Life can often threw us curveballs. Right when we are settling down into a situation and starting to get comfortable, opportunity comes knocking at the door. And, we are faced with the question, will we stay in our comfort zone or delve into the unknown world of possibilities? I recently chose to pursue the world of possibilities and excitedly accepted the position of executive director of the League of Women Voters.
I was drawn to join the League because of its noted impact on American history and politics coupled with my desire to continue to serve and support mission-focused organizations that work on issues about which I am passionate. I wanted an organizational home committed to principles that are important to me – inclusion and empowerment. And, I wanted to help protect the fundamental right to vote that my foremothers and forefathers made so many sacrifices to attain. I’m excited to help continue the League’s fight to protect the right to vote, most notably our need to restore the Voting Rights Act which became law 50 years ago and ensured that every American citizen, regardless of race, ethnicity or language, had equal access to the right to vote.
Since starting just over three weeks ago and right before National Voter Registration Day, I have become more intimately familiar with the League’s work, and as a result, my interest in and passion for the organization has grown. My closet activist from my college days has been reignited as I have come to understand better what is at stake in this next election cycle and how League supporters are integral to helping voters have a say on the issues that matter most to them.
With Election Day 2015 right around the corner, we’re out there making sure voters can get their elections questions answered, including through online resources like VOTE411.org. From registering new voters, to hosting candidate and issue debates and forums, publishing candidate guides, observing the polls on Election Day, and helping voters access identification, where required, as well as both fighting back against attempts to limit our voting rights while also promoting opportunities to expand our voting rights, the League is always at the forefront of everything to do with voting and elections.
After 95 years of Making Democracy Work®, the League must continue to build on its legacy of empowering people across our country to have their voices heard in the political process and to keep the power of our democracy in the hands of the people. The 2016 elections will greatly influence our country, and the League stands as a beacon of hope and bright light that has illuminated important issues throughout our history. Our important work has benefitted generations of citizens and has served as the voice for the voiceless. It is critical that we continue to be vigilant, visible and ensure that our democracy works for everyone.
Similar to my decision to join the League, the organization itself now has to make a decision – will we play it safe and risk the continued erosion of hard fought battles of the past or will we forge a new way forward, embracing new partners and new possibilities that effectively balances the need for boldness and different approaches while honoring our legacy, focusing on our work and ensuring that we remain vibrant. And, while change can be challenging, I’m excited to help the League grow into our second century.
My hope and dream for the League is that we will continue to be a shining example, welcoming a new cadre of supporters whose perspectives may differ, but who believe deeply and passionately in our work. And, for the League to remain strong and committed to effecting change at the local, state and federal levels. Our ability to speak as one voice gives us power and under my leadership, we’ll build upon that.
The League of Women Voters is celebrating 95 years of Making Democracy Work® at every level of government. In 1920, the League was founded as an outgrowth of the movement that secured women the right to vote to help new voters engage with their government. Today, the League empowers all voters to improve their local, state and national government. Learn more about the League of Women Voters and join our celebration!