DEI Joins Nonpartisanship as LWV Tenet
For 100 years, the hallmark of the League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) was its commitment to nonpartisanship. In LWVUS’ bylaws, after the organization’s name and purpose, the sole policy listed was: “The League shall not support or oppose any political party or any candidate.”
In June 2020, at the League of Women Voters national convention, delegates voted to amend our bylaws to codify our commitment to DEI throughout the organization. The following policy was added: “The League is fully committed to ensure compliance - in principle and in practice - with LWVUS' Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy.”
For the next 100 years and beyond, our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) will sit alongside nonpartisanship as a foundational value of our organization.
Article 1 of our bylaws states that “LWVJoCo is an integral part of the League of Women Voters of the United States.” Our bylaws may not conflict with the national bylaws. A change in Articles 1, II or III of LWVUS’ bylaws does not require any action or vote by our local League. As emphasized in LWVUS’ November 2020 webinar, such bylaw changes automatically replace previous text. You can see the DEI policy reflected in LWVJoCo’s updated bylaws on our website.
From its beginning, the League was nonpartisan in principle and practice. That has not been the case with diversity, equity and inclusion. Changing bylaws does not in any way alleviate the pain and suffering caused by decades of discrimination and systemic racism perpetuated by our country and organizations like ours. Instead, it is a small but important step in LWVJoCo’s mission to imbed DEI in our culture.
Amber Stenger and Ellen Miller, Co-Presidents