Making Democracy Work

What's New?

What's Coming Up and Announcements

Upcoming and recent events are listed below. Check our Activities and Presentations page under "ABOUT LWV" for presentation notes from older events.

Nationwide League Membership Has Jumped 20% since 2016

Read this January 2019 article on the LWV at
"The League of Women Voters is experiencing a surge of new blood, new resources, and new energy. But it is the League's 'old' values that are attracting new members. Values like nonpartisanship and integrity, civility, and a refusal to be bullied."

"Over the past three years, the League, which had 'unashamedly been the League of your grandmother,' has been on a transformative journey, said Celina Stewart, LWV's new director of advocacy and litigation."

Since the 2016 Presidential election, "the League's membership is up 20 percent. The group is drawing new members, whose diversity has spanned age, race, and sexual orientation, Stewart said. The League now has 400,000 members and supporters in more than 700 communities in every state. New Leagues 'are popping up all over'..."

It seems that the League of Women Voters is cool again... who knew?

DNREC Open Houses Feb. 25, 26, and 27 Seeking Public Input

DOVER (Feb. 5, 2019) + Delaware's Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) will hold three public open houses in February, seeking input on preliminary recommendations made by the Coastal Zone Conversion Permit Act Regulatory Advisory Committee.

The open houses will be held from 5-8 p.m. on these three dates:

  • Monday, Feb. 25, Claymont Community Center, 3301 Green Street, Claymont, DE 19703
  • Tuesday, Feb. 26, Delaware City Fire Hall, 815 5th Street, Delaware City, DE 19706
  • Wednesday, Feb. 27, Elbert Palmer Elementary School, 1210 Lobdell Street, Wilmington, DE 19801

Members of the public may attend at any point during the open houses.

Refer to the attachment for full details: DNREC seeking public input

If you attend one of these meetings, please send your observations, comments and questions to Coralie Pryde. These proposed regulations cover a lot of ground and most of us are unlikely to knowledgeable about every issue... we can, at least, alert each other if we spot anything that raises questions.

Great Decisions Discussion Group

The Great Decisions discussion group meets regularly at the Newark public library. The first Great Decisions topic for 2019 was "Refugees and Global Migration" on Monday, February 11, at 1:30 pm - postponed due to snow.

Contact Flo Waibel for more information about the Great Decision discussion group, and if you are interested in joining group members for lunch at Skipjack prior to the meeting.

Great Decisions group Nov 2017
Some November 2017 Great Decisions 'Groupies'

The Foreign Policy Association has announced the topics for Great Decisions 2019, and briefing books are available online at the Foreign Policy Association website, FPA (dot) org.

The eight new topics for 2019 are...

1. Refugees and Global Migration
2. The Middle East: Regional Disorder
3. Nuclear negotiations: Back to the Future?
4. The Rise of Populism in Europe
5. Decoding U.S.-China Trade
6. Cyber Conflicts and Geopolitics
7. The United States and Mexico: Partnership Tested
8. State of the State Department and Diplomacy

February TED Discussion - Opioids / Saving Lives

Our February TED viewing will be held on Saturday, February 16th at 1:00 pm at St. Philip's Lutheran Church on Limestone Road. The format is to watch the TED Talk and then discuss the `Ideas Worth Sharing'. Bring your own beverage and snack if desired.

The misuse of opioids has had an impact on just about everyone's lives whether directly through the death of a loved one or indirectly in extra steps for a legitimate prescription. This past year was the deadliest for suspected drug overdoses. August 2018 was the deadliest month with thirty-nine deaths in Delaware.

Both the federal and state legislature passed laws in 2018 to providing funding and resources directed to reducing the devastation. The TED Talk this month; "In the Opioid Crisis, Here's What It Takes To Save A Life", gives an example from the community of Huntington, West Virginia. Presenter, Jan Rader, gives a hopeful talk that: "shows what it's like on the front lines of this crisis -- and how her community is taking an unusual new approach to treating substance-abuse disorder that starts with listening."

Jan Rader
Jan Rader

A firefighter and a nurse, Ms. Rader describes the solutions that this community took not only to address the persons caught in the throes of substance use disorder but also to provide support for the people called upon to aid them.

In August 1994, Ms. Rader joined the Huntington, West Virginia Fire Department reaching the rank of chief for a career department in the State of West Virginia. She then went on to receive degrees in nursing. At present she is a serving member of the Mayor's Office of Drug Control Policy which is focused on drug addiction in Huntington and the surrounding communities and creates a holistic approach involving prevention, treatment and law enforcement. Ms. Radar came to national distinction after the release of the short documentary Heroin(e) by Netflix in September 2017. She was recognized in April 2018, as one of TIME Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World."

Join us to discuss the potential for our communities for brand new approaches to life saving.

Poverty, Race, and Public Education in Delaware

Poverty, Race, and Public Education in Delaware
Thursday, February 21, at 7 pm
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark
420 Willa Road, Newark, DE 19711

Co-hosted by the Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow, Network Delaware, Newark Branch NAACP, the Unitarian Universalist Delaware Advocacy Network (UUDAN), and League of Women Voters of New Castle County.

Dr. Daniel Rich Presenter: Dr. Daniel Rich is University Professor of Public Policy at the University of Delaware and Director of the University's Community Engagement Initiative. He also serves as Policy Director for the Wilmington Education Improvement Commission.

Education is often mentioned as a pathway out of poverty. However, the achievement gap is growing in Delaware. This presentation helps us understand our current needs, but focuses on resources and solutions to bridge that gap. Dr. Rich of the University of Delaware challenges us to learn from past failures, respond to present conditions, and plan for the success of Delaware public school students. His illustrated presentation will inform and challenge professional educators and the general public on how our system of education can better serve students.

February Hot Topic - Plastic-Free Delaware

The public is invited to all Hot Topic meetings to become informed on a wide variety of topics. It is also a time to check in with members of LWV, make new friends, and invite your neighbors and colleagues to experience the League in an informal setting while we enjoy the buffet lunch at Michael's Restaurant in Christiana.

Garbage can overflowing with plastic waste
A garbage bin overflowing with plastic waste

On Monday February 25, 2019, county councilperson Dee Durham will speak on the topic "Plastic Pollution! Zero Waste! In Delaware and Beyond?" Dee will explore the initiatives of Plastic Free Delaware which seeks to reduce plastic pollution through education, outreach and policy implementation.

Dee Durham lives with her family in her childhood home in Rockland, Delaware adjacent to Brandywine Creek State Park where her passion for conservation was instilled exploring the woods and streams of the park as a child.

Dee served as the Executive Director of Preservation Delaware from 1995-2002, and then became Executive Director of S.A.V.E., a land use, conservation planning and smart transportation advocacy organization based in Chester County, Pennsylvania. She was honored with the Chairman's Award from Preservation Pennsylvania in 2012 and in 2018 with the Volunteer of the Year Award from Governor John Carney for her work on plastic pollution.

Dee co-founded and continues to lead Plastic Free Delaware which seeks to address the blight of single use plastic and move Delaware toward the goal of Zero Waste.

$15.00 paid at time of the event covers the buffet luncheon, soft beverage and tip. Please pay in cash if at all possible. RSVP to our Office Manager by Sunday, January 24, so we can let the restaurant know how many to expect. If you need a ride, indicate that on your RSVP. See you at Michaels on the 25th!

January Hot Topic - Smart Justice

On January 28, 2019, Kathleen MacRae from ACLU Delaware spoke on the topic "Why Smart Justice for Delaware?"

In case you missed us at Michaels that day, the videotape is provided below. Kathleen first set the stage by laying out the causes of the situation we are in, followed by a discussion of what ACLU wants to do about it (the Campaign for Smart Justice... starting about 40 minutes in).

The full video is one hour and 8 minutes long. Minute markers are provided below for your convenience:
02:00 - The U.S. is the world's largest jailor
02:45 - Delaware imprisons at a higher rate than average
03:25 - How did we get here?
08:30 - Mass incarceration drivers in Delaware
15:50 - The power of the prosecutor
21:25 - Systemic racial bias in Delaware's criminal justice system
25:00 - The Human Impact
29:30 - (power cut out / Q&A)
38:45 - Injustice reaches beyond those convicted
40:45 - Delaware's Campaign for Smart Justice
44:15 - Prosecutorial reform
49:50 - Prison programs, parole & probation
1:01:30 - Re-entry programming
1:02:45 - Challenge fines & fees
1:05:10 - Smart Justice Tactics

Questions & answers are also sprinkled liberally throughout the presentation; Leaguers are a curious bunch! Many thanks to Kathleen for putting up with us, and for a thoroughly knowledgeable presentation.

Kathleen MacRae
Kathleen MacRae
Guest speaker Kathleen MacRae joined the ACLU-DE as executive director in November of 2010. She relocated to Delaware from New Mexico where she had worked for the ACLU-NM as development director. Before settling in with the ACLU, Kathleen was the executive director of the New Mexico Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty. There she led the campaign that won passage of repeal legislation in the NM House of Representatives for the first time in 2005. In March 2009, after a 10-year effort, New Mexico's death penalty was abolished.

Kathleen has a Master's degree in social work from Rhode Island College with concentrations in policy analysis, community organizing and social service administration and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Rhode Island. She is a member of the board of directors of Equality Delaware, Inc.

January TED Discussion - Your Privilege is Showing

In January, our TED group discussed the privilege and race, and the need for open discussion about these topics. If you missed the gathering, you can watch this TEDx Talk on YouTube: Ms. Medville notes: "I had been raised to believe that the way to be a good, not racist white person, was to not see color. Which is unhelpful. If you can't see color, you can't talk about color, and if you can't talk about race gender class or ability you can't understand it. You can't understand the part you play in it and you can't understand the part it plays in you."

Additional related resources recommended by our January TEDsters include the following:

    • How Studying Privilege Systems Can Strengthen Compassion (Peggy McIntosh, TEDx Timberlane Schools, Nov 2012)
    • Tricia Rose - Pain, Passion, and Possibility: Learning from Difficult Subjects (Tricia Rose, Ph.D., Connecting for Change, July 2014)
    • Color Blind or Color Brave? (Mellody Hobson, TED2014)
    • White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son, by Tim Wise, Soft Skull Press, 2007
    • Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race, by Debby Irving, Elephant Room Press, 2014
    • Small Great Things, by Jodi Piccoult, Ballantine Books, 2016
Local organizations...
    • YWCA Delaware's Racial & Social Justice program
    • Delaware Coalition to Dismantle the New Jim Crow

Newark Mayoral and City Council Candidate Night - March 19

LWVNCC is sponsoring a candidate's night for the Newark mayoral race and Council Districts 1, 2 and 4. It is planned as a question and answer event and will be open to the public, on the evening of Tuesday, March 19, 2019, in the Evergreen Room of the Newark Senior Center on Whitechapel Drive. The event starting time will be determined based on the number of candidates participating.

Carole Walsh, League member, will moderate. League and AAUW Newark members will staff the event. The evening will be video recorded and posted, in its entirety, for later viewing on the League website.

In compliance with federal regulations for nonpartisan forums, at least two candidates for the same office must be present in order for a candidate to participate in the formal program; no stand-ins are allowed.

We will not know who all the candidates are until after the February 4, 2019, filing deadline.

The Newark city election is Tuesday, April 9, 2019.

The League is partnering with AAUW Newark, and the Newark Senior Center. All sponsoring organizations are nonpartisan and do not support or oppose any political candidate or party.

Volunteers are needed to meet, greet, and collect audience questions. Please contact Candidate Forum co-chairs Carole Walsh or Judy Taggart if you would like to assist that evening.

Volunteer Opportunities

You do not have to be a league member to participate in these volunteer activities.

Newark Candidate's Night
LWVNCC is sponsoring a candidate's night for the Newark mayoral race and city council districts on the evening of March 19, 2019, at the Newark Senior Center on Whitechapel Drive. We need volunteers to meet, greet, and collect audience questions. Please let Carole Walsh or Judy Taggart know if you can assist that evening.

Observer Corps
LWVNCC is starting a renewed effort to attend and observe local government meetings, such as New Castle County Council, Wilmington City Council and Newark City Council meetings. Contact Marj Johnson if you are interested in joining our NCC Observer Corps. No prior experience is required!

Voter Registration
Volunteers are needed on an ongoing basis to register new voters at schools and community venues each year. 2018 was an extremely busy year for voter registration requests! Contact Voter Registration Coordinator Patti Christopher if you'd like to help with voter registration in 2019, or to request a voter registration table at your school or event.

New Citizen Ceremonies
The League distributes welcome packets including government and voting information to new citizens at Delaware naturalization ceremonies. These are extraordinarily emotional and rewarding events to witness. See our calendar page for upcoming dates, and contact Lorraine Botticelli if interested in helping out.

President's Message for February

Marj Johnson
LWVNCC President Marj Johnson

The League of Women Voters of New Castle County (LWVNCC) President Marjorie Johnson's message for February 2019 is included below...

"As I write this we are entering into a deep freeze like we've never experienced before. When I went out this morning, I had to tug and tug to get my frozen car door open! And now the wind is howling around my house.

Despite the long, cold, dark days of January, your League has been busy at work. The Election Committee that the Advocacy Corps put together (chaired by Jill Itzkowitz and Catriona Binder-MacLeod from the NCC League) has been meeting regularly as a group in Smyrna and individually with several senators and representatives, and we are hopeful that several election reform bills will be passed this session. We wrote an op-ed in the News Journal to encourage people to run for school board positions in New Castle County and will continue to provide the public with school board election information and the site regarding the candidates.

Last, but certainly not least, several of us were in Dover for the passage of the ERA in Delaware--a LONG time coming. Delaware was among the states that ratified the national constitutional amendment back in the 70s, but since there weren't enough states to ratify it, it is STILL not included in the US constitution. FINALLY, almost 50 years later, Delaware is officially putting it in our state constitution that "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged on account of the sex of the person". Many thanks to Rep. Valerie Longhurst and Sen. Stephanie Hansen for their persistent effort in getting this passed.

Take heart from that example and never give up on the causes that affect our democracy, justice and inclusion."  
-- Marj Johnson

Photos of Past Events

Photos of past League events are available on Flickr.

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