Women’s group helps fight for rights

Feminism is a movement that has been prevalent in society dating back as early as 1848 which was the beginning of the Women’s Right’s Movement. For over century women have fought for equal rights socially, economically and politically. An organization dedicated to supporting this cause is The League of Woman Voters. 

President of The League of Women Voters for Sonoma County, Nancy Burrington lectured Thursday afternoon as part of Sonoma State’s Feminist Lecture Series. This series is hosted by the Women and Gender Studies Department as a part of their fall 2016 Lecture series.

The League of Women Voters is a national organization that began in the 1920s, directly following the Women’s Suffrage Movement. The organization’s main mission is build participation in the democratic process, study community issues at government levels and enables those to seek solutions to public policy issues. There are four levels to the organization which include the United States, California, the Bay Area, and Sonoma County.

Some of the services the League offers are citizenship classes as well as classes taught about voting literacy. The League is known for being non-partisan and for promoting members to be politically active in their community, by raising awareness about ballot measure and participating in the voting process.

The lecture included an extensive discussion about how the organization has been politically active and evolved over time. In the 1940s the group contributed to publicizing the issue of Public Safety and FDA regulating food. In the 1960s they participated in the Civil Rights Movement. In the ‘70s men were first admitted to the league and they established interleague organizations to combat local issues. 

Burrington discussed how one of the League’s most notable members was Eleanor Roosevelt, who led the organization’s New York chapter.

“If you’ve ever raised your head above the crowd to go against the consensus you’ll know how Eleanor Roosevelt felt,” Burrington said. 

Burrington invited those attending the lecture to get involved with the organization through voter service, membership, programs and social media groups.

“This lecture was helpful because helpful bc it reminded people to vote and opened a forum for questions,” said junior Edith Ayala.

Burrington also brought up a historical moment that occurred within their organization in the 1980s. This was the first time women began mediating presidential debates and The League of Women Voters were asked to mediate a particular debate, but they refused. 

“We had no intention of becoming just an accessory to the political process,” Burrington said.

One of the most influential events in history, that prompted the creation of this organization, was women earning the right to vote via the 19th Amendment. 

“This lecture makes me appreciate The League of Women Voters and the country that allows me to vote as a woman,” junior Gaby Medina said.

The League of Women Voters encourages people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved with their organization. Burrington especially encouraged young people to help maintain the social media aspect of the organization.

During the open forum, people asked about the upcoming election, as well as basic voting. Burrington reminded those in attendance that it’s crucial to have your absentee ballot postmarked by Nov. 8 or it will not be counted.