“March Forth” by Kathy Hockley
It was March 4th, the one date when said aloud is a two-word call to action. On that beautiful, sunny day, many of us decided to remove the February gray from our cars at the car wash. The car ahead of me had a license plate holder that caught my eye – League of Women Voters.
I had been interested in this organization for some time, but never ventured beyond curiosity. When I found the driver in the waiting room, I told her that I had noticed her license plate holder and was interested in the League.
It was the beginning of a wonderful conversation with Myrna Stringer. She graciously answered my questions. She mentioned that she was 91 and had been a member for many years. Myrna told me that the League was having its monthly meeting a few days later. I decided on the spot to attend. As we parted, I watched her walk to her clean car and knew something very special had just happened.
I attended the meeting, joined the League, and have been a member for a year and a half. I will always be grateful for my “Myrna moment.” In this electronic age of screen gazing, I wonder how many moments such as this are missed. Certainly websites and electronic communications are useful, but it is hard to beat serendipitous human contact.
So, thank you, Myrna for being at the right place at the right time. I think of you often as I “march forth” into League experiences. You are, and will always be, an inspiration to me.
The League of Women Voters offered Jodie Dietz “a great way to keep apprised of what’s going on in the community.” She joined the LWV of Johnson County with the idea of being “a fly on the wall.” However Janis McMillen soon convinced her to chair the Voter Services committee which she served for several years. She notes, “It was great meeting people, including the candidates for office, and was especially fun during 2008 election.”
Jodie served as chair of the Observer Corps, which she says is “one of the most valuable areas of interest for the League. It is a way of connecting all members with the whole community. The Observer Corps provides two important services: (1) glean information about what is going on in the community and (2) the visibility of our LWV member present lets the board members know that the League is watching them. There is opportunity for those who want to participate in the Observer Corps as we have a few openings available.”
Eileen Manza believes it’s important to be involved wherever you may be, so she dressed as a suffragette and participated in the Downtown Overland Park parade. She volunteers on the Voter Services Committee and recognizes the significance of continuing to register voters as part of our democracy.
“I like what’s happening at the League,” said Eileen. “I like the spirit, the informative programs, the camaraderie, the cooperation. I am learning so much. The League is performing a real service to citizens to promote further understanding of issues important to our community and state, and the actual activity of voting.”
Royceann Mather discovered that the “League is always a presence for good — putting constant pressure for good in government which we need. Contributing your effort goes a long way. Our many members volunteer their time and talents, so we’re getting a lot of ‘bang for our bucks.’ When we combine our efforts in the League, we have a stronger voice.”
As an active member of LWVJoCo, Royceann affirms, “It’s a wonderful organization, and more young people are joining the League. Our members are well educated and take strong advocacy roles. They are out there doing things. The League is my most esteemed organization as an agent for good.”
Sandra Sanchez believes, “The League does a lot of good work giving people the opportunity to register to vote. I’d like to expand our efforts. I’d like to see us get more proactive, if possible, to be able to go into the schools and talk to the young people about the importance of voting — a constitutional right. Get those eligible or those turning 18 registered to vote ahead of time.”
“Our monthly programs are a good way to educate people, but let’s do a better job of branding ourselves and reaching a broader audience. Our ‘give a ways,’ such as the bookmarks, help the public know where to go to learn more about the current issues and voter registration. I want people to see our logo and identify our name, but also see us in action at as many community events as possible. Let’s get involved. Tell people to participate in election campaigns and vote!”
Susan Horst joined the League of Women Voters because she likes its nonpartisan approach and the camaraderie. She says,” I want to do things for my community, for women and children. Everyone is turned off by the incivility of politics. How are we going to get good people in office?”
“Belonging to the League has been continuing education for me,” said Susan. “I have great respect for the LWV. We need to keep our nonpartisan balance on issues and get on board with technology. Let’s reach out to the younger generation to get involved and be active.”
Christine is currently chair of LWVJoCo’s Naturalization Committee. “This has become a real passion for me ̶ especially now with the high issue of immigration,” said Christine. “I like the League’s involvement in educating people about policies and issues, helping register voters and getting voters to the polls. I see our League on the right track and becoming more visible in the community.”