January 2020 Scharfman Grants Awarded to Seven Local Leagues

Seven local Leagues received Lotte E. Scharfman Citizen Education grants in January 2020:

LWV Arlington: LWV Arlington (LWVA) co-sponsors an annual Candidates’ Night with a Town of Arlington Committee called Envision Arlington. LWVA is responsible for contacting and inviting candidates to attend the event where they present their ideas and respond to questions from attendees. The event, held in Arlington Town Hall, covers local positions such as Select Board, School Committee, Housing Authority, Town Clerk, etc. LWVA prepares the Voter’s Guide for Candidates’ Night, a printed pamphlet that contains a picture, brief biography and response to questions posed by LWVA for each candidate. LWVA is responsible for the cost of printing about 200 copies of the Voter’s Guide, which is available as a handout at Candidates’ Night, and is also distributed to town libraries. LWVA also pays for the cost of sending a postcard to all Town Meeting candidates inviting them to Candidates’ Night, and for printing tent-style name tags placed on tables in front of candidates at the event.

LWV Concord-Carlisle:  The LWV Concord-Carlisle will print and distribute “Yellow Rose Bookmarks.” Yellow Rose Bookmarks are a collectable series of bookmarks with the face, words and short bio of women in the US who have made a difference. The first series of Yellow Rose bookmarks were funded by a Scharfman Grant and highlighted four early era influential women from Massachusetts who promoted woman suffrage; Abigail Adams, Lucretia Mott, Abigail Alcott and Lucy Stone. The proposed second series commemorates the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment and the 100th anniversary of the League of Women Voters and consists of four women who were prominent in the fight for a woman’s right to vote; Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, as well as Maud Wood Park and Carrie Chapman Catt, both of whom were also influential in starting the League in 1920. A proposed third series of bookmarks commemorate women of color who fought for woman suffrage in the face of racism and bigotry in the US at large but also within the woman suffrage movement; Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Mary Church Terrell, and Ida B. Wells. A proposed fourth series commemorates four young suffragists who pushed the suffrage movement beyond the comfort zone of its revered leaders into a new era; Alice Paul, Lucy Burns, Inez Milholland, and Chrystal Eastman. A proposed fifth series of bookmarks commemorate men who helped make woman suffrage possible through their words and actions; Frederick Douglass, Henry Blackwell, W.E.B. du Bois, Harry T. Burns.

LWV Franklin County:  LWV Franklin County hosted a “Legislative Coffee” with state legislators Representative Natalie Blais, Senator Jo Comerford, and Representative Paul Mark on Saturday, November 16, from 10:00am to 12:00pm. Senator Adam Hinds was also scheduled to attend, but had to cancel at the last minute. The event was held at Element Brewing Company on 16 Bridge Street in Millers Falls. Our event was meant to give constituents the opportunity to share their concerns and stay informed on the issues by providing them direct access to their state lawmakers. Judging by our excellent turnout and enthusiastic feedback from the attendees, that goal was met. This event was handicapped accessible, free and open to the public, with complimentary refreshments provided by League members.

LWV Hamilton Wenham:  Celebrating its fifth year in 2020, the LWVHW Civics Bee is a community-wide, collaborative and friendly trivia competition based on civics-related topics. This year’s event will have a special focus on voting rights to honor the milestone 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment and to acknowledge and educate on the work that remains in order to expand and protect access to the ballot. Teams of four (requiring at least one student and one adult to foster cross-generational community) answer questions on founding documents like the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, institutions, Supreme Court decisions, and local, state, and federal government. Competition is divided into rounds and prizes are awarded. Spectators and students who are not playing on teams can participate with a hard-copy of the quiz and have a chance at trivia prizes. 8th graders through senior citizens participate in the event.

LWV Waltham: The League of Women Voters of Waltham is launching a series of programs entitled “Know Your City” in 2020. The inspiration for this is a brochure published by the LWV Waltham in 2003 entitled “The Inside Workings of Waltham or What Makes the Watch City Tick.” The objective of the program is to engage the residents of the city with public programs highlighting various parts of the City Governmental Organization. Waltham has a number of departments and Boards and Committees whose decisions affect the daily lives of its residents. The goal is to provide insight into their functions and their impact on the city, as well as to empower the residents to interact with city officials. The first program is a public reception for elected officials before the first City Council meeting of the year on Monday, January 13th, 2020. The Scharfman Grant will provide monies for promotion, marketing and advertising, especially on social media. LWV Waltham will also create an exhibit at the Waltham Public Library for the month of September, which will highlight the“Know Your City” programs as well as the League’s Centennial. Part of the funds will be used for professional signage for the display.

LWV Northampton: The LWV Northampton will host a public event at the Florence Civic Center on May 3, 2020 featuring a talk by Dr. Susan Ware. Dr. Susan Ware is a women’s history scholar, teacher and author of many books, including the recent “Why They Marched: Untold Stories of the Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote” (Harvard University). The celebrated feminist historian will give a talk on the women who worked tirelessly in communities across the nation, out of the spotlight, protesting, petitioning and insisting on their right to full citizenship. Dr. Ware will also respond to questions from the audience. Refreshments will be served. Dr. Susan Ware’s appearance will be widely publicized in local media, including newspapers and radio, at the many colleges and universities in the area, by posters and notifications in shop windows and on various community bulletin boards.

LWV Worcester Area: The League of Women Voters of the Worcester Area (LWVWA) will hold monthly educational forums addressing a variety of topics relevant to civic engagement. Programs will be held at the First Baptist Church, 111 Park Avenue, Worcester, MA, 01609, from 5:30pm to 7pm and will be open to the public, free of charge. Programs are held on the last Wednesday of the month.