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Category: Front Page News

How Women Become Political Video

Gloria Steinem at How Women Become Political Boston Globe photo
Gloria Steinem at How Women Become Political
Boston Globe photo

If you were not able to attend, you can watch a video presentation by clicking here.

Many League members were in attendance at “How Women Become Political” on October 7, and LWVMA was an organizational partner of the event, but many of you were not able to attend because it sold out early.

The featured speakers included progressive activists Gloria Steinem and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. They were joined by Swanee Hunt and Kerry Healey, who work together on Political Parity, a nonpartisan effort to unite leaders from both political parties to advance women’s high-level representation nationally. The highlight was their panel discussion, moderated by Callie Crossley, Enjoy!


LWVMA Testifies at Final Gun Law Hearing

The Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security held the last of five public hearing to take testimony from people across the state about the need for strengthened gun laws in Massachusetts Friday, Sept. 13, at the State House.

LWVMA focused its testimony at this hearing on guns and domestic violence.  Anne Borg, co-president, spoke of the League’s long-standing support of domestic violence prevention programs and the danger guns pose to victims.  She was joined by Marilyn Ellsworth of the Sudbury League, a volunteer victim’s advocate, who told the story of a Concord woman whose abuser still had his guns and was still a gun dealer, despite seven restraining orders.

Testifying with them were representatives of Jane Doe, Inc., the victims’ advocacy organization, and Emerge, an abuser education program.

The committee also heard powerful testimony from the parents of two of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims and from Gov. Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas Menino, all in support of stronger gun laws, drawing applause from an auditorium packed with supporters of gun control legislation.

The joint committee held four other hearings around the state, and LWV members testified at all of them. The hearings drew large crowds from all sides of the gun safety issue. These hearings will inform the Committee’s work in crafting a gun safety bill for consideration by the full House and Senate, with floor debate likely later this fall.

LWVMA has joined the Mass Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, which coordinated testimony at the hearings.  LWV has very strong positions on gun control at both the state and national level, though the state League has not yet taken a position on any of the specific bills that have been introduced since the joint committee will most likely craft a new bill for the legislature’s consideration.

Additional restrictions likely to be considered for a revised Massachusetts gun safety law and which are covered by existing League positions are:

  • Universal background checks for all gun purchases, including private sales, no exceptions.
  • Standardized licensing procedures with enforcement of existing laws.
  • Prohibition of high-capacity magazines and all assault weapons.


Mayors Against Illegal Guns “No More Names” Rally

News article from July 8 Worcester hearing with League Legislative Specialist Terry Yoffie pictured in red.

News article from August 2 Springfield hearing attended by League members from Sudbury, Amherst, and Northampton as well as the state League.

League Night at Fenway Park

On August 28, 130 League members and guests attended the first “League Night at Fenway Park.” The League was recognized before the game, with Natalie Kassabian representing LWVMA on the field with Wally, the Green Monster. We also had a table near Gate A where Sharyn Roberts led the voter registration effort. During the 5th inning, a message from the League was displayed on the outfield message board saying “Happy Women’s Equality Day from the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts”. Thanks to everyone who came to see the Sox beat the Orioles (4-3).

LWVMA Meets Delegation from Vietnam

LWVMA officers met with seven members of the Vietnam National Assembly who were touring the United States under the auspices of the U.S. State Department. The U.S. visit was designed to acquaint the Vietnamese with Congress and with our political system, and we were asked to talk about how a non-government organization works to achieve its legislative goals, both individually and in coalition with other such organizations.

Marilyn Peterson and Anne Borg, co-presidents, Karen Price and Nancy Brumback, vice presidents, and Natalie Kassabian, program and administrative coordinator, discussed the League’s history and mission, our programs at the local and state levels, and our efforts to lobby the legislature on such topics as election law reform, gun control, and environmental issues.

Our visitors included the seven members of the National Assembly—one woman and six men, two interpreters and guides from the State Department and WorldBoston, a local council which first invited us to participate in such foreign exchange visits last year.

We met in a conference room at the State House, thanks to the effort of Sen. Michael Barrett’s staff, and Sen. Barrett also spoke to the group about the state legislative system and the work that the League does.

Questions from the delegates indicated their interest in the League. They asked whether we had any men as members and how many, where our funding comes from, how we prepare information for the legislature, and what a legislative hearing is like. They were curious who the League would support in an election between a woman who didn’t support our programs and a man who did, and we hope we made it clear that the League never supports individual candidates. And as one noted, “If you could get all the women to join you, you could take over. No one can stop all the wives and mothers.”

June 2013 Awards to Three Local Leagues

Congratulations to the three Leagues to be awarded citizen education grants under the fourth funding cycle of the new program of the education fund. These three Leagues submitted grant applications, and were recommended for funding by the grant review committee. The deadline for the next funding cycle is October 3, 2013. The total amount dispersed in this cycle for the three grants was $671.

For information on the grant program click here.

The grant program offers funds to help Leagues carry out events and projects in the areas of citizen education and voter service. Generous contributions to the Lotte E. Scharfman Education Fund have made this successful grant program possible. Please consider donating to the fund. Donations can be made through the website,, and a big thank you to those of you who have donated in the past, making this grant program possible.

The June grant recipients are:

LWV Andover/North Andover: Promoting Town Meeting ($250)

LWV Andover/North Andover plans to promote Town Meeting among Andover and North Andover residents by

1)      Printing reusable yard signs promoting Town Meeting. The signs will be distributed to League members for display
2)      Producing two pamphlets (one for each town) that includes

  • History of Andover/North Andover Town Meetings
  • Process and procedures
  • Terminology related to Town Meeting
  • Where to go for more information

Pamphlets will be available to distribute to new residents via realtors, library, town offices, autumn civic events, etc. for citizen education well in advance of spring Town Meeting.

This request will fund a portion of the total project cost.

LWV Waltham: Display for Waltham Visions ($250)

One of the tasks in the Waltham Visions project is to find out what the people of Waltham want their City to look like in the future.  LWV Waltham has a table that they take to local events which provides League membership and Voter Registration information, but to increase visibility, they have built a display.

The display has three sections.  The central section is a large aerial photo of Waltham.  People are invited to mark their homes on the photo.  The right-hand section has pictures of Waltham old and new, to show people how the city has evolved.  The left-hand section is for people to place cards on which they have written what they like and what they would like to see improved about Waltham.  LWV Waltham offers to send the cards to their city councilors.

The grants funds would be used to pay for materials to build the display, a banner to identify the League of Women Voters to go with the display, and a foam board mounted aerial photo of Waltham.

This request will fund a portion of the total project cost.

LWV Acton Area: Town Meeting How To ($171)

“Town Meeting How To” will be distributed at the upcoming special town meeting on June 3, 2013.  It is a vertical half sheet card that tells town meeting participants the steps to speak, move the previous question, make an amendment, make a point of order, and the commonly used motions.  League members will distribute the cards to town meeting participants after they have checked in but before entering the auditorium.

The goal is to familiarize more people with the mechanics of town meeting so they will be more likely to participate with confidence at the meeting. The grant would fund the printing of 1,000 cards. The card may be viewed here.

This request will fund the entire cost of the project.