101 Years, Making Democracy Work

February 14th is a momentous day for the League – especially in Oregon. The League of Women Voters was founded on February 14, 1920. Oregon became a state 162 years ago on February 14, 1859. (And of course it’s Valentine’s Day.)

In 2020, we celebrated our Centennial with memorabilia, a slide show and a video highlighting past and present achievements. Then we had a panel discussion, which not only reviewed the past, but also pointed to our future. And ended with a toast to our second century!

Our 101st year has been a blockbuster, with more than 101 important achievements!

Voter Service

-Since our Centennial, our voter service has included:
  • Producing neutral nonpartisan voter information for the Primary, Special and  General Elections
  • Distributing 10,600 printed copies of English and Spanish voters’ guides for the Primary and General Elections  (in spite of the pandemic)
  • Producing a total of 83 candidate-interview videos for our Video Voters’ Guides in the Primary and General Elections. These videos had more than 17,000 views.
  • Producing a total of nine videos of voter forums (five for candidates; four for measures). These had 3,721 views.
  • Providing voter registration information in person (when possible) and online
  • Reaching at least 59,873 Portland area voters with Vote411.org
  • Reaching about 43,000 voters with the voting resources on our website
  • Presenting 18 online Speakers’ Bureau presentations to 502 voters
  • Updating our Directory of Elected Officials for Multnomah County

Advocacy

-Our advocacy work in this past year has included:
  • Five letters to the Portland City Council and one to US District Judge Simon (Click here to read these and other advocacy statements.)
  • An In Our Opinion column and a Letter to the Editor in The Oregonian
  • Support for six local ballot measures, including two Voters’ Pamphlet statements, based on our research and advocacy positions
  • Helping gather signatures for the redistricting (“People not Politicians”) ballot initiative
  • Action Committee presentations on earthquake risks, industrial land, economic opportunities planning, wildfire management, and police reform.

Civic Education

-In addition, we produced four free recorded informational programs which have had more than 700 combined views:

And More!

-To publicize all the information we offered, we used our social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram), sent out hundreds of press releases, and paid for ads on three radio stations and in four online and print newspapers.
-Plus, our 2020-21 study of Police Accountability is almost finished! And we have given copies of our recent study and position on Portland’s City Government to members of the Charter Review Commission.

Thanks to our volunteers and our donors for their gifts of time and money, which made these achievements possible.

Holiday Greetings

All year long, the Portland League works to create “a more perfect democracy.” We invite you to share the spirit of the holiday season by giving to organizations, like ours, that are making a difference in the world for good. For 100 years, the League of Women Voters has defended democracy and empowered a community of engaged voters. Now, your Portland League is continuing this legacy into our second century!  Your gift  is a vote of support for all we do. THANK YOU!

Make a donation or buy a gift membership for an important voter in your life. Click on one of the “Donate” buttons in the right-hand sidebar or see other ways to support us here

Support the League’s work to protect democracy, inform voters, conduct balanced studies of critical issues and improve government policies. With your support, LWVPDX will continue strong for the next 100 years, shaping a world where all people’s voices matter.

We are grateful to our members and donors. Thank you for supporting us.
Our best wishes for happy holidays and a bright New Year!

Valuing Diversity

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 League has many resources to help members and others understand the views and needs of diverse groups. League members also participate in discussion groups about diversity and equity.

Combatting Injustice

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.

You can read all of the press release here.

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.

HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY, LWV!

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:

League of Women Voters – 100 Years Strong from MetroEast Community Media on Vimeo.