She has been a watchdog calling out questionable actions affecting voting and campaign finance in the state, even forcing an investigation that indicted a former Speaker of the House for perjury and obstruction of justice over redistricting. The League has worked closely with Pam for over 10 years on the Election Modernization Coalition to update the state’s election laws and ensure that they are enforced, and to provide election protection assistance on Election Days. She has even been a speaker at one of our Day on the Hill lobby days. And when she wants to get away from Beacon Hill, Pam is an avid outdoorswoman, hiking in the White Mountains–in the winter–and leading expeditions to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and remote Mongolia for the Appalachian Mountain Club.
She is a widely recognized expert on the Electoral College, campaign finance, ethics, elections, and transparency laws; and is also Director of the National Popular Vote Initiative at Common Cause.
About Lucy Stone:
Born in West Brookfield, Massachusetts in 1818, Lucy Stone was the first woman from Massachusetts to receive a college degree. She went on to a long career as an abolitionist and advocate for women’s rights. She organized the first national women’s convention in Worcester (1850) and founded and promoted the Woman’s Journal (1870 – 1931), which played a significant role in driving the conversation about woman’s suffrage.
Meet our Emcee
Smaiyra Million currently serves in a dual role as Director of the Diana International Research Institute (DIRI) and Director of the Butler Institute for Free Enterprise through Entrepreneurship (BIFETE), at Babson College. Her work amplifies research on individual women entrepreneurs as well as entrepreneurship from a macro level, examining how government, business, and society can help entrepreneurship to thrive, while creating economic and social value.
Prior to her time in academia, Smaiyra spent over 30 years in the corporate world. A key contributor to the early growth of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, including its successful bid to be the first service company to earn the US Department of Commerce’s coveted Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 1992, Smaiyra culminated her career in the service industry as CEO and member of the Board, of Millennium Partners Sports Club Management (MPSCM – Reebok Sports Club/NY and Sports Club/LA brands across the US). After successfully selling the clubs to Equinox in 2014, Smaiyra worked as both an Operating and Investment partner for Highland Consumer Partners, a private equity firm, serving on the Board of two portfolio companies; Paint Nite, ranked #2 on the Inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies in 2016, and StriVectin, a pioneer in the anti-aging skincare industry.
Smaiyra has a passion for supporting women founders, as an advisor, investor and board member. In addition to the three corporate boards listed, Smaiyra has also served on non-profit boards. Previously for Artist for Humanity and currently for Junior Achievement of Norther New England, Babson College’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership as well as the 5 member Personnel Board for the Town of Hingham, MA.
Smaiyra was recognized by The Boston Globe and The Commonwealth Institute in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 on the list of The 100 Largest Women Led Businesses in Massachusetts. She was also inducted into the YWCA’s Academy of Women Achievers in 2014.
Local League Honorees
Meet the Formidable League Women of Massachusetts! 40 game changers who have made significant and lasting contributions to the League.