A Day of Action
Partnering with Non-profits that Serve the Underserved
On the very birthday of the League, February 14, local leagues across the nation will define and carry out a Day of Action. Ours will be offering voter registration with some of the nonprofits that serve the underserved in Licking County. Mark the date! We may be working at the Public Library in Newark as well as at sites in the Food Pantry Network, The Main Place, and Newark Homeless Outreach.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “A Day of Action” if you want to participate.
I am pleased to announce that the Observer Corps initiative, discussed with enthusiasm at the Annual Meeting in August, will bear fruit in 2020. Leading the program as Coordinator is Lyn Robertson, a former mayor of Granville who necessarily worked with Village Council in that role. Lyn understands why local government is important and how it should work, and I am grateful that she has accepted this new leadership role.
An Observer Corps appoints people to attend selected agencies or government bodies as silent witnesses. Observers monitor whether those bodies follow the law and their own procedures properly and then submit a brief report. Summarizing those reports periodically for LWV members and for the public, an Observer Corps reminds everyone about the sunshine laws. The sunshine laws (Overseen by the State Attorney General) empower all Ohioans to attend and participate in meetings and to request public records if necessary.
Please mark your calendar to attend this event if you want to be part of the Observer Corps or just want to listen and learn more about it.
Observer Corps: Inspiration, Orientation, and Training
Sunday, January 19th, 1:30 -3:30 PM
Granville Public Library, Community Room
Note: Our observers must be LWVLC members. If you not yet a member, you can join at this website: lwvlickingcounty.org/join/
Please indicate whether you plan to attend the event on January 19th
email@example.com with “Observer Corps” in the subject line.
Centennial Book Club
Looking at our past can illuminate the present. We’ll begin by educating ourselves about the League’s founder, Carrie Chapman Catt, whose birthday is January 9th. We will aim to schedule the first discussion on January 30th in the Granville Public Library.
If you want to be on the list of book club participants, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Book Club” in the subject.
Choose one or both of these books OR read the essays linked here as Shorter info options.
- Carrie Catt Feminist Politician (1986) by Robert Fowler
- Carrie Chapman Catt: A Public Life (1987) by J. Van Voris
Shorter info options:
Automatic Voter Registration and Advocacy Training
Ohio’s voter registration system is woefully out of date and inefficient, and Ohio has major gaps in electoral participation among low-income, youth, and voters of color. Ohio’s “supplemental process” of purging infrequent voters from the rolls exacerbates the issue. Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) can actually make our rolls more accurate and secure, while also closing voter registration gaps and creating government efficiencies. The League needs to be a leader in this advocacy, and LWVO is searching for local League members who will help lead our advocacy and grassroots efforts on AVR.
LWVO Executive Director, Jen Miller will be conducting a training on Automatic Voter Registration and Advocacy hosted by the League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus. We would love to see at least representatives from each of the local Leagues in Central Ohio region attend. Below is the training information. SPACE IS LIMITED! Please RSVP.
WHEN: October 24, 2019, 6 to 9 PM
WHERE: 645 Niel Avenue, Columbus OH 43215 (Room to TBA)
OTHER: A light dinner (pizza and beverages) will be served. Cash/check donations are welcome at the event to help cover costs.
Preliminary Training Agenda
6:00 Welcome, Mingle, Grab Food, Housekeeping, Intros, Norms
6:45 Background on Ohio’s Registration System
7:00 The Foundation: What is AVR, and how do we get it?
7:15 Communicating about AVR (Polling, Message Framing, LTEs)
7:45 Lobby 101 (we want in-district meetings this summer & fall)
8:30 Wrap-Up: Questions & Next Steps
Jen Miller is setting up AVR trainings throughout the state for League members, and the Central Ohio training/event will be in Columbus on October 24 from 6-9pm. Please advertise this opportunity to your membership!
I’ve set up an Eventbrite registration site for people to RSVP. Please let me know if you have any questions!
League of Women Voters of Metropolitan Columbus
Would you like to be a mentor? A call for volunteers
We are pleased to announce The Women’s Voices Project: Training the Next Gen of Women Leaders for this year.
This program aims to connect high school girls with political leaders in our communities to serve as role models and encourage civic engagement. In the academic year 2018-2019, our pilot program included six young women from local high schools.
We are seeking additional mentors for the students who have expressed interest in the program. We will match LWVLC volunteers with a student and ask that you work with her to develop a personalized action plan for civic engagement activities. We provide a 1-year membership for participating students.
What’s required? Over Academic Year 2019-2020, students commit to:
- Design and evaluate program experiences
- Participate in at least three political or government activities and write a reflection on the experience
- Meet regularly with mentors
- Register to VOTE
If you are interested, please contact Pam Wilson (email@example.com/ 6140736-6656)
Judge for Yourself: The Impact of Judges and Courts.
Summary of the Ohio Fair Courts Alliance presentation to the League of Women Voters of Licking County: October 2, 2019
Presenters: Mia Lewis, Common Cause and Brian Miller, Ohio Fair Courts Alliance Speaker’s Bureau
The goals of the Ohio Fair Alliance are to:
- Raise public awareness of the importance of our courts and impartial judges
- Build a stronger coalition across Ohio to win reforms
- Pass stronger rules to limit the influence of money and special interests
Judicial Votes Count is an ultimate online source for voter education about Ohio courts and voter information on judicial candidates here in Ohio. To learn about judicial candidates in your county, go to www.judicialvotescount.org.
Ohio Judicial Elections:
- Since the year 2000, it takes an average of one million dollars to run for an Ohio Supreme Court seat.
- Ohio Judicial Primary Elections are partisan, and candidates run as Democrats or Republicans. General Elections are non-partisan.
- 3 in 5 Ohioans say they don’t know enough about the judges to make a wise vote. 70% say they would like to know more about their professional qualifications.
- Since 2000, most races for Ohio Supreme Court have been million dollar campaigns.
Issues of Inequity:
- Minorities who are poor and people outside the norm such as non-English speakers, people with mental illness, and people from outside the Judeo-Christian religious tradition often do not get a fair shake in our courts. Should our courts do more to accommodate their needs, aiming not just for equality, but equity?
- Almost 60 percent of the people in Ohio’s jails are in pre-trial detention because they don’t have enough money for bail, not because they pose safety concerns. Because detention could last weeks or even months, detainees face loss of job, inability to pay rent or mortgage, even loss of custody of their children. A panel of judicial experts is examining alternatives to the current bail system that include allowing judges more discretion in pretrial release decisions.
Recusal and Ohio Judges
Even though Ohio’s Code of Judicial Conduct requires judges to disqualify themselves when they cannot perform their duties in an impartial and diligent way, they rarely do. In the 215 cases studied by the New York Times with the most direct potential conflicts of interest, justices recused themselves just 9 times.
Ohio judges are NOT required to recuse themselves from hearing cases of their major campaign contributors. Very few ever do—and on average, they voted in favor of contributors 70 percent of the time.
Dark money refers to political spending meant to influence the decision of a voter where the donor is not disclosed and the source of the money is unknown. Without stronger disclosure rules, the public can’t determine who is paying for the ad that is trying to influence our elections. The electorate needs this information so that we can make an informed decision about whether to trust the information contained in the ad or not. Without disclosure, we also can’t determine whether the judicial candidate is beholden to the group that financed the ad.
Ohio needs better disclosure of independent expenditures so that Ohioans can track contributions to political advertisements for candidates for the Ohio Supreme Court. Disclosure and transparency will reveal current or potential conflicts of interest.
What you can do to support stronger disclosure laws in Ohio:
- Watch the documentary, “Dark Money.”
- Contact your Ohio Representatives and Senators and ask them to support strong, updated disclosure laws for all elections in Ohio.
- Write an email to your legislators at http://bit.ly/darkmoneyemail
Report on the Women’s Voices Grant
The League of Women Voters of Licking County applied for and was awarded a Women’s Voices Tier 2 Grant in October 2018. Pam Wilson, leading the project, recently submitted the final report of that work.
The goal was to cultivate high school girls’ interests in government and politics. Due to the timing of receiving the grant, the project started later than was ideal and only six girls (rather than the goal of 20) participated in the program. Each received a student membership in the League. Five were from Watkins Memorial and one was from Heath High School.
Despite the small numbers, the program proved useful as a pilot during which we determined that such mentoring can be workable and meaningful both for the students and their mentors. Those who took part counted the experience a success and developed a list of recommendations for how to achieve greater participation and success next time.
Pam had recruited 16 volunteer mentors, six of whom she matched with the students. First, student-mentor pairs met to design a personalized program of three events or activities to meet the grant requirements. I quote from Pam’s full report:
The students participating in this program are bright, energetic, and many have definitive perspectives of how and where they would like to be engaged. However, these same students are also highly involved in other academic and co-curricular activities; scheduling time for mentor/mentee meetings and attending local events presented a challenge in the competition with sports, academic projects, clubs, artistic endeavors, and social commitments.
In spite of these obstacles, several students met or exceeded the three-activity commitment. And the activities were wide-ranging. Voter Registration (held at Watkins High School); attendance at a Newark City Council meeting (one which was highly controversial on homelessness and the removal of tent cities); Individual meetings/ interviews with two Newark City Council members; Attendance at the LWVO Statehouse Day; Attendance at the Indivisible 12, How Things Work at the Statehouse: Budget meeting; Homeless Outreach; Climate Change march (Cleveland); LWVLC Panel on Homelessness; listened to and compared two podcasts about the opioid crisis (Why Is This Happening and The Daily); attended a campaign event for one of the judges for the recent primary; and attended a Heath City Council meeting.
I recognize and thank the six participating mentors:
- · Maureen Clark
- · Barbara Lechner
- · Cindy McElroy
- · Kristina Mitchell
- · Jacque Morgan
- · Julie Mulroy
Above all, Pam Wilson’s organizing skills, flexibility, and hard work made this project possible – from writing the grant proposal, to contacting school administrators, leading and inspiring the mentors, developing the print materials, and writing the final report. Thank you Pam!
Licking County League Honored at State Convention – May 2019
Dear Members and Friends,
Our chapter won an award at the recent LWVO State Convention! This is really something to be proud of. Attached are photos of the award, and here is the script that was read as Pam Wilson went forward to accept it on our behalf. Hooray!
Speaking of forces of nature, LWV Licking County, less than 3 years old, is already 105 members strong. A core contingent of activists who were part of Fair Districts and Indivisible quickly organized as an At-Large Unit and got engaged with LWVO work in just a few short years.
The awards committee had an extremely difficult task trying to select just one recipient. So, we decided to honor two leagues. LWV Hudson and LWV Licking County members, will you please join me on stage as this year’s honorees?
LWV Licking County is one of the newest Local Leagues in Ohio. Many of its members were super stars collecting signatures for the Fair Districts campaign, helping Licking County meet the threshold for signatures by the July 1 deadline. When the Fair Districts campaign testified before the Senate Oversight Committee, several people from Licking County bore witness there, strengthening our case for why reform was needed. Licking County has quickly developed proficiency in voter registration and voter outreach, having registered some 300 students just this spring alone. They have accomplished all of this and more, and they are less than three years old! Congratulations Licking County!
Program on Homelessness and Addiction in Licking County, Ohio
March 20, 2019, Denison Art Space, West Church St., Newark, Ohio
Moderator: Carol Apacki
Notetaker: Irene Kennedy
Newark Homeless Outreach: Trish Perry, Jen Kanagy; Billy McCall
For more information, see Facebook homepage: Newark Homeless Outreach
Harm Reduction Ohio: Dennis Cauchon, President and Carole Robinson, Administrator
For more information: See website: Harm Reduction Ohio: https://www.harmreductionohio.org/
Facebook homepage: Harm Reduction Ohio
2016 Licking County Housing Coalition Statistics about Homelessness in Licking County
- At least 215 people are homeless in Licking County on any given night.
- 91% of the homeless in Licking County are homeless for the first time.
- The average household is 2 paychecks away from becoming homeless.
- 40% of the homeless in Licking County are children.
- In Ohio, about 65% of the homeless are women.
- Nationally, about 16% of the homeless report chronic substance abuse
Key Points from the Meeting:
- Newark Homeless Outreach and Harm Reduction Ohio, two locally-based organizations, are actively working to address homelessness and addiction issues in Licking County. Both have recently been featured in news stories in the Columbus Dispatch, Newark Advocate, and on TV.
- There are mounting concerns about the criminalization and lack of compassion for homeless people in our community. See Newark Advocate: https://www.newarkadvocate.com/story/news/local/2019/03/19/outrage-removal-homeless-camps-shared-newark-city-council/3211122002/
- An effort to offer a clean needle exchange program in Licking County was voted down 8-0 by the Licking County Board of Health despite the support of Licking County Health Commissioner, Joe Ebel, the Ohio Department of Health, Licking Memorial Hospital, and Mental Health America, and the CDC. See Harm Reduction Ohio: https://www.harmreductionohio.org/licking-county-health-board-rejects-syringe-program-in-unannounced-vote/
- The spread of blood born diseases that syringe programs control, including HIV, Hepatitis C & B has significantly increased here in Licking County.
- There are many ways citizens can help address the concerns raised. See “Ways You Can Help” Handout included in Meeting Notes below.
Newark Homeless Outreach: Concerns about the criminalization and lack of compassion for homeless people in our community.
Trish Perry and Jen Kanagy are community volunteers who worked together to form the Newark Homeless Outreach. With the help of other community volunteers, Trish and Jen have been handing out food and clothing to 60-80 homeless people on the corner of Buena Vista and East Main St. in Newark on Saturdays from noon to 3. They have developed ongoing relationships with the people they serve, many of who live under bridges, in tents, and in vacant housing. About half of them are dealing with addiction. The homeless have little food and limited access to clean drinking water since there are no public drinking fountains in the downtown area. They receive little medical care. Those with addictions often have abscesses and hepatitis from the use of dirty needles which are shared among users. Users are often hesitant to go to the Licking Memorial Hospital for treatment because of warrant checks that can lead to their arrest.
Jen described her experience at Newark City Council after a tent site used by the several homeless men was destroyed by the city. The Council denied knowledge of the destruction. Finally, Jen obtained the police report and confronted Council once again. Some council persons will be visiting Jen’s outreach to see the folks who are homeless and learn more about how to help them. In a somewhat fractious council meeting with a standing room-only crowd of concerned citizens, Jen called for the city officials to stop criminalizing homelessness and dehumanizing people. Mayor Hall did not speak to the issue during the council meeting.
Billy McCall, age 35, spoke from his perspective as a recovering addict. He said we need to listen to people, feed them, and house them before they can address their larger problem of addiction. This is nothing more than Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in which people need food and shelter first, and then can address other needs. He said with this kind of help, people can change their lives. Billy is now a small businessman earning a living in Newark and giving back to the people who helped him.
Harm Reduction Ohio: Licking County Health Board voted down proposals for a clean needle exchange program in Licking County despite concerns for the spread of hepatitis and other infections.
Dennis Cauchon and Carole Robinson of Harm Reduction Ohio called for forming policies based on health, human rights, and compassion. Their program models science-based public health policies shaped during the AIDS epidemic. One of the most important things we can do for addicted people is to meet them where they are at the moment, offering them help to reduce the harm they face and enable them to stay healthier. This means instituting a needle exchange program. People come in for needles, and this becomes a point of compassionate contact, where, when they are ready, they can receive more help. It also prevents the spread of hepatitis and other infections from using dirty needles.
Dennis and Billy spoke of the Board of Health meetings they attended over several months to educate and explain how a needle exchange program could work in Licking County. Even though the Health Department itself, Licking Memorial Hospital, Mental Health America and many other agencies support this program, the Health Board voted it down 8-0, going against the recommendations of Joe Ebel, Health Department Director. Licking County is the only county in Ohio which has banned this program. McCall said that one addicted person with serious health issues can cost the health system one million dollars paid by tax payers. Prevention could save that much. This doesn’t even address the cost of the spread of disease, such as hepatitis because many users are working in food service in local businesses. Licking County has suffered increases in the types of health problems that syringe programs control. From 2016 to 2017, the spread of blood borne diseases rose significantly: 22% increase in new HIV cases; 13% increase in Hep C; 16% increase in Hep B.
League of Women Voters of Licking County
Homelessness and Addiction
Newark Homeless Outreach
NPartners: Trish Perry and Jen Kanagy
For more information, see Facebook homepage: Newark Homeless Outreach
Ways You Can Help:
Make a tax-deductible contribution: Ohio CAN (put Newark Homeless Outreach in memo line) Address: Ohio CAN Treasurer: Anna Zsinko, 7831 Diagonal Road, Streetsboro, Ohio 44241.
Volunteer to bring food: On Saturdays bring food to the corner of Buena Vista and East Main in Newark, across from County Jail. Sign up on Newark Homeless Outreach Facebook page, Sign Up Genius. Hot dishes, fruit salads, macaroni and cheese.
Write letters of support: Write letters of concern about homelessness/addiction to Letters to the Editor, local officials, Licking County Board of Health about the need for clean needle exchange. We need to stop criminalizing homelessness.
Donate critical items. These items include hoodies, jeans, boots, coats, camping equipment, such as tents, lanterns for people sleeping outside.
Support fund-raising events: Sign up for a 5K Run or Walk: “Walk a Mile in Our Shoes: May 18th, 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Newark Courthouse Square. Bring a pair of shoes to donate in honor of those who are homeless, have died, or are struggling with addiction. All shoes will be given to those in need.
Harm Reduction Ohio
Dennis Cauchon, President and Carole Robinson, Administrator
For more information: See Facebook homepage: Harm Reduction Ohio
Ways You Can Help:
Make a tax-deductible: contribution to Harm Reduction Ohio at www.harmreductionohio.org/donate/ or send a check or money order to: Harm Reduction Ohio, 935 River Road, Suite G, Granville, Ohio 43023 (we’re above River Road Coffee Shop, stop by anytime and say Hi!)
Write letters of support: Write letters of support to Licking County Board of Health about the need for a clean needle exchange to reduce the spread of infectious disease, reduce syringe litter, protect police and EMTs from accidental needle sticks, and increase the likelihood of someone seeking treatment by 5 times! Send letters to Joe Ebel: Health Commissioner: firstname.lastname@example.org
Get trained and carry Naloxone. You never know when you will be in the position to save a life of a stranger or a loved one. The Licking County Health Department offers a free naloxone kit to Licking County residents through the mail. To participate, just fill out an online survey and watch a training video by clicking https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LCProjectDawn.
Meet the Candidates and Vote411 Profiles
Get ready for the primary election on May 7th!
We are hosting a Meet the Candidates night for the only two races where there are contested seats: Council At-Large, City of Newark; and Municipal Court Judge.
April 10th, 2019
6:30 – 8:00 PM
Licking County Library, Room A
For the Council race, four Democrats are running for three spots. You can find profiles and photos of these candidates now at Vote411.org.
If you do not have a Newark address, but still want to see the profiles, you can put any Newark address on the form to see at your “personalized” ballot. For example, 592 W. Main (43055) worked for me, which happens to be Trinity Lutheran Church. Click Find my Personalized Ballot and then select the race.
FYI, Jan Kanagy, a speaker at our event on Wednesday March 20th about homelessness (7:00 pm at the Denison Art Space in Newark), is one of these candidates, as is Seth Dobbelaer, LWVLC member. The two other candidates are Dan Crawford and incumbent Bill Cost.
The race for Municipal Court Judge has three Republicans and two Democrats running. Profiles of these candidates should be posted at Judicial Votes Count but was not yet when I looked. They are: Matthew George (R), James Hood (R), Deborah Lang (R), Phillip Proctor (D), and Max Sutton (D).
This will be neither a debate nor an exchange with the audience. Rather, candidates will each describe their qualifications and why they are running for office (3 minutes). Candidates in the same race will then be asked to respond to a common question (2 minutes). There will be opportunities to meet and mingle before and after the program. We hope this gives the audience a basic introduction to these candidates and provides an opportunity for comparison.
The program begins promptly at 6:30. Arrive at 6:00 if you wish to have some informal time with the candidates before the program starts.
Mark your calendars!
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR LWV GALA
As part of this year’s State Convention, LWVO will be kicking-off our year-long centennial celebration with our first ever GALA!
During the Inspiring the Next 100 Years Gala, we will be celebrating our first century of Making Democracy Work in Ohio, honoring those who have inspired and powered our journey, and publicly introducing our three-year sustainability campaign, Inspire!
The Inspire! Leadership Fund will provide a sustainable source of support to ensure our continued success and impact as we move into the second century of Making Democracy Work in Ohio. t Tabl
Our Gala committee has been hard at work with the preliminary planning…but we need your help to pull off this big night. We are forming sub-committees to include:
- Attendee Services: responsible for onsite registration, guest services, welcome, nametags, seat assignments (if needed), information station.
- Marketing/Media: responsible for press releases, media coverage (print, television and social), photography.
- Program/Decorations: responsible for helping with gathering the information for the program, table and room decorations.
- Silent Auction: responsible for identifying and contacting possible silent auction donors.
- Sponsors/Donors: responsible for identifying and contacting possible sponsors/donors.
Do you have experience relating to any of these committees? Or want to be a part of planning the inaugural gala for LWVO? We would love to have you join us.
Our goal is to have all of our committees formed by this Friday, February 22nd! Please contact Sherry Rose at email@example.com or 317-409-2962 to learn more or to join one of the sub-committees!
THANK YOU for your dedication and participation,
Deb Peluso and Marlene Muse
LWVO Development Director
19 February 2019
League of Women Voters of Ohio | 614-469-1505 | www.lwvohio.org
Voter Registration Drive
Dear Members and Friends of the League,
Voter registration at high schools is best done in the spring when more students have reached (or are approaching) the age of 18. Anne Goodge is already starting to plan our spring registration drive, beginning with contacting the administrators for permissions.
Are you interested in joining the pool of volunteers who carry out this basic service? The work is typically done in groups of 2 or 3 and takes place over the lunch period. We have about a dozen schools in Licking County, although we may not be able to get to all of them. But let’s try.
Whether you can commit to do any will depend on the specific dates and times, I know, but Anne will communicate those to us later. For now we are just trying to rally a pool of (potential) volunteers for this big task.
Please respond directly to Anne to put your name on the list of volunteers: Anne.Goodge@gmail.com
Can you be a mentor to high school girls?
It’s been almost 100 years since women gained the right to vote, and yet women are a tiny minority among our elected leaders in Licking County. Let’s do something about that gender gap!
Funded by a grant from the Women’s Fund and the LWV Ohio, we are starting an exciting new citizenship/leadership development program for high school girls. We can support up to 20 girls working in small groups of two or three with an adult mentor. We will arrange a variety of opportunities for these small groups where the girls can learn first-hand about government or politics, and at the same time, begin to reflect on their own potential for engagement and leadership.
Typically, the mentor will accompany 2-3 girls to an event (e.g., a village council meeting, a political speaker, a feature film such as RBG, a march or rally) and then participate with them in discussion about what they saw and learned. Did they learn something about how local government works? Are they interested in engaging in such activities themselves in the future? Which of the participants they observed were the most effective and why?
The girls must commit to at least three such events/discussions over the course of the coming spring semester. All the students should be registered to vote by the end of the program if they are of age. Each will receive a complimentary student membership in the League, and those who fulfill the requirements will be awarded a certificate of completion.
The mentor will be a facilitator rather than teacher. Mentors should be good communicators, adept at texting as well as using email. Especially, mentors should be good listeners who encourage the students to explore and express their own ideas and opinions.
Mentors should commit to at least three events over the course of the spring semester. (Estimating no more than 5 hours for each event – communicating and organizing, attending the event, and the discussion afterward- you might estimate spending 15 hours in this work.) Mentors should consider whether they can offer to recommend these students if they apply for a job or some other opportunity in the future.
With an estimated 20 girls in this program from the Newark-Granville area we will need 6-7 mentors. Can you help with this initiative? Mentors will start by meeting among themselves to brainstorm about possible events and talk about how to be effective in the role.
Reply to this message or call/text me 740-525-2287 by Friday, January 11th if you want to participate.
Or contact me first to find out more.
Calling for Convention Volunteers
I’m helping the LWVO staff recruit volunteers for the LWVO Convention on May 10-12. We figured that most volunteers would come from either the Metro Columbus, Licking County or Delaware County Leagues, due to proximity to the convention location. I’ve put together a Signup Genius for people to signup to volunteer. Would you be able to post this to your membership? I’ll be circulating this to the Franklin County members, as well.
Here is the link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e054ba4a72ea6f85-volunteer
If anyone has any questions about volunteering, feel free to direct them to me! Thanks for your help.
Members are the heart of LWVO’s success, and we need YOUR help with the 2019 State Convention! We need League members from Central Ohio to join the 2019 Convention Planning Committee (CPC). The 2019 State Convention will be held on May 10-12, 2019 at the Nationwide Hotel and Conference Center at Lewis Center, Ohio. Some of tasks of CPC include:
- Recruiting and training on-site volunteers (registration, set-up, etc…)
- Helping with space set up
- Finding sponsors for meals and snack breaks
- Other activities as needed
If you are able and willing to commit your time to the convention as a planning committee member, please contact Jen Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this exciting League event. Thank you! League of Women Voters of Ohio
League of Women Voters of Ohio | 614-469-1505 | www.lwvohio.org
MIGRANT WORKERS IN LICKING COUNTY:
The Hands That Feed Us
Key Points of the Presentation:
• Immigrant labor and families are essential to our agricultural economy. In the U.S. about 2.5 million farmworkers are hired annually. The average family income averages $17,000 to $19,000 a year. Most of the workers come from Mexico and bring their families, migrating to follow the harvest across the country. About 13,700 migrant workers travel to Ohio through the H2A visa program.
• In Ohio and Licking County, many small farmers depend on migrant labor, such as Branstool Orchards and Shipley’s Dairy Farm. Many of the same families have been coming to Licking County for years and are seen as “dependable and hardworking employees.”
• The work is hard and farmworkers average 14 hour days, from sunrise to sunset. Many under-age children are also working in the fields, working alongside their parents. About 25% of our food picked in the U.S. is by children as young as 6. Children go to school and then join their parents in the field through the afternoon and weekends.
• In 2011, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW), a worker-based human rights organization, launched the Fair Food Program. It is a unique partnership among farmers, farmworkers, and retail food companies that ensures humane wages and working conditions for the workers who pick fruits and vegetables on participating farms. Large companies such as Taco Bell, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s have signed on to this agreement. Other companies, such as Kroger’s and Wendy’s have not.
• Rabbi Jessica explained that we need to do our best to ensure the food we put into our mouths is clean and free of human exploitation—and workers’ basic rights have not been violated—that those who tend the crops weren’t sprayed by pesticides, have adequate living facilities and shade access, and are free from sexual assault in the fields.
• Bryn Bird pointed out that you can help create a fair good system with your food dollars every day. Simple choices make a difference, such as buying in-season produce, avoiding imported and out of season berries. Buy directly from local producers who respect worker rights and where you can ask about farmworker conditions. You can also join a local CSA program and purchase meat and dairy products from those who use independent meat processing facilities.
Thanks to Bryn Bird, here is a list of Farmworker Justice Resources:
– Books, – Support Organizations, – Documentaries
LINK: Farmworker Justice Resources (004)
Please note that unlike many large companies, both Kroger’s and Wendy’s –have not signed on to the Fair Food Program. Out of concern, League member Karen Semer did some more research and wrote the below letter to Kroger about her concerns. You can help by writing a similar letter to:
The Kroger Co.
1014 Vine Street
Cincinnati, OH 45202-1100
Wendy’s Customer Relations
1 Dave Thomas Blvd.
Dublin, OH 43017
The Kroger Co.
1014 Vine Street
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-1100
I am a frequent Kroger shopper (we really like the new store in Newark Ohio). I recently attended a community discussion about the people who harvest our food; the agricultural workers in Ohio and elsewhere. I heard some sad and disturbing stories about the working and living conditions of these people.
I would gladly pay a few cents more a pound for produce, if I knew my store supported the conditions of the Fair Food Standards Council. I have looked over the info on your website about your social responsibility audit program, but that program only appears to apply to the last link in the supply chain.
I ask you to please join the Fair Food Program. I’m sure it is not perfect; but it is a largely successful program. Elements of the Fair Food Program that are important to me include the following that Participating Growers have agreed to:
- Compliance with the human rights-based Code of Conduct, including zero tolerance for forced labor, child labor and sexual assault;
- Health and safety committees on every farm to give workers a structured voice in the shape of their work environment;
- Specific and concrete changes in harvesting operations to improve workers’ wages and working conditions, including the provision of shade in the fields, and the use of time clocks to record and count all compensable hours accurately; and
- Ongoing auditing of the farms by the Fair Food Standards Council to insure compliance with each element of the program.
Please leverage the massive buying power of the Kroger to ensure that farm workers are fairly treated. It is the right thing to do.
July Fourth Festival Report and Thanks
Dear Friends in League,
Our “haul” for working at the Granville Fourth of July Festival and Farmer’s Market, July 4 – July 7, was 17 new registrations and 3 updated ones. Those are only the most obvious results. Harder to enumerate are the number of times we asked people if they knew about the Special Election (SO many did not!) and proceeded to explain, the absentee ballots we handed out, the times we addressed concerns about purging and other matters.
For one couple who were updating their address to Granville township, I was able to explain where their polling place was. Of course, we also pointed people to our LWVLC website and handed out a few membership forms as well.
We need to imagine our Voter Services tables more expansively than simply registering new voters, although that is very important. From now on, we will include in the tub of supplies a folder of FAQs on various topics — election security, voter purging, absentee voting — so that volunteers will be supported when answering such questions.
I had hoped for “a small army of volunteers” and that is exactly what we got. Thank you to everyone who played a part.
• Thanks, above all, to Anne Goodge, who organized the time slots and handled the logistics of setting up and taking down each day.
These contributions were also key:
• Anita Carroll gave us space in front of the Granville Public Library
• Steve Matheny and Christine Ramsey let us use their tent. Essential in that hot weather!
• Maija Bamfordlet us stash the tent and table at her house over night.
Finally, thanks to that small army of volunteers who showed up to share the work and the camaraderie under the tent. You made it look like fun:
Cathy Dollard Burczak
Michelle Newman Brady
Anne and I will be sitting down together soon to see what we learned from the experience and how to do it better going forward. If any of you volunteers have experiences or ideas along those lines, please reply to share them with me.