What Are Topic Meetings
Topic meetings are opportunities to learn about or discuss a particular topic of interest to our members and our community. Topic meetings are held throughout the year, at different times and venues. Information about upcoming topic meetings are included in the LWVN weekly news updates and on our Facebook page. You can also find information about our upcoming topic meetings by consulting the homepage of this website, and checking the calendar.
LWVN members with ideas for topic meeting topics or other issues of concern that they would like to hear addressed, should contact us.
Members of the public are welcome to attend!
Topic Meetings 2021-2022
February 3, 2022 (Thursday, 7:00-8:00pm). Getting to Zero Waste. Karen Slote of the Newton Sustainable Materials Management Commission, will be presenting information about the recommendations being made by the Commission to set Newton on the path towards zero waste. The recommendations to be presented for achieving zero waste are outlined in the Report released recently by the Newton Sustainable Materials Management Commission.
Leadership Now is a membership organization of business and thought leaders taking action to fix American democracy. Many of its principles are the same as the League of Women Voters. One of its core principles is the relentless defense of democracy – from the checks and balances of leadership to freedom of the press. Ending gerrymandering, ensuring voter access, and pursuing campaign finance reform are examples of essential changes needed to renew our democracy.
What We Have Already Learned
Sunday, January 9, 2022 3-4:30pm. Community Book Group, Where Do we Go From Here: Chaos or Community, by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We had an interesting discussion of Dr. King’s views on racial and social justice, and how the views expressed by him in 1967 have changed or stayed the same.
If you would like to further explore the themes raised by Dr. King in this book, we would suggest you use this Study Guide for additional resources.
December 9, 2021 (Thursday, 7:00-8:00pm) – An Educational Forum on the American Rescue Plan Act and Its Impact on Newton. LWVN co-sponsored an educational forum, together with U-CHAN, regarding the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Lizzi Weyant, Director of Government Affairs at the Metropolitan Area Council, gave an overview of ARPA and discussed the eligible uses of ARPA funding in support of an actionable plan to lay the groundwork of a strong and equitable recovery to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts in Newton.
Watch the video of the presentation.
For further information on ARPA, read the ARPA Fact Sheet issued by the U.S Treasury.
December 6, 2021 (Monday, 7:30-8:30pm) – A Conversation with Congressman Jake Auchincloss. LWVN, together with Brookline, Needham, Sharon-Stoughton, and Wellesley Leagues of Women Voters, hosted a conversation on Zoom with Congressman Jake Auchincloss, in which we heard about the Congressman’s legislative accomplishments from the past year and discussed the upcoming congressional session and redistricting of the 4th district. Congressman Auchincloss talked about three main areas of focus: (i) protecting the integrity of the vote and the foundations of our democracy, (ii) infrastructure, and (iii) COVID. Following the Congressman’s remarks, he answered questions from each of the leagues and from the audience.
September 13, 2021 (Monday, 7:00-8:00pm) – Reimaging our Village Centers. As part of the City’s community engagement efforts related to the redesign of the City’s Zoning Code, LWVN invited community members to get together to share their experiences of, and their future visions for, their village centers. The City will use the input generated by this meeting to help it identify areas of research for how to update zoning for village centers.
Read here for more information on the City’s Zoning Code redesign process, and the results of its community engagement with regard to village centers.
May 25, 2021 (Tuesday, 7:30-8:30pm) – Voices of the Next Generation: A Youth Panel on Civic Action. A riveting and thought provoking conversation with Newton’s younger generation exploring the issues surrounding youth engagement in civic action. This conversation will be facilitated by Nickki Dawes, PhD (Director of Center for Community-Based Learning & Associate Professor of Psychology, Lasell University) and included panelists include: Rachel Alpert-Wisnia, Emma Applbaum, Ethan Dhadly, Elianna Kruskal, Edie Pike, and Laila Polk-Thomas.
Read this article from the New York Times: “An Army of 16-Year-Olds’ Take on the Democrats”, about how young progressives have made an impact on the Massachusetts election scene.
March 10, 2021 (Tuesday, 7:00-8:30pm) – Representing the 4th: A Conversation with Barney Frank, Joe Kennedy III, and Jake Auchincloss. More than 300 people joined us for this informative and entertaining conversation with the three most recent representatives to the 4th Congressional District, all Newtonites.
View a recording of the conversation.
Read more about the 4th Congressional District and our representatives.
February 22, 2021 (Monday, 7:00-8:00pm) – Over 70 people joined us for a roundtable discussion on the Use and Preservation of Crystal Lake, with the Crystal Lake Conservancy. The Crystal Lake Conservancy began the discussion with a presentation on the environmental sustainability of the Lake. The discussion went on to explore questions such as:
- How the rules and regulations regarding the use of the Lake for swimming, boating and fishing compliment the environmental concerns regarding the use of the Lake?
- How do they compete with those environmental concerns?
- Do the current rules and regulations concerning the use of the Lake best meet the desires of the general public to use the Lake as a resource for recreation?
View a recording of the discussion.
January 10, 2021 (Sunday, 3:00-4:30pm). An intimate group of LWVN members and members of the community participated in an interesting and lively discussion of the book Factfulness. Factfulness explains how our worldview has been distorted with the rise of new media, how ten common human instincts can prevent us from seeing the world factfully, and how we can learn to overcome these innate biases to help separate fact from fiction when forming our opinions and to see the world more positively.
If you are interested in the topic, here are some additional resources to explore:
On November 19th, Jay Walter, a Newton resident and experienced local architect, helped us to learn about the the changes the City Council is proposing to Newton’s current Zoning Ordinance, how those changes differ from current zoning, and what effect those changes will have on our community. View the presentation and audience Q&A.
With almost 90 participants, we had more questions than time to answer them. See answers to questions not addressed at the presentation.
November 17, 2020 (Tuesday, 6:30-8:00pm). The Color of Law, A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America
LWVN joined with the Newton Free Library and Families Organizing for Racial Justice (FORJ) for a presentation by author Richard Rothstein who argued with exacting precision and fascinating insight how segregation in America is the byproduct of explicit government policies at the local, state and federal levels, and offered several concrete suggestions for how to address the housing and economic inequities caused by these policies.
During this virtual session, attendees also heard a conversation between library director, Ellen Meyers, and community activist, Richard Evans, who told his family’s story of encountering discrimination in the 1960’s during the state’s eminent domain taking of land for the construction of the Mass Pike bypass through Newton.
To wrap up the session, Newton City Councilor Deb Crossley introduced attendees to the efforts being made by the City Council to address housing inequities in Newton by engaging in a comprehensive review of Newton’s zoning codes.