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What the LWV State Convention Meant to Me

Reflections of Our Delegates

The League of Women Voters of California held its 2023 state-wide convention in May. Oakland, as one of the largest Leagues in the State, had 8 Delegates, a mix of new and old members. Attendees participated in three days of workshops and caucuses to grow and develop our local Leagues. Here are some of their learnings and impressions:

  • The Social Justice workshop had a formerly incarcerated presenter who made a strong impact with a clip from the news of himself at 11 years talking about his interest in cooking and what his goals were when he grew up. Next was a mugshot when he was 19 and on his way to prison with a 65 year sentence. He talked about toxic masculinity and the movie “The Feminist in Cell Block Y” that was filmed at Soledad prison when he was there. He has worked on GOTV campaigns but his focus is reaching youth through the non-profit “Success Stories”. Louise Anderson

  • I found the workshops and the caucuses very exciting. I attended the “Seizing the Narrative Around Homelessness and Affordable Housing in California” workshop and the “Social Justice Success: Innovative Approaches” workshop. The energy in the rooms was electric. It was very exciting to be in the company of committed, engaged people, addressing the big issues confronting our society today. I was particularly excited by the Social Justice workshop led by Chris Johnson from Success Stories, in which he led a very frank discussion of the hardships faced by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people. When I got back to my home, I went on their website, watched their documentary and otherwise educated myself about their program. Elisabeth Forbes

  • The Caucus on Health Care (the new LWV position and the California Commission Report) was very revealing, looking at the latest on single payer health care. Dr. Henry Abrons from the LWVC Healthcare Interest group presented info from The Healthy California for All Commission report: about the development of a plan for “advancing progress toward achieving a health care delivery system for California that provides coverage and access through a breakthrough unified financing system, including, but not limited to a single payer financing system.” Kathleen Cha

  • I really appreciated the presentation that the County Clerk from Shasta County made. She struck me as a very down-to-earth person that was accessible to her community. Her matter-of-fact description of all that has transpired in the county deciding it would give up voting electronically using Dominion Voting machines to vote by hand made for a grand story--only if you didn’t have to live through the consequences. Worse, it turns out –that the decision will also be an expensive one—dollar-wise. Viola Gonzales

  • The immigration workshop was very informative. I learned that the League has had an immigration position since 2008 and that was reaffirmed in 2022. There are LWVC and LWVUS google groups and advocacy work is being done at the California state level and at national. The League’s priority is “Making Democracy Work” with a focus on voting and elections, but since 2015 LWVC has supported 12 bills in the CA Senate and Assembly—50% concerning criminal justice and law enforcement, fair treatment for immigrants, non-cooperation with ICE and the other 50% concerning equal access to social services, medical care, and food. Currently, LWVC is supporting two identical pending “Food for All” bills—SB 245 and AB311, which would make government food assistance available to any needs qualified person, regardless of immigration status. Both bills will be considered in the Assembly and Senate without amendments and seem to have a good chance of passing. Phyllis White-Ayanruoh

  • I attended the "It's Transparent" workshop. This workshop was an open discussion of how the League works to ensure open government and how new ways of conducting meetings due to COVID will affect changes to the Brown Act, which was enacted to guarantee the public's right to attend and participate in meetings of the local legislature. The League continues to be the watchdog to help ensure that democracy stands and gives equal access to all. Ernestine Nettles

  • Both the Youth & GOTV Voter Engagement panels provided me with effective tools to engage voters in my sphere of influence. We heard the State authorized days that will possibly allow us to get into classes: Law Day, May 1 & Constitution Day, Sept 17. Check with the State Office of Education on their website for more student focused info. Use the Alameda League’s Verify It Game as a tool to attract more students/teachers & parents. Dondria Morgan

  • Last but not least, the Drag for Democracy gala hosted by LWVC and LWV San Francisco was a delightfully raucous fun event to honor and celebrate people working at the forefront of LGBTQ+ equity and democracy with Senator Scott Wiener receiving the Advancing Access Award, Councilmember Carolyn Wysinger receiving the Momentum and Impact Award, Matt Foreman the Democracy and Equity Legacy Award, and Intuit the Corporate Equity Award. Kathleen Cha


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