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Your Monthly

February 2023
Message from the Chair
Happy Birthday LWV! 

On February 14, The League of Women Voters will be celebrating 103 years of Empowering Voters and Defending Democracy! Our nonpartisan, grassroots organization has worked diligently for over a century to protect and expand voting rights and ensure everyone is represented in our democracy.

How can you celebrate and support LWV?
  • Spend time learning about the history of LWV. To continue to move forward as an organization, it is important that we understand our history. 
  • Tell a friend about LWV. Do you have a friend that would enjoy working side by side with us as we defend democracy? Invite a friend to an upcoming event so that they can learn more about the organization. 
  • Join a fun virtual birthday pep rally to celebrate LWV on February 14 at 11 am ET. 
  • Show your financial support towards our local efforts which include voter registration and education events right here in our community. 
While the League has been at it for well over a century, our work continues now and into the future to ensure that everyone is represented in our democracy and every vote counts! 

In League,

Courtney Winell
Please join us in welcoming our newest member...

Jill Ann Stallard-Sames
...and celebrating more members marking 5+ years of membership during 2023! 

Sarah Watts Whitford
Linda Davis
Chris VanEyl-Godlin
Bill VanEyl-Godlin
Linda Fedewa
Michael Fedewa
Bettegail Shively
Keep in Touch!

Have you moved or updated your contact information? We want to stay connected with you! 

If you have an updated mailing address, email address, or phone number please email any updates to

Featured Events

LWVGGRA Annual Meeting 

Save the Date! Join us June 4 from 2:00 - 4:00 pm for our LWVGGRA Annual Meeting. During this time we will discuss our annual League business and plan for the year ahead. The annual meeting is a great opportunity to connect with fellow League members. Do you know someone that might be interested in learning more about LWV? If so, please invite them to join us for this annual event.  Details such as location are being finalized and will be shared as soon as they are available. 

April Book Club 

It's time to start reading! Our next book will be Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall. When you purchase your book from Books & Mortar, be sure to mention the LWVGGRA and we will receive 20% of the sale. Copies are currently available so drop in at your convenience. The event is open to League members and the greater community - please invite a friend!

Wednesday, April 26, 6:00 PM
Books & Mortar 
966 Cherry St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506

*Free street parking at time of event

More about the book: Today’s feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. That feminists refuse to prioritize these issues has only exacerbated the age-old problem of both internecine discord and women who rebuff at carrying the title. Moreover, prominent white feminists broadly suffer from their own myopia with regard to how things like race, class, sexual orientation, and ability intersect with gender. How can we stand in solidarity as a movement, Kendall asks, when there is the distinct likelihood that some women are oppressing others?

In her searing collection of essays, Mikki Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement, arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women. Drawing on her own experiences with hunger, violence, and hypersexualization, along with incisive commentary on reproductive rights, politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more, Hood Feminism delivers an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux. An unforgettable debut, Kendall has written a ferocious clarion call to all would-be feminists to live out the true mandate of the movement in thought and in deed.

Save the date for the remaining 2023 book clubs: July 26, October 18. Each event will be held at Books & Mortar at 6:00 PM unless noted otherwise.

Voices on Vital Topics Virtual Speaker Series: Wednesday, February 15 | 7:00 pm 

Join the LWVGGRA for the second event in our Voices on Vital Topics virtual speaker series. On Wednesday, February 15 at 7:00 pm we are pleased to host Deborah Pryor Bayard, the Education Coordinator for The Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA) as we learn about its efforts to preserve and share the stories of our local African American community. 

Oral history, in African culture, was performed by the griots or storytellers. They kept the history and traditions of the family, tribe, and nation, but it was generally considered a masculine job. When Africans were brought to the Americas, that duty shifted to the womenfolk. In recent times that person was a grandmother, granny, nana, grandma, or GRAAMA. The Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives' acronym describes much about their mission: collecting and retelling the rich, colorful stories which compose the historic African American tapestry of living in Grand Rapids.

This event is open to LWV members and to anyone that is interested in learning more about GRAAMA. Use the link below to register in advance for this meeting: 
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Look out for details of next month's presentation by League member Chris VanEyl speaking on behalf of Moms Demand Action. We look forward to having you join us for our Voices on Vital Topics series!

Voter Education

Quiz: How Much Do You Know About American Voting Rights?

The fight for voting rights is ongoing. One way to fight for a stronger future is to make sure we're up to date on our history. Take the quiz to find out how much you know about American Voting Rights.

Advocacy & Current Projects

Take Action - LWVMI Action Alerts

What is an Action Alert? The League of Women Voters of Michigan uses Action Alerts to engage members statewide in advocacy. This short video explains the importance of Action Alerts in accomplishing the League's mission. Watch for emails asking you to contact your legislators through Action Alerts and you can take action to support the League’s mission. 

Legislative Interviews 

As we begin the new legislative session which started January 1, 2023, LWV will once again be completing Legislative Interviews. This longstanding project is a great way for us to better understand the legislative priorities of our legislators, while simultaneously establishing relationships with our elected officials. 

This project will begin soon. LWVMI will provide a list of questions for local Leagues to use to guide their conversations with the MI House and MI Senate representatives from their geographic areas. When conducting interviews, LWV members typically work in pairs to complete this task with one LWV member serving as the interviewer and the other serving as the note taker. Interviews can be completed either in person or virtually via Zoom. 

LWVUS recently hosted a webinar about Preparing for Legislative Sessions. This webinar provides lots of great information. A recording can be found here.  

If you have not participated in Legislative Interviews previously, we highly recommend participating during this round. It is a great learning opportunity. We encourage members to participate in the interview for the MI House or MI Senate district in which you reside; however, you are not limited to only that district if you would like to participate in additional interviews.  If you would like to participate in Legislative Interviews, please contact Courtney Winell at When doing so, please indicate in which district you reside. 

MI HEARTSafe School Program

In Michigan, the MI HEARTSafe School Program was developed to prepare school facilities to respond to cardiac emergencies. Fast-acting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and access to an automated external defibrillator (AED) prior to emergency medical services (EMS) arrival is critical for best possible outcomes.

All members are encouraged to contact their school boards, Kent County ISD, and their Kent County Commissioners to find out what is being done to meet this goal in their district and county.

Michigan selected as pilot site for national efforts to better reflect voices of youth in child welfare system reforms

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has been selected as one of eight pilot sites nationally to participate in a federal project. The project will help child welfare systems better engage with children and youth and make reforms that will benefit the children and families they serve.

MDHHS will partner with the national Quality Improvement Center on Engaging Youth in Finding Permanency. Established in 2021, the center is expected to bring about systemic changes in how child welfare professionals authentically engage children and youth, as reflected in intentional shifts in policy, practice, and culture within the pilot sites.

In particular, MDHHS hopes to empower youth to provide more input on finding them a permanent home – either through reunification with their families or adoption if it’s not safe for them to return home.

“MDHHS’ Children’s Services Agency is committed to engaging and collaborating with families to ensure child safety, permanency, and well-being,” said Demetrius Starling, executive director of the agency. “Being a Quality Improvement Center on Engaging Youth pilot site is an incredible opportunity to help staff promote and support authentic engagement and empowerment of children and youth. This work will be a catalyst for producing system-wide change that will benefit the families we serve in Michigan.”

For more information see the MDHHS site: Michigan selected as pilot site for national efforts to better reflect voices of youth in child welfare system reforms

Michigan expanding 'baby courts' in bid to keep families together (
Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteer Opportunities

We are kicking off our High School registration planning this month. High School registrations will occur March through May at various schools around the county. If you are interested in registering at a particular High School, can help with this activity, or know a contact at one of the High Schools, please contact Teri Chaplin at or 248-535-1134. 
Grand Rapids Update

Attend a Launch Party for the Grand Rapids Community Master Plan

Share your hopes and dreams for the future of Grand Rapids! We’re creating a new Community Master Plan (CMP) that will define the vision of how our city will grow and develop over the next 20 years. A CMP can address topical concepts related to land use such as equity, housing, environmental justice, and economic development.

The last plan is from 2002 and it’s time for a new one. We need your help! Our goal is to gather perspectives and input from residents to help create a vision for the future. These family friendly events will provide dinner along with entertainment and interactive activities.

RVSP Here! All events will follow the same format, so attend the Launch Party that is most convenient for you. View the invitation here

Mark Your Calendar


February is Youth Voter Month and Black History Month

14:  LWV’s 103rd Birthday! 

14:  Virtual LWVUS Pep Rally to Celebrate our 103rd Anniversary | 11:00 am | Register here

14:  Valentine’s Day

15: LWVGGRA Voices on Vital Topics: Virtual Speaker Series | 7:00 pm via Zoom

20:  President’s Day 

27: Anniversary of SCOTUS upholding the 19th Amendment


March is Women's History Month, Deaf History Month, & National Foreign Language Month

6: Anniversary of Bloody Sunday

8: International Women's Day

15: GGRHWC Presents “The Second Surge: Women Running for Public Office in the 1970s” 

22: LWVGGRA Voices on Vital Topics: Virtual Speaker Series | 7:00 pm via Zoom 

26: Anniversary of SCOTUS Rucho arguments

31: International Transgender Day of Visibility


26: LWVGGRA Book Club | Books & Mortar | 6:00 pm


19 - 21: LWVMI Convention | Kellogg Center in East Lansing


4: LWVGGRA Annual Meeting | 2:00 pm

Donate to LWVGGRA
A gift of any size helps your local League provide programming and education to our members and the community we share. Please support our mission to Empower Voters and Defend Democracy by clicking this link to donate online or by mailing a check to the address below. Thank you for your support! 

PO Box 174
6220 Belmont Ave NE
Belmont, MI  49306
Additional Resources
LWVMI Website
LWVMI League Links Newsletter 
League of Women Voters Lake Michigan Region Website
LWVUS Website 
Michigan Secretary of State - Voter Information Center
Current Board Members
Courtney Winell, Chair
Teri Chaplin, Vice Chair
Kristin Brace, Secretary
Carolyn Sturgis, Treasurer
Karen Joseph, Events & Fundraising Team Lead
Elianna Bootzin, 411 Team Lead
Board meetings are held every first Monday at 7:00 PM via Zoom.
Invitations are sent to the full membership and all members are welcome.
Copyright © 2023 LWVGGRA, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 174
6220 Belmont Ave NE
Belmont, MI  49306

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League of Women Voters Greater Grand Rapids · PO Box 174 6220 Belmont Ave NE · Belmont, MI 49306 · USA

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