The League of Women Voters of Sussex County will celebrate the 90th birthday of the league's founding at its Anniversary Tea, Sunday, Feb. 14, at the Zwaanendael Club, Third Street and Savannah Road, in Lewes from 2:30–4 p.m.
For reservations, send a check for $20 to LWVSC, PO Box 474, Nassau, DE 19969. $15 of the charge is tax-deductible.
The LWV of the US, a nonpartisan political organization that works to improve our system of government and impact public policies through citizen education and advocacy, is celebrating the day of its founding on Feb. 14, 1920 and continuing with other celebrations throughout the year to highlight the birth of the League and passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution giving women the right to vote that same year.
“The women who started the movement to give women the right to vote really didn’t know where it would end, how it would end, or when it would end,” said League of Women Voters national president, Mary G. Wilson. “And yet they persevered in a time when it wasn’t fashionable for women to speak out on any issue – let alone try to get some rights for themselves. They worked against all odds – and succeeded.”
In 1920, after a 72-year struggle, passage of the 19th amendment appeared to be imminent, and members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association met to form the League of Women Voters, the organization to educate the newly franchised women to effectively use the vote.
In 1920, LWV founder Carrie Chapman Catt urged the new organization to “finish the fight” and to work to end all discrimination against women. Initially, the LWV was primarily concerned with the status and rights of women and women’s issues, but interests were gradually expanded to include issues affecting men as well as women. Today, the LWV works to effect change on a wide variety of issues in the areas of Representative Government, International Relations, Natural Resources and Social Policy.
Many men supported the suffragists in the early days of the fight to pass the 19th Amendment, and men continued to be supportive of the LWV over the years. In 1973, the LWV invited men to join the organization, and their numbers continue to increase amounting to almost 25% of the membership in Sussex County.
The LWV is organized on three levels – national, state, and local. The national organization has headquarters in Washington D.C. Fifty state Leagues are mostly headquartered in state capitols. The LWV of Sussex County is one of more than 800 local Leagues throughout the US. Sussex County member Sandy Spence currently serves as President of the LWV of Delaware and Valerie Driscoll is state treasurer.
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The LWV of Sussex County has a series of public forums on aspects of land use underway with one focused on transportation and housing scheduled for February 10, land use and the environment on March 10 and concluding with Quality of Life and Smart Growth on April 14. In addition, the League holds a monthly “Fun Lunch” at various locations around the county to encourage interaction and lively discussion of local issues among members.