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Highlights from LWV's 2024 Convention

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This blog features contributions from Kayla Vix

Every two years, the League of Women Voters of the United States convenes a convention of delegates from every League to elect officers and directors for the national board, adopt a program and budget for the next biennium,  and conduct other business that advances our mission. 

The 56th Biennial LWVUS National Convention, “Turn Up and Turn Out,” took place in Washington, DC from June 27 to 30. Over 1,200 League members, board members, and staff from all 50 states, DC, and the Virgin Islands participated in person and virtually. This was the first time the League hosted this biennial event in the Nation's capital since 2016.

League members signing into Convention

Here are just a few of the most memorable moments from the event.

Welcome to Washington!  

Sometimes, large conventions inside big hotels feel like they could be anywhere, but that wasn’t the case in 2024. In addition to taking place at the historic Washington Hilton (home to the annual White House Correspondents Dinner and the site where President Ronald Reagan was shot), attendees were greeted with a taste of the District. Just past the registration desk, our League of Women Voters of Washington, DC, hosted a welcome room featuring Go-Go music, information about the history of Washington, DC, and advocacy for DC Statehood.  

A large art piece depicting DC cultural icons with the words "Art Drives Statehood"

Convention delegates and observers were also greeted by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, who said, "Thank goodness for the League of Women Voters. Not only have you always been staunch supporters of DC statehood, you put your foot leather, your shoe leather, your phone calls, your meetings at Congress, you put them to work for us, and we want to let you know how much we appreciate it. We know that our union will be more perfect when everybody can vote.” 

Lobby Day 

On Thursday, June 27, 230 League members went to Capitol Hill to advocate for the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Across the House and Senate, League members attended over 120 meetings with elected members and their staff. In all, 20% of Congress heard directly from the League in one day!

League members in front of Congress on Lobby Day

One Person One Vote Panel Discussion 

The League has long opposed the Electoral College. This spring, LWVUS launched the One Person One Vote campaign to achieve a new system for electing future presidents by direct popular vote. It only made sense to kick off Convention with an all-woman expert panel discussion about the movement to abolish the Electoral College.  

Moderator Celina Stewart, LWVUS chief counsel and senior director of Advocacy and Litigation, was joined by historian and author Carolyn Dupont, program director Keesha Gaskins-Nathan, and advocacy and policy strategist Na'ilah Amaru.   

Honoring the Late Dr. Turner  

The League lost a legend early this year when former LWV President Dr. Deborah Ann Turner unexpectedly passed away. Dr. Turner was the 20th president of the League of Women Voters, who saw us through a global pandemic, the critical 2020 federal election, the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and so much more. 

Convention was the perfect time to celebrate her life. League members were honored that members of her family could attend in person as we paid tribute to our beloved Dr. T. 

Announcing the next LWVUS CEO: Celina Stewart!  

League members were on their feet to cheer and celebrate the announcement of the League’s next CEO, none other than the League’s current chief counsel, Celina Stewart. In selecting the next CEO, League president Sania Irwin made clear that the Board was unanimous in their decision, citing Celina’s proven vision, leadership, and credibility to lead the League through transformation. Celina shared her vision of leadership in the next era of the League's story.  

Celina Stewart and Sania Irwin standing on a stage

Future CEO Celina Stewart with Interim Board President Sania Irwin

Delegate Kim Teehee of the Cherokee Nation Gives Keynote Speech 

Convention attendees heard a keynote address from Delegate Kim Teehee, director of government relations for the Cherokee Nation. Teehee shared that “the Cherokee Nation has always believed that this country is stronger when more people have a voice, and the League of Women Voters has been a critical partner in moving towards this better future.”   

Kim Teehee speaking at the LWVUS National Convention

Director of Government Relations for the Cherokee Nation Kim Teehee

Electing Dianna Wynn President of the League  

Newly elected Board President Dianna Wynn kicked off her presidency, saying, “A bigger, bolder, more powerful League of Women Voters can shape the future of our democracy.” 

Celebrating Dr. Sania Irwin’s Leadership

Dr. Sania Irwin presided over Convention 2024 and, in her opening remarks, shared that, "As the League continues its Transformation, we will grow our power at all levels by ever more deeply embracing the richness of the varied personal journeys, enabling each individual to bring their authentic selves, and being a place where lived experiences are understood, not compared.” 

The League closed another successful Convention with a new Board, President, CEO, and plans for the next biennium. We can't wait to get started.

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