What We Believe: View LWVGO’s Program

The League of Women Voters has a national-level program (list of position statements) and so does the state-level organization that all of LWVGO’s members are automatically a part of, the League of Women Voters of Nebraska.

For the first time, the League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha has published its own, local-level program, available on our website at omahalwv.org/programs-position-statements.

The League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha follows the national- and state-level policy positions, plus those outlined in the LWVGO program.

 

Facing Hard Truths About the League of Women Voters’ Origins

by Chris Carson, LWVUS president & Virginia Kase, LWVUS CEO

Last week, Brent Staples of the New York Times published an op-ed titled, How the Suffrage Movement Betrayed Black Women. The League of Women Voters was not mentioned in the piece, but we should have been.

The League was founded in 1920—just months before the ratification of the 19th Amendment—by American suffragist Carrie Chapman Catt. Catt was a complicated character, a political operative, and by modern standards, yes, racist. While fighting for the 19th Amendment and lobbying Southern senators, she famously claimed, “White supremacy will be strengthened, not weakened, by women’s suffrage.”

These remarks are sometimes brushed over as a sign of the times or a political strategy. But actions speak louder than words, and our organization was not welcoming to women of color through most of our existence.

Even during the Civil Rights movement, the League was not as present as we should have been. While activists risked life and limb to register black voters in the South, the League’s work and our leaders were late in joining to help protect all voters at the polls. It wasn’t until 1966 that we reached our first position to combat discrimination. Still, our focus on social policy was from afar—not on the front lines.

Today, we acknowledge this shortcoming and that we have more work to do.

The League of Women Voters serves millions of voters in underrepresented communities across America every year, but as an organization, our membership does not always reflect the communities we serve. As we approach our 100th anniversary, we are not only striving for better, we will do better.

We are having tough conversations about race in this country—and making sure that as an organization we confront our place in history. African Americans were shut out of the vision of the League. As we continue to grow our movement, we acknowledge our privilege and must use our power to raise the voices of those who haven’t always had a seat at the table.

We have embraced a new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion policy. We know policy alone does not solve a problem. The League is committed to living our values and prioritizing inclusion.

We hope that as an organization we offer and nurture a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment that is welcoming to all who are drawn to our mission and wish to make a positive impact.

Today, we invite all people, regardless of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, or race, to join us as we commit to righting the wrongs of our past and building a stronger, more inclusive democracy.

August Voter Registration Events: Join Us!

Join us — and bring a friend! — at any of our upcoming voter registration events for help getting registered as a voter and/or to find out more about voting and the League of Women Voters. LWVGO’s GOTV teams will be registering voters at the following events:

  • 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 17 at MAHA (Aksarben)
  • 12 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18 at MAHA (Aksarben)
  • 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 23 at NE Park Service (naturalization ceremony welcoming new citizens)
  • 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27 at Nite Owl, 3902 Farnam (Omaha World-Herald Senate debate watch party)

You can see all of our upcoming events on our shared LWVGO calendar, available on our homepage and embedded below. For more information about GOTV/voter-registration efforts, contact gotv@omahalwv.org.

Become a Voter Registrar at Training Session Aug. 27

The Douglas County Election Commission is hosting a voter registration training session at 12 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27 at the Election Commission office, 225 North 115th Street.

This short training is required to become a Deputy Registrar and to work on voter registration for LWVGO and other nonpartisan groups.

Deputy Registrar certification lasts three years, so if you were last trained about three years ago or more, consider joining this training session.

You can pre-register for the training at votedouglascounty.com/deputy_registrars.aspx or you can just show up.

Talking About the Death Penalty and Restorative Justice with Marylyn Felion

In this episode of Go Vote, Omaha, Geri Simon talks with Marylyn Felion about her experience as Robert E. Williams’ spiritual adviser. Robert was executed in Nebraska’s electric chair in December 1997.

Nebraska’s state legislature voted to repeal the death penalty in 2015. The Unicameral overrode Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto, but a ballot initiative to reinstate the death penalty succeeded in 2016.

Nebraska’s death penalty has been in the news again following the Pope’s strong words against the morality of the practice, and as Nebraska is now scheduled to execute Carey Dean Moore on Aug. 14. Moore’s execution will be the first in the nation to use a new drug protocol.

Marylyn Felion has again been holding vigils against Gov. Ricketts’ pro-death-penalty policy and practice. This episode of Go Vote, Omaha was recorded in 2016.

Go Vote Omaha! is our locally produced informational television program. Watch Go Vote Omaha at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday nights on Cox channel 22 or CenturyLink channel 89 or anytime on YouTube.

Become a Trained Voter Registrar at Training Session Aug. 8

The Douglas County Election Commission is hosting a voter registration training session at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8 at the Millard Public Library, 13214 Westwood Lane. This short training is required to become a Deputy Registrar and to work on voter registration for LWVGO and other nonpartisan groups.

Deputy Registrar certification lasts three years, so if you were last trained about three years ago or more, consider joining this training session.

You can pre-register for the training at votedouglascounty.com/deputy_registrars.aspx or you can just show up.

Another training will be scheduled later in August at the election commission office.

Evening Book Club Launches Aug. 21

LWVGO is a launching a new book club that will meet in the evening. The book club will have its first meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 21 at Spirit World, 6680 Center St.
Our first meeting will be a “planning” meeting for us to discuss what book we want to read together, where we should hold future meetings, and when we should meet.
The following books have been recommended. Please review and see which you’d be most interested in or bring additional suggestions:
  • Give Us the Ballot – Ari Berman
  • Secrets We Keep: Three Women of Trinidad – Krystal A Sital
  • Loaded – Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
  • Visionary Women – Andrea Barnet
  • It’s Up to the Women – Eleanor Roosevelt
  • The Women’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote – Elaine Weiss

Contact us with any questions.

Insuring the Good Life: Putting Medicaid Expansion on the Ballot. Join Us at Dine & Discuss August 27

Join us at our next Dine & Discuss event, happening from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, August 27 at Valentino’s at 108th & L streets.

We’ll be discussing the effort to allow voters to expand Medicaid access with James A. Goddard, Director, Economic Justice & Health Care Access Programs with Nebraska Appleseed.

If you’d like to eat, the buffet is $14.14. The presentation will begin at 5:30. RSVPs not required, but you can send questions to web@omahalwv.org or RSVP on Facebook.

Please be aware that the League of Women Voters never supports or opposes political parties or candidates. Advocacy on behalf of parties or candidates is not allowed at our meetings as we discuss the issues. That said, LWVGO does support the Insure the Good Life ballot initiative and the expansion of Medicaid as part of the national League of Women Voters’ position on supporting the Affordable Care Act.

Let’s Make Fundraising FUN: Join Us for a Brainstorming Meeting Aug. 14

Please join us for our next brainstorming of ideas to raise money for the LWVGO! We’ll be meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tues., Aug. 14 at the League office, 115 S. 49th Ave.

LWVGO is busier than ever with the upcoming election and we need to raise money to make democracy work!

For questions, contact Mary Ann Griffith at grifma@msn.com. Optional RSVP via Facebook.