What's Coming Up and Announcements
This was a statewide fun event For New Castle, Kent and Sussex Leagues, and a great chance to catch up on all the great work our sister Leagues are doing across the state. Many thanks to Crystal Hamilton of the Kent County League for organizing!
At the December 9 TED Discussion in Bear, special guest Lourena Gboeah of the Jewish Family Services of Delaware RISE program talked with us about refugee resettlement efforts in Delaware.
There are 65 million forcibly displaced persons worldwide today. 22 million are classified as refugees, including 6 million from Syria alone. A tiny fraction of these refugees (45,000 to 110,000... around one-half of one percent) are resettled in the United States each year.
In 2017, twenty-five refugees were resettled in Delaware, including families from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, the Ukraine and Eritrea (near Ethiopia). The refugees have many needs when they arrive, including low-cost furnished housing, job search assistance, social orientation, cell phones for communication, and sometimes ESL (English as a Second Language) classes. As the HIAS agency partner responsible for resettling refugees in Delware, Jewish Family Services of Delaware relies on community support to augment the $1000 per person government stipend to settle a refugee.
League members wishing to help with these efforts can go to the jfsdelaware.org/get-involved/rise-with-refugees web page to donate or to sign up for the JFS newsletter.
Two good online resources for information on the global refugee crisis are the UN Refugee Agency (UNHRC.org) and Refugee Council USA (RCUSA.org).
Meet and Greets are a great chance to meet your fellow League members, and bring a new friend to experience the League.
Please come and share these fun evenings with us!
The Foreign Policy Association has announced the Great Decision discussion topics for 2018 as follows:
1. The waning of Pax Americana?
2. Russia's foreign policy
3. China and America: the new geopolitical equation
4. Media and foreign policy
5. Turkey: a partner in crisis
6. U.S. global engagement and the military
7. South Africa's fragile democracy
8. Global health: progress and challenges
"While I was waiting in the dentist's office last week, I picked up a recent copy of The Economist which had a section on issues for 2018. One was entitled Sister Suffragette by Anne McElvoy. "On votes for women, the world is not yet practically perfect in every way." In the article she refers to the upcoming revival in London of Mary Poppins with the fiery suffragette, Mrs. Banks. The revival is timed to coincide with the centenary of women's suffrage in Britain. For some history: In 1918, Parliament granted the franchise to female householders over 30. Canada offered women the vote nationwide that same year. However, New Zealand gave women the vote in 1893, Finland in 1906, the US in 1920 and Sweden in 1921.
What would Mrs. Banks think about 2018? Since 2015 Saudi Arabia has allowed women to vote in local elections, though not national ones. Cultural barriers exist in many places with only 16 percent of Lebanese women going to the polls. Case studies of countries with low women's turnout, from Guatemala to Burundi and Pakistan, suggest the best way to drive change is wider voter registration and ease of access to polling stations. In Egypt, lack of identity cards meant that in some parts of the country up to 80 percent of women did not vote in 2014 and overall only half of eligible women did so. In 2014 Afghanistan prioritized female voters in elections with sex-separated polling stations. In the US more women are lining up to run for office in 2018. So there is cause for Mrs. Banks to celebrate, but more work to be done.
In the US in 2016 only 58 percent of eligible voters (men and women) went to the polls in an election in which 14 states had new restrictive voting laws, particularly targeting minorities--this after the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act in 2013 that required federal approval on any state election law. The League's mission is focusing on the Campaign for Making Democracy Work, championing voting rights, voter protection and mobilization, election reform, campaign finance/money in politics and redistricting. Join us in this effort and get others to join us also. Consider giving a gift of membership in the League of Women Voters to one of your loved ones (male or female) this holiday season.
I wish you all a very happy holiday and a politically active new year!" -- Marj Johnson
The topic for the HOT TOPIC LUNCH on Monday, November 27, 2017 was "Clean Water: Delaware's Clear Choice," with speakers Chris Klarich and Laura Miller of the Delaware Nature Society.
Since the Delaware Nature Society, along with its partners, Partnership for the Delaware Estuary and Center for the Inland Bays, launched the statewide "Clean Water: Delaware's Clear Choice" campaign in 2015, their Clean Water Alliance has grown to include dozens of Delaware companies and organizations.
Thanks to our environmental committee for arranging the talk, and Coralie Pryde for introducing the speakers.
Chris and Laura outlined the findings and recommendations of the Clean Water and Flood Abatement Task Force, which was established by the Delaware General Assembly in June 2015, co-chaired by Senator Bryan Townsend and Rep. Michael Mulrooney, and released its recommendations in April of this year. The recommendations include establishing a statewide per-business and per-household clean water fee, which would be implemented by draft legislation that has not yet been submitted. The task force report and draft legislation are available online at cleanwaterdelaware.org.
The Clean Water Alliance encourages all interested individuals to join the "Water Warriors" program, to volunteer for waterway cleanup activities and learn how to effectively engage with public officials about water quality issues.
You can review plan options and enroll through December 15, 2017 at www.healthcare.gov
The League of Women Voters of Delaware provided volunteer door greeters at these events.
THANK YOU to our members who helped out with this effort!