Women’s Equality Day, the 19th Amendment and the League of Women Voters
Women’s Equality Day, celebrated each year on August 26th, is also the day the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote, was certified making it part of the US Constitution. This year the date is even more significant as we also celebrate the ratification of the 19th Amendment which took place on August 18th, 1920.
Passage of the 19th Amendment marked the largest expansion of democracy in the history of our country. The women who fought for suffrage over 100 years ago never wavered in their determination to win the right to vote. Today, members of the League of Women Voters locally and nationally continue that mission of defending democracy, fighting voter suppression and making voting available to all.
Suffragists began their organized fight for women’s equality in 1848 when they demanded the right to vote during the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, New York. For the next 72 years, women lobbied, marched, picketed, and protested for the right to the ballot. The U.S. House of Representatives finally approved the Susan B. Anthony Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote, on May 21, 1919. Following a ratification process, that lasted over a year, a proclamation declaring the 19th Amendment ratified, and part of the Constitution was issued on August 26, 1920, forever protecting the right to vote for American women.
The League of Women Voters grew out of the suffrage movement and was founded just before the 19th Amendment was ratified. The founding members most probably never imagined that the organization would persist for 100 years and still be as relevant in 2020 as it was in 1920.
The League diversified its membership over time, admitting men in 1972 and later eliminating the citizenship requirement for membership. Recently it has begun to come to terms with its past by openly admitting that it has not always been supportive and welcoming to women of color. Even during the Civil Rights movement, it is painful to acknowledge that the League was only supportive from a distance. It was not until 1966 that a position to combat discrimination was introduced.
With the current focus on the Black Lives Matter movement and the importance of facing up to the impact of both systemic racism and white privilege the League of Women Voters has pledged to embrace diversity and grow an organization that will reflect and serve underrepresented communities nationwide. Current national and local leaders are working to address this legacy by actively building an organization that is inclusive and welcoming to women and men of color.
Here in Brevard County, the League of Women Voters of the Space Coast [LWVSC] formed in 1979 from several separate chapters. It continues its core mission of over 40 years as a nonpartisan political organization. LWVSC encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
Just like the suffragists of the past, and despite the COVID-19 virus, we will not be deterred. League of Women Voters of the Space Coast welcomes all Brevard residents to join with us to continue providing voter registration information and education and to continue our mission of Making Democracy Work.
Thank you for all that you do.
Stay well, stay strong and take care!
Meeting the COVID-19 Challenge
Our Guest Speaker is Dr. Mark Mullins, Superintendent of Brevard Public Schools
Date - Saturday, September 12th
Time - 12 Noon to 1:30
This will a Virtual Presentation.
It is free and open to the public.
Registration is now open.
A Zoom link will be sent to registrants 24 hours before the presentation.
Volunteer of the Month
Congratulations to Fran Baer, LWV of the Space Coast's (LWVSC) volunteer of the month. Fran is currently Chair of the Education Committee and served as President from 2014-2017. She joined LWVSC after a long and successful career with Brevard Public Schools (BPS). Today, she continues to use her passion and experience as an educator to advance advocacy for legislative issues that will improve education in Florida both at a local and state level.
When not working on education issues Fran leads LWVSC to success in other ways. Recently she pioneered a highly successful Virtual Silent Auction. She was also the inspiration for the planning and execution of an event celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment. Fran and her committee were able to respond to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and by transforming the event to an entirely virtual platform. Fran is a true leader, a mentor and an inspiration to us all. Thank you, Fran, for your dedication and service to LWV of the Space Coast.
The League of Women Voters of the Space Coast (LWVSC), FLORIDA TODAY, and Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) are continuing to co-sponsor a series of candidate forums as we approach the November general election. Due to COVID-19, forums are conducted remotely via the live streaming platform StreamYard. FLORIDA TODAY Engagement Editor Isadora Rangel is the moderator of the forums.
The remaining forum schedule is as follows:
Sept. 15 at noon: Melbourne mayor
Sept. 15 at 2 p.m.: Cocoa mayor
Sept. 24 at 7 p.m.: County Commission District 1
Oct. 1 at noon: County Commission District 5
Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.: Sheriff
Part of the LWVSC responsibility for the forums is to furnish questions to be posed to the candidates. Obtaining questions from a wide range of citizens with varied knowledge of issues will ensure we gain a better insight into the candidates’ views on the challenges facing us in Brevard County.
Your assistance is very much needed in this effort. Please send your forum questions to LWVSC 1st Vice President Rob Grisar at firstname.lastname@example.org
It would be helpful if your responses note which race is being covered.
You can contact Rob at 321-783-6995.
National Voter Registration Day 2020
by Ruth Lambert, Voter Services Committee
National Voter Registration Day is less than one month away. It is a call to action for groups, individuals and organizations to get the word out about the importance of Registering to Vote.
* National Voter Registration Day celebrates our democracy. Since 2012, it has become an important outreach moment in the run-up to the November elections.
* In 2019, considered an off-year election 473,725 citizens became registered to vote on this date. The challenge is greater in 2020 with COVID-19 preventing most in-person voter registration events.
* Each year, local partners engage as many as 20,000 volunteers!
* Join us on September 22, 2020 with your friends, family or organization.
Our goal is to take the mystery and anxiety out of voter registration!
By using technology, and with the help of our partners and volunteers, we educate Americans about how to:
(1) register to vote;
(2) sign up for election reminders;
(3) request mail-in/absentee ballots; and
(4) learn about early voting options.
Please participate this year by sharing the Space Coast League of Women Voters Outreach material — such as the 2020 Voting Calendar! — on social media.
Find it on the League Home webpage here:www.lwvsc.clubexpress.com
In this election year, NPV is becoming an ever more frequent topic of conversation. The National Popular Vote idea uses our existing Electoral College system by eliminating the winner-take-all procedure at the state level and transferring it to the country as one entirety, rather than as fifty separate states. It’s a system in which each individual vote is considered in the total count, rather than being eliminated at the state level; and using NPV doesn’t require a constitutional amendment. If this seems confusing, or if you would like to know more, check out what your National League is on the cusp of providing you. Through access to several web resources, your League will present clarifying resources and ongoing updates to the status of this nationwide movement.
For the past two years, a National League Task Force on NPV has been working on creating some resources that can be helpful as you educate your League members and the general public on this important issue. Coming soon is a PowerPoint presentation for your use, a webinar involving League members well versed on NPV issues, and a listserv that you may wish to join both to keep tabs on the progress of NPV and to tap into the national conversation. A blog and more information will soon be added to the pages. The current link for this developing site is https://www.lwv.org/NPVtaskforce. I urge you to check it out. I’ll keep you posted as new resources arrive. I urge you to check it out. I’ll keep you posted as new resources arrive.
Submitted by Sharon Reynolds-Mixon
| |Silent Auction By The Numbers 2020
80 items submitted for bids
43 items received bids
12 cash donations
Total Raised: $2812
To all who donated items, to all who bid on the items, to all who made cash donations, to all who arranged for the transfers, to League members, old, new, and soon-to-be, your generosity, interest, and support are greatly appreciated.
To the committee members, Kathy Ebersberger, Sue Ebersberger, Audrey Grayson, Terry LaPlante, and Barbara Williams, who set up the many Zoom conferences, whose technological skills made it all possible, whose creativity developed the flyers, and to President Jo Shim who offered encouragement, a heartfelt thank you.
The next step is to decide if this Silent Auction is worthy as an annual event, and if so, how can we improve the process. As always, your suggestions are welcomed. Contact:email@example.com
Brevard’s Schools are now open. “What Do They Look Like In This COVID Challenge” is the subject of our September 12th Education Hot Topic on Zoom. Our guest is Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Mark Mullins. It’s been two years since we have heard from Dr. Mullins and a lot has happened and changed. We look forward to an informative, interactive exchange. Please register on Club Express so the Superintendent can see the importance our children’s education is to the League.
With the unknown and unsettled school situation, it is comforting to hear some positives. Dr. Synthia Doaks, School Director of the Community Partnership Program at Endeavour Elementary in Cocoa joined us at our August Zoom Education Committee Meeting.
Brevard Public Schools, Brevard Health Alliance, Children’s Home Society, City of Cocoa, Eastern Florida State College and University of Central Florida have joined together to form a Hub on Endeavour campus focused on student success in school and beyond. By addressing barriers that interfere with education, like hunger, poverty, inadequate access to health, dental, and mental care, Endeavour has seen an improved ranking and greater parent involvement. Last school year, 30 family events and activities attracted 3,348 family members in support of their 650 pre-kindergarten through 6th grade student population. When we asked Dr. Doaks what the League can do to help this program, she emphasized mentors and pen pals in this age of social distancing as well as volunteers to sort donated clothing, and volunteer interpreters to assist the high percentage of English as a second language families.
Contact Synthia Doaks at 321 633-3545 Ext. 3183.
Endeavour is Brevard’s only Community Partnership School. With its continued success, Brevard may want to replicate this concept as our community looks for the best way forward. Thank you, Dr. Doaks, for enlightening us.
Submitted by Fran Baer, Chair of the Education Committee
| The Board recently held a meeting to decide what priorities we would like to focus on in the 1921 Florida legislative session. It was a heartbreaking session. While the need to prioritize is necessary, the financial effects of the pandemic on the state budget will likely decimate the limited Social Justice programs that are now available. Just when the need has exploded! |
The Social Justice committee continues to work to expand the availability of Medicaid, which is even more important in light of the pandemic and the increase in unemployment. We need to support the funding of critical care services, such as KidCare, mental health clinics, substance abuse, and expanded dental care, all while the legislature will be seeking to trim the budget. We can’t lose focus on our support of access to abortion and family planning services and our opposition to state funding of anti-abortion women’s health centers.
We need to continue to work to improve access to affordable housing, which will be crucial when the ban on evictions ends. The state unemployment system has failed miserably, which has only served to highlight the massive limits to the program as it only provides a maximum of $275 per week, the third lowest maximum weekly benefit in the nation.
Our county commissioners have agreed to seek to allow the open carry of firearms at a time when tempers are high. We find ourselves needing to oppose the loosening of gun laws while supporting universal background checks, banning assault weapons, and improving red flag laws as domestic violence and gun ownership rates are rising.
Not to mention that the nation is crying for police reform and a justice system free of systemic racism.
There is so much to be done in this challenging time. The Social Justice Committee has a wide-ranging program of work. Please join us on the third Monday of the month at 6 pm via Zoom. We welcome your help. For more information contact Kathy Ebersberger, 303-817-8314 or Brooke Deratany Goldfarb, 321-626-2858, co-chairs.
Low Impact Development
by Maureen Rupe
Low Impact Development (LID) is practiced all over the country and the state. Many counties and states even have technical manuals on putting these practices in place. Brevard County could allow building on what the land is currently zoned for and it would never come up for rezoning. The problem is developers around the county are requesting an increased density so they can build more homes on their property and thus increase profits.
The St John’s River Water Management District website on LID gives a good overview:
“Low impact development (LID) is an approach to land development that uses various land planning, design and construction practices to simultaneously conserve and protect natural resource systems while reducing infrastructure costs. LID stands apart from other concepts through its emphasis on cost-effective strategies at the lot level. Designing an individual site to replicate pre-development hydrology can reduce the project’s impacts on natural systems.
LID strategies move away from a centralized method of collecting, conveying and discharging water to one that minimizes both impervious areas and stores and treats storm water in a more distributed fashion, sometimes even on the individual lot level.”
“Some of the common LID practices include vegetated swales, buffers and strips; streets without curbs and gutters; curb cutaways for median storage; end-of-island bio-retention cells; permeable pavers; green roofs; rain gardens, bio-retention, rain barrels or cisterns; tree or natural area preservation; in-ground infiltration and storage; and green build programs such as Florida Water StarSM.”
One of these Centralized methods that is not working as was intended is storm water ponds. Florida development relies on storm water ponds to protect storm water getting into our rivers and lakes. According to the University of Florida, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Blog by Tory Moore, “A statewide study conducted by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection found that storm water ponds are not as effective at preventing nutrients from entering surface and groundwater as originally thought. Instead of the assumed metric of 80 percent removal of nitrogen and phosphorous, less than 50 percent of nitrogen is removed in storm water ponds, and conditions for removing 80 percent of phosphorus are rarely achieved.”
It also stated “Different LID techniques include permeable pavements which allow water to drain through the surface rapidly. The pavement is strong enough to withstand driving and parking and enables storm water management right at the source, replacing areas that would typically create runoff." This year’s Senate Bill 712 that was signed by Governor DeSantis on June 30, 2020 states “By January 1, 2021, the department and water management districts shall initiate amending the Environmental Resource Permit Applicant’s Handbook to include revised best management practices design criteria and low-impact design best management practice and design criteria that increase the removal of nutrients from storm water discharges emanating from all new development and redevelopment projects, and measures for consistent application of the net improvement performance standard to ensure that new pollutant loadings are not discharged into impaired water bodies." The trouble is SB712 gave a start date and not a finish date. Low Impact Design has long upheld best practices in many cities, counties and states so this should be a long drawn out process but could be based on the actual SB712 wording.
The Marine Resource Council is right to strongly recommend that Florida incorporate Low Impact Design as the new standard and amend appropriate regulations and permitting rules to make this paradigm shift in development. The current pace of growth in the watershed demands that we act now for our Lagoon’s future.
A Tree Grows in Brevard
by Terry Mott
The LWVSC Sustainability Committee has just launched a one-year campaign to promote the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 15: Life on Land.
The objective of Goal No. 15--which is one of 17 goals created in 2015 by 193 United Nations Member States to meet the myriad challenges facing the world--is to:
● Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems,
● Sustainably manage forests,
● Combat desertification,
● Halt and reverse land degradation, and
● Halt biodiversity loss.
According to the United Nations Goal No. 15 report on forests:
● Around 1.6 billion people depend on forests for their livelihood, including 70 million indigenous people;
● Forests are home to more than 80 percent of all terrestrial species of animals, plants and insects;
● Between 2010 and 2015, the world lost 3.3 million hectares of forest areas. Poor rural women depend on common pool resources and are especially affected by their depletion; and
● Currently, land degradation has reduced productivity in 23 percent of the global terrestrial area, and between $235 billion and $577 billion in annual global crop output is at risk as a result of pollinator loss.
Further, a 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services by The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) states that: the health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever, affecting the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide.
In light of the above statistics, the goal of the Sustainability Committee’s campaign is to help halt biodiversity loss through the planting of native trees. The Committee hopes the campaign--which is entitled 100,000 Trees for America~One Million Trees for the World--will inspire the planting of one native tree in each of the following: Brevard County municipalities and unincorporated areas, Florida counties, US states and territories, and the 193 United Nations Member states that created the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals. The Committee will solicit the help of volunteer Tree Ambassadors to join the campaign and inspire the planting of native trees within their respective areas.
Members of the LWVSC’s Sustainability Committee will track and post where the trees are planted, and participants in the campaign will be invited to share their related stories. The program is open to the general public, and additional details can be found under "Initiatives" on the Committee's web page at: Sustainability Page
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Additional Important News
Welcome to our New Members
Mary and Harry Deffebach, Britney Coffey, Nancy Koch, Linda Kyvik, Susan Schleith, Kate Rooney-Otero, Josue Otero,
Janet Canfield, Jeanine Ploughman, Yolanda Sanders, Sheela Mullen.
September Zoom Meetings:
Sept. 1st Board Meeting 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 9th New Members Orientation 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sept. 10th Natural Resources Committee Meeting 10:30 a.m. to Noon
Sept. 12th Recycling Committee Meeting 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Sept. 12th Education Hot Topic with Dr. Mark Mullins Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 15th Voter Services Committee Meeting 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 16th Education Committee Meeting 10 a.m. to Noon
Sept. 19th Social Media Committee Meeting 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Sept. 21st Social Justice Committee Meeting 5 p.m.
The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.
Click on one of these options to support us or learn more: