Happy New Year

President’s Message, January 2022

Greetings all,

Here we find ourselves in the bleak midwinter with rising COVID numbers, cold, and often wearying news. However, I must tell you that every time I meet with fellow members of our League, I cannot help but smile and feel the hope and fire within me rekindled. This is an incredible group of volunteers who are beyond passionate about making Kansas a wonderful place for all of us. I hope you share my optimism as we look forward toward spring and the year ahead.

Rest when you can as there will be much work to do as the sun begins to shine longer each day. 

We will be hosting a strategic planning meeting on Jan 22, and I look forward to meeting with you all to discuss our shared vision for the upcoming year. This is an opportunity for us to come together (virtually, of course!) to rally around our priorities and to create an outline for how to accomplish our goals. As always, I look forward to any opportunity to see you all and hope you can make it for all or part of our meeting. 

Our legislature is beginning their work, and we will be keeping an eye on many pieces of legislation. Please contact Kristin Salmans if you are interested in participating in our Legislative Observers Corps to help keep us apprised of important information as it comes out. You also can join us on January 30 as we meet with our legislators to hear their thoughts on the first weeks of the sessions and their priorities. 

We will soon begin to see what we are up against with the constitutional amendment on the August 2022 ballot. Keep an eye out as there will be many volunteer opportunities with our Voter Services committee as we continue our essential work of advocating for our legislative priorities, educating our fellow Kansans, and providing folks with the resources to register to vote.

Thank you to those of you who chose to make a donation to the League of Women Voters-Lawrence Douglas County at the end of 2021. If you would still like to make a donation, you may do so at lawrenceleague.com or send a check to PO Box 1072 Lawrence KS 66044. 

Speaking of visiting our website, a hearty thank you to Norma Pierce for all of her hard work in moving our website from MyLO to WordPress. Check out our new website (lawrenceleague.com) and continue to check back as it continues to be updated. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at emilyapriner@gmail.com or 605-261-0328 with any questions, comments, or needs. Wash your hands, wear your masks, tell those you love how much they mean to you, and stay well. 

— Emily Riner

We Need You

President’s Message from Emily Riner
November 2021

Greetings all,

Douglas County saw 21.7% of registered voters turn out for our election on November 2. If you’re like me, you know that turnout can be and should be higher. This is especially important with next August’s primary, which will include the constitutional amendment against bodily autonomy on the ballot. Our work as LWVL-DC may be 100 years old, but the need for our work remains as strong as it did at our founding. With that said, our
league is evolving and now we know that when we work toward justice for one of us, we fight for justice for all of us. As our last session with Crystal Bennett was titled: Our Liberation is Bound Together.

Last month, I wrote about hope being the fuel for our work. My wish is that you join me in making impossible things happen with hope fanning the flames of your determination. The cards may feel stacked against us going into this season to educate ourselves and our fellow Kansans, register voters, and get folks to their poll places in August 2022, but I believe in us. I give you the same plea I did last time: we need you. You have time, talents, treasures that we hope you will continue to share with us and with the other myriad of organizations you volunteer with. Next month you will receive our annual fundraising letter and I hope you will consider donating to LWVL-DC as we gear up for this upcoming election year.

A hearty thank you to everyone who was able to attend one or more of our seven training sessions with Crystal Bennett. I look forward to LWVL-DC developing our roadmap for the future with equity and inclusion woven into all that we do. The DEI Committee will be working on this roadmap and it will be an area of focus for our Strategic Planning Meeting in January.

If you are able, I would love to have LWVL-DC make a huge showing at the LWVK Virtual League Day on December 4 from 9 to 11:45 am. We will get an update on the lawsuit, People Powered Fair Maps, and many other important updates. Registration can be found here and costs $5. Please contact me if you or someone you know needs assistance covering that fee. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at emilyapriner@gmail.com or 605-261-0328 with any questions, comments, or needs. Wash your hands, wear your masks, tell those you love how much they mean to you, and stay well.

Emily Riner

Greetings from President Emily Riner

October 2021

Even though the days are shorter, it gets dark earlier, and the weather is cooling, this is my favorite time of year. It is election season, it’s socially acceptable for me to hibernate at home with a hot cup of tea and a good book, it’s chili/soup/stew time, and there are a variety of holidays to look forward to. When our environment becomes more bleak, let us look to the beauty, serenity, and hope of this time. 

I attended Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s talk at KU on 10/7/21 and it was wonderful to see so many of you there! I was viscerally impacted when he said “hope is the fuel” for making the world a better place. The most improbable things are possible, and history gives us multiple examples of this happening. If impossible things have happened, why can’t we fix racism? We can. If impossible things have happened, why can’t we overcome voter suppression? We can. If impossible things have happened, why can’t we defeat next summer’s constitutional amendment to eliminate our constitutional right to an abortion? We can.

As Dr. Kendi said, cynics will not change the world. Those who are fueled by hope and possibility change the world. Friends, we are the fuel and we are the hope. We can make impossible things happen. I believe in us. We are the ones we have been waiting for. 

We need you. We will need your continued volunteerism, activism, and we need you out there educating our fellow Kansans. There will be upcoming information regarding what we can do to defeat the constitutional amendment and what we will be advocating for during this upcoming legislative session. For now, I hope you will join us on November 1 as we once again meet with Crystal Bennett to discuss the future of LWVL-DC and our commitment to weaving diversity, equity, and inclusion into everything we do. Sign up here.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to me at emilyapriner@gmail.com or 605-261-0328 with any questions, comments, or needs. Wash your hands, wear your masks, tell those you love how much they mean to you, and stay well.

DEI gathering
DEI committee members at presentation by Ibram X. Kendi, historian and anti-racist activist on Oct 7, 2021.
From left, Tracy Matthews, Kay Johnson, Karen Lassman, Tamara Cole and Emily Riner