On Sunday, January 28, 2024, LWVN, together with LWVMA and the Brookline, Needham, Wayland and Wellesley leagues, co-sponsored a book signing event Ellen Clegg, former editor of the Boston Globe, and Dan Kennedy, professor of journalism at Northeastern University, co-authors of a book called What Works in Community News. The event was a success and donations exceeded expectations.
Gender Queer Book Group Discussion. About 15 LWVN members gathered at the Waban Library Center on Sunday, December 3, 2023, to participate in a book group discussion on the book Gender Queer and on banned books. We had an interesting and lively discussion on the book, the struggles the author faced confronting er sexuality and gender identity, the use of pronouns, whether this was a book that should be banned, and whether the League should take a position on banned books generally. The discussion was coupled with a nice spread of refreshments and holiday cheer.
We thank the Waban Library for the use of their beautiful library. We appreciated the warmth, coziness and intimacy of the setting as well as (unbeknownst to us beforehand) their display of banned books and their support of providing access to banned books.
For those who could not join us, below is some information on the book Gender Queer, and on banned books generally.
The Board intends on exploring further the question of whether the League should have a position on banned books. If you have an opinion on this, or if you have encountered a book ban anywhere in the Newton library system (whether at public libraries or school libraries), please Contact Us.
In this virtual topic meeting, Ruth Bourquin, Senior & Managing Attorney for the ACLU Massachusetts, reviews anti-LGBTQIA+ activities happening today both in Massachusetts and across the country, and offers talking points, action tips, and other ways to push back against this growing tide. She is introduced by Newton City Councilor Holly Ryan, who also moderates Q & A from the audience. Ms. Bourquin’s presentation is posted below the video.
On Monday, March 6, 2023, the League of Women Voters of Newton hosted the four members of Newton’s state legislative delegation – Sen. Cynthia Creem, Rep. Kay Khan, Rep. Ruth Balser, and Rep. John Lawn – to discuss their roles and responsibilities in the state legislature. Each official made an opening statement, sharing about legislation they are supporting, followed by a Q & A session with the audience.
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On February 15, the League of Women Voters of Brookline, Newton, Needham, Sharon-Stoughton, and Wellesley hosted a Q & A conversation with Congressman Jake Auchincloss, of the Massachusetts 4th District. After brief introductory remarks, Congressman Auchincloss answered a question from each of the sponsoring Leagues, followed by questions from the audience.
Members who attended the February 7th member meeting on the 2023 override proposal voted unanimously in favor of supporting the 3 ballot question package.
Members heard from Christine Dutt, co-chair of Vote Yes for Newton, about the history of Prop 2 ½, how overrides are used in other municipalities and have been used in Newton in the past, and what the current proposal offers Newton residents. Leaders of No Override Newton were also invited to present, but the group did not participate. The address for the No Override Newton website, which had launched earlier in the day, was shared with the group, and some Newton Taxpayer Association videos expressing the “vote no” position had been shared prior to the meeting.
Following the Vote Yes for Newton presentation, LWVN president, Marcia Johnson, shared slides containing information compiled by LWVN member Jane Harper that outlined how each provision of the override package aligns with LWVN positions in the areas of Land Use, Human Services, Environmental Quality, and Transportation.
Debbie Winnick, of the LWV of Cape Cod, facilitated a question and answer period before the question of whether LWVN should “support the passage of Newton’s 2023 override proposal” was put to a vote. Attendance at the meeting exceeded the requirements for a quorum, and all 26 members attending voted in favor.