You can read the LWV of the US Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy here. It begins, “LWV is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice.” The League works to uphold people’s rights, regardless of their race, age, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability or economic status.
When the League was founded 100 years ago, there were many barriers that prevented men and women of various groups from fully participating in democracy. Over the years since, the League of Women Voters has worked to improve and protect the rights of all Americans. We encourage all citizens to vote! We also help people speak out for their rights.
The death of George Floyd has focused attention on the injustice and discrimination African Americans face in our nation.
The LWVPDX, along with Leagues around the country, is speaking out against police brutality and racism. For more than 40 years, the Portland League has worked with other organizations to improve police accountability and oversight. We are committed to ending the inappropriate use of deadly force by police. We are combatting injustice against African Americans in Portland and in the U.S.
Below is part of a May 29 press release from the LWVUS.
As an organization whose mission is to empower voters and defend democracy, we stand in solidarity with all Black communities. The League shall do so not only by speaking out against racism in all forms, but by doing the work required of us to be anti-racist.
The League bases our advocacy on balanced studies, testimony, and peaceful demonstrations. In early May, our members voted to study Police Accountability in Portland. This study will build on the work of our Justice Interest Group. Careful research provides the data that strengthens our voice as we work to protect the rights and lives of all Americans.
Our 100th Birthday is on February 14. We are celebrating a century of empowering voters and defending democracy! We are 100 years strong.
In 1920, after 72 years of struggling to gain the right to vote, American women knew the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would soon be ratified. Almost 2,000 women from around the country gathered at a “victory convention” of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
On February 14, 1920, they voted to organize the National League of Women Voters. Then, they decided that the state groups in the NAWSA should become nonpartisan state Leagues of Women Voters. Every League would have the same purposes as the national League – “to foster education in citizenship and support improved legislation.”
Thus, the League of Women Voters of Oregon also was founded on February 14, 1920. Effie Simmons from Portland, Oregon, was elected to be on the first National LWV Board. (Source: More Power Than We Knew, A History of the League of Women Voters of Oregon:1920-2012, pages 15-16)
We are celebrating some other significant anniversaries this month too. February 14th is also the 161st anniversary of the day Oregon became a state. February 3rd was the 150th anniversary of the adoption of the 15th Amendment, stating that the right to vote shall not be denied on account of race. The League is still working throughout the U.S. to protect the right of all citizens to vote.
We have created a 5-minute video about the League’s history and how we are using our strengths as we prepare for the future. View the video by clicking the play arrow below:
Portland League members voted to conduct this two-year restudy of city government in May 2017. Members realized that Portland’s voters needed more up-to-date and complete information to decide on possible changes to the City Charter.
The restudy looks closely at many parts of our current government. It examines strengths and weaknesses of the government’s structure and then explores different options for changing it. The goal is to provide useful ideas for how to improve the government so it serves the people of Portland as well as possible.