Press Releases

“The Climate Change Challenge” LWVMA Student Video Contest Winners Announced


March 29, 2019/ Boston, MA
 – The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) has announced the winners of “The Climate Change Challenge” Student Video Contest.

The winners are:

First Place:  “The Urban Shade Tree: Nature’s Air Conditioner” by Madeleine Lombard, Four Rivers Charter Public School

Second Place:  “Rising Sea Levels” by Sophia Orlando, Rockport High School

Third Place“How Composting Helps the Environment” by Jessica Elmhurst, Walpole High School

Honorable Mention:

“Help Us To Put A Stop To Global Warming” by Kira Perry and Feyza Achilova, Dartmouth High School

“Get Greener: One Step at a Time” by Benten Niggel, Noah Dzeidzina, and Matthew Campbell, Nauset Regional High School

“Sip From The Side” by DJ Charles, Concord Academy

“Catchy Solutions To Air Pollution” by Kate Guttilla, Needham High School

“Little Things” by Noor Issa, Durfee High School

“Plant Based For The Climate” by Jinnie Mannion, Maynard High School

“Heal The World” by Nickolas Qvarnstrom, Wyatt Gaynor, Richard Ramsay, and Sam Cipro, Nauset Regional High School

“The Climate-Diet Connection” by Nina Yee, Izzy Drayer, Anda Gravlin, and Olivia Kierstead, Needham High School

“Climate Change” by Trevor Nunes, David Drew, Cole Roderick, Brandon Bowman, and Bud Driscoll, Falmouth High School

“Switch To Reusable” by Emily Kociubes and Elizabeth Herzog, Bedford High School

LWVMA invited Massachusetts high school students to create videos with content that raises public awareness about one aspect of climate change and suggests a course of action. The winning entries were selected from a large group of entries from across the Commonwealth. A panel of judges scored each video on criteria including clarity of message, memorability, presentation, and creativity.  The winners will receive awards of $500 (first place); $250 (second place); $100 (third place); and $50 (honorable mention).

“The League has been advocating for issues of the environment for decades. We couldn’t be happier to join with and amplify the voices of high school students. Collectively we can make a difference on climate change,” said LWVMA Executive Director Michelle Kweder.

“We are all inspired by the creative visions of the many high school students who shared their messages of climate action through this contest,” said Mary Ann Ashton, president of LWVMA. “The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts hopes these videos engage everyone throughout the Commonwealth to take action to lessen the impacts of climate change.”

An award ceremony to honor the winners will be held on April 11 at 3:45pm at the Massachusetts State House, Room 428. Please RSVP to LWVMA Administrative and Program Associate Taylor Grenga at tgrenga@lwvma.org.

The contest was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts Citizen Education Fund, which supports programs designed to encourage the active and informed participation of citizens in democracy and increase understanding of public policy issues. Additional support for this program was provided by the Salem Five Charitable Foundation.

Michelle Kweder Named LWVMA Executive Director

MARCH 11, 2019/Boston, MA – The Board of Directors of the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) is pleased to announce that Michelle Kweder has been named Executive Director. Kweder brings two decades of non-profit, public sector, academic and political experience, as well as a commitment and passion for the League’s non-partisan work to encourage the active and informed participation of citizens in their government through education and advocacy.

“We are very pleased to welcome Michelle and look forward to working with her,” said Mary Ann Ashton, LWVMA President. “Michelle’s wealth of experience with non-profit operations and missions will help us continue to build our impact throughout the Commonwealth.”

For the past 11 years Kweder has had her own consulting practice focused on comprehensive resource development services; partnerships and strategic alliances; board development; succession planning; strategic planning; and facilitation and training. Clients include numerous non-profit organizations in the Greater Boston area, including Boston Public Schools, Boston’s Citywide Dialogues on Race and Ethnicity, College Visions, Discover Roxbury, Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, Tufts University, and YW Boston. She has held positions at both Simmons University and Harvard Law School, and has previously worked in both the public and nonprofit sector. Kweder is a resident of Somerville.

Kweder commented, “Throughout my academic and professional career, I have worked for fair and just policies at the local, state, and federal levels. I am inspired by LWVMA’s commitment to building a diverse community of informed and active citizens in the Commonwealth. I look forward to continuing, amplifying, and growing LWVMA’s membership, visibility, and influence at all levels of government. The work of LWVMA is relevant and essential to democracy at this critical moment in our history.”

Kweder holds a B.A. in English with a concentration in Women’s Studies from Hamilton College, an MBA from Simmons College, and a Ph.D. in Business Administration, Organizations and Social Change from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

About the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts
Since its founding in 1920, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts has been a respected and trusted voice for citizen participation in our democracy. With 46 local Leagues throughout the state and over 3,000 members, LWVMA has been at the forefront of efforts to empower and educate Massachusetts voters and effect change on a wide variety of issues, including election laws and campaign finance, natural resources and the environment, women’s health, children’s issues, and public education. Membership in the League is open to men and women of all ages. For more information about the League of Women Voters, please visit www.lwvma.org.

Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition Applauds Governor Baker for Enacting the Country’s Most Comprehensive Civic Education Law

As a member of the Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition, LWVMA applauds the legislature and the governor on the passage and signing of the state’s new civic education law, S.2631. The Coalition’s statement is below:

Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition Applauds Governor Baker for Enacting the Country’s Most Comprehensive Civic Education Law

The State’s new civic education law will provide thousands of students across Massachusetts with a high quality civic education.

Boston, MA [Nov. 8, 2018]  – The Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition (MCLC) applauds Governor Charlie Baker for signing into law bill S.2631, giving Massachusetts one of the nation’s most innovative statewide civic education programs. The new law, which Gov. Baker signed today, provides for funding for the professional development of teachers to teach civics effectively, the opportunity for students to participate in civics-based projects, and establishes civic education as a priority for school districts across the state.

The Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition (MCLC) thanks the State Senate, the House of Representatives and the Governor for their leadership in this legislation. This will help ensure that students across the Commonwealth will have access to a civic education curriculum that teaches them the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, fundamental knowledge about government, such as the functions of each branch and the electoral process, as well as key 21st century skills such as media literacy.

We commend the Legislature and the Governor for giving teachers the support they need to implement and teach the curriculum and facilitate civics projects to prepare students for thoughtful and informed participation in civic life. Specifically, MCLC appreciates the commitment to securing robust funding to implement the bill, including the provision of funds for teacher professional development through the Mass Civics Trust Fund.

“With the enactment of this law, Massachusetts has leapt to the forefront of civics education, joining states such as Florida and Illinois to take an innovative — and necessary — step to ensure that every young person in the state is prepared and engaged in civic life,” iCivics Executive Director Louise Dubé said. “This is a critically important law, passed at a critically  important moment for our state and our country.”

Arielle Jennings, Generation Citizen’s Massachusetts Executive Director said, “Young people often have a hard time seeing the political process as relevant to them and are disengaged from it as a result. This law will help strengthen our democracy by educating a new generation of active citizens.”

The Massachusetts Civic Learning Coalition is a roundtable of twenty civics education organizations, research institutions, school districts, and stakeholders committed to improving the quality and implementation of K-12 civic education for students across the state. Members of the coalition include: The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation, Generation Citizen Massachusetts, iCivics, and other organizations committed to civic education reform.

For further information on MCLC, please visit www.macivicsforall.org.

Press Release: LWVMA to Co-Host Second Congressional District Debate Oct. 15

For Immediate Release:  Oct. 9, 2018/Boston, MA–U.S. Rep. James P. McGovern, D-Worcester, and Tracy Lyn Lovvorn, R-Grafton, will meet in a debate at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 15 at Mechanics Hall, 321 Main St., Worcester.

Admission is free and open to the public, with the debate being held in Washburn Hall, on the second floor of the historic meeting place.

Congressman McGovern, an 11-term incumbent, is facing his first challenge in a final election since 2010. Among his duties, he serves as the ranking Democrat on the House Subcommittee on Nutrition. Three years ago, he sponsored and pushed for an attempt to replace the then 14-year-old Authorization for Use of Military Force with a new authorization in the battle against ISIS. Ms. Lovvorn, the Republican primary winner, is founder and ceo of Evolution Physical Therapy, Grafton. She brought suit in a 2009 case in which a chain of nursing and rehabilitation services ultimately settled with federal authorities and eight states for $38 million over allegations of substandard Medicare and Medicaid nursing services.

The debate is being sponsored by the Telegram & Gazette, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce, the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts and also the LWV of the Worcester Area, the Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition, and Mechanics Hall.

Questions for the candidates, including questions submitted by residents of the Second Congressional District, will come from a three-member panel: Meryl Kessler, executive director, League of Women Voters of Massachusetts; Irene Hernandez, vice president, Central Region, Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition; and Tony Simollardes, editor of the editorial pages of the Telegram & Gazette, who also will act as moderator.

LWVMA Announces Winners of “Get In the Game and Vote!” High School Video Contest

May 14, 2018 / Boston, MA – The League of Women Voters of Massachusetts (LWVMA) has announced the winners of its “Get In the Game and Vote!” High School Video Contest, part of LWVMA’s election 2018 statewide voter engagement initiative.
 
The winners are:
First Place:  DJ Charles, Concord Academy (Get In the Game and Vote)
Second Place: Zichen Zhou, Skyeler Sandison, Leah Baker, Nick Qvarnstrom, Romell Brown, Eli Patrick, Nauset Regional High School (Change)
Third Place:  Ashley Murphy, Meghan Joyce, Katelyn McDevitt, Quincy High School, (Democracy)
 
Honorable Mention:

In addition to the individual prizes, West Roxbury Academy in Boston will receive the Catalyst Award, special recognition for a single school’s inspiring submissions to the contest. The following students from West Roxbury Academy will be recognized with this award: Odalys Abreu, Scath Bograd, Kamari Boseman, Kyle Bourget, Isaiah Brown, Miguel Cabrera, Idalys Calderon, Alex Demosthene, Winda Durand, Phaica Etiverne, Quavante Granberry, Gamailel Pena, and Katherine Peguero.

To help get out the vote for the 2018 Massachusetts elections, the League invited Massachusetts high school students to create 30-second public service announcements encouraging eligible voters to register and turn out at the polls.  LWVMA will widely distribute and publicize the winning videos and others from the contest as part of MOVE 2018, a statewide voter education and engagement initiative, beginning in late summer and leading up to the November election.

Over 250 students statewide participated in the contest. The Judging Committee–composed of LWVMA members, as well as outside judges Hilary Allard (The Castle Group), Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg (CIRCLE, Tufts University), and Nicole Porter (DigitalMass)–selected the winning submissions based on their clear and compelling messages, memorable content and delivery, and creativity.
 
The winners will receive awards of $500 (first place); $250 (second place); $100 (third place); and $50 (honorable mention). West Roxbury Academy will receive a prize of $250 for the Catalyst Award.  An award ceremony at the Massachusetts State House will be scheduled for June.
 
“The terrific videos we received demonstrate, yet again, that young people are not spectators to our democracy, but are leading the way for all of us” said LWVMA Executive Director Meryl Kessler.
 
“We are proud not only of the winners but of all the young people who stepped up to share their important messages through this contest,” said Mary Ann Ashton, president of LWVMA.
 
The contest was sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts Citizen Education Fund, which supports programs designed to encourage the active and informed participation of citizens in democracy and increase understanding of public policy issues.
 
Support for this program was provided by the Salem Five Charitable Foundation and the Lincoln & Therese Filene Foundation.