Whew. The people elected to office in November 2020 have now taken their places in government. This has been a very difficult and divisive election cycle. But we've made it through and are about to start on a new federal administration, divided state government in Minnesota and some new faces in our city and county offices.
The value of the work done by LWV
Following is from a message that LWV Minneapolis sent out to their members on Inauguration Day; we at ABC will borrow their stirring words... great reflections on the value of League and the work that we do!
"One of the super powers of the League of Women Voters is that we are non-partisan AND we stand for truth, justice and fairness. We are proud to be a members of League. During the 2020 election we used our voices and volunteered time to help keep the election fair and safe and to make sure every vote was counted and that every voter trusted that their vote mattered. We joined our fellow League members in Minneapolis, in Minnesota and across the Nation to ensure that our Democracy, which is more fragile than we ever imagined, survived and will thrive as we move forward. Grassroots activism is a powerful force that makes significant change happen. Imbedded in LWV's mission is the commitment to educate, advocate and empower. Working together we will achieve great things."
Challenges and truth-telling
This IS a good time to pat ourselves on the back as Leaguer's for our work on this election, but there are still many troubling things that our democracy is facing. In the weeks after the election, we saw our President become increasingly strident in his claims that the election was 'rigged'. This message was echoed by many elected officials, lending credence to the claims and eventually fomenting the violence we saw at our nation's Capitol on January 6. Some of these echoes came from Minnesota, despite the fact that our election here was closely scrutinized at every step and the results were certified by local and state election boards.
On January 14, LWV Minnesota, through action of the state Board, sent a letter to Minnesota legislative leaders that specifically called on the legislative leaders to:
LWV ABC Letter to the Editor:
"For more than 100 years, the League of Women Voters has diligently promoted good governance and fair voting. The need for our diligence and our voice has never been greater.
We of the LWV of Anoka, Blaine, Coon Rapids Area call on our Legislative leaders to require that all MN State Representatives and Senators accept the outcome of the 2020 elections and fulfill their oath to the US and MN constitutions. We stand with one voice on the need to call for truth and accountability around our elections.
LWV is a nonpartisan, good government organization. Being nonpartisan means we don’t support any specific party or candidate. Equally, it means we don’t abandon our positions or our principles of good government for any party.
We will continue to work with all legislators to advance free and fair elections. And we will continue to hold accountable all legislators, regardless of party, who undermine the democracy for which we stand.
Signed, Gretchen Sabel, President, LWV ABC"
*Minutes from the special Board meeting can be reviewed on the LWV ABC members-only pages, under Board Agendas in the Jan 25 agenda on page 15."
Anti-racism is the act of opposing racism/white supremacy in all forms - in our society, other people, and ourselves. It is about identifying the root causes of racism and putting an end to them. A critical part of anti-racism is self-education - educating yourself without placing the burden of your education on Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC). In that spirit, we are asking you to educate yourself and share resources you found helpful or insightful to help others continue their antiracism self-education.
In January 2021, Twin Cities PBS launched Racism Unveiled, a multimedia, multiplatform storytelling project which will examine the impact of systemic racism on Black, Indigenous and communities of color in Minnesota, how racial inequities came to be, how they hold us back and what we can do about them. The two year project is “a platform for people of color to share the honest truth about their experiences in this state and to find a way forward together.”'
Some Racism Unveiled recommendations:
Explore a Racial Awakening in a Small Minnesota Town article and short video
Tethered: How Race and Policing Binds Minneapolis to Louisville article
Jim Crow of the North - 1 hour documentary on redlining in Minnesota
A blog to follow with good anti-racism resources is Real Talk: WOC and Allies.
Real Talk: WOC & Allies is the voices of women of color (WOC) and allies working against racism and oppression. Great blog to learn more about being antiracist.
Some Real Talk: WOC & Allies recommendations:
The Perils of “People of Color” by E. Tammy Kim
For Black Women in Media, a “Dream Job” Is a Myth by Kathleen Newman-Bremang
White Millennials Are Products of a Failed Lesson in Colorblindness by Mychal Denzel Smith
Submit your recommendations for articles, blogs, video, podcasts, etc. to email@example.com
Write: RECOMMENDATION in caps in the subject line
On January 11, the ABC League of Women Voters will discuss the impact of distance learning and the pandemic on student mental health, academic progress, opportunities and challenges. We will hear from a school psychologist, a parent of children with disabilities, a music teacher and a high school student. Each person will discuss the impact of distance learning and social isolation from their experiences. We will talk about the impacts as we know then today, but recognize that there will be more that we will learn about how the needs of our students and staff evolve as a result of this experience.
6:00 Zoom meeting room opens (link in Jan '21 newsletter, and will be sent in email to all members on Jan 9)
6:00 to 6:30–Getting connected and visiting
6:30-Announcements and Program
This study update was authorized in 2019 at the LWVMN Convention. The study’s purpose is to update the LWV MN Firearms study from 1990. The study will be a consensus-type study to update the 1990 position on firearms, to come out around September 2021. (What is a position or a study? Review this page on the LWV website.)
Several positions recommended in the 1990 study have not been implemented, so the study committee thought it would be a good idea to learn the views of our local police and sheriffs. Local Leagues like LWV ABC are asked to interview their local police chiefs and sheriffs in the month of January, reporting data to the study committee. The interviews will provide the committee a broad view of the possible impacts of proposed firearms legislation.
The 'top cops' who participate in the interviews give the study committee great insight on the pros and cons of firearms safety issues. Through this work, League is engaging in our communities and through police interviews are learning what’s going on in their community, and whether firearms are an issue or not.
The help being requested is for members throughout our service area to contact the police chief or sheriff who serves their city, interview them using the 20 questions provided by the study committee, and then relay written notes from the discussion to the study committee. The total project would be 1-1.5 hour commitment; scripts are provided for making initial contact and setting up the interview as well as the twenty questions for the interview. It would be wonderful if we had two volunteers from each of our jurisdictions - see the list of cities below.
If this is a topic that really interests you, the study committee welcomes additional committee members. The study committee is headed by Marti Micks of LWV Golden Valley, an articulate and organized leader. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll help you make the connections.
In the LWV ABC service area, we have police departments in Anoka, Blaine, Champlin, Columbia Heights, Coon Rapids, Fridley, Spring Lake Park and Ramsey. The Anoka County Sheriff serves the rest of the communities in which our members live. We have members in all these except Spring Lake Park.
Ideally we will have a team of two interviewers for each police department. LWV ABC will provide a Zoom meeting space and or conference call capabilities for the meeting. Written results from the interview are to be sent to the Study Committee by Jan 31.
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