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Your Monthly

June 2022
Message from the Chair
From Teri Chaplin, Vice Chair:

This month we are replacing the notes from Courtney with sad news. Courtney's grandmother waged a multi decade battle with multiple types of cancer. Courtney was very involved in her grandmother's cancer fight, taking her to doctor's appointments and chemo sessions and supporting her in every way she could. Courtney's grandmother lost her battle with cancer last week. She was laid to rest on Saturday. 

I'm sure Courtney would greatly appreciate expressions of sympathy by email or snail mail. 

Courtney Winell
4204 Peak Lane NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525
We're excited to introduce new LWVGGRA members in this section, celebrate membership anniversaries, and share other updates about membership. 

Do you know someone who might enjoy being part of the League? Invite them to join you for a volunteer opportunity or member event. There is something for everyone! 
Advocacy & Current Projects
The League is always busy! We'll keep you informed of current activities and advocacy work here.

Promote the Vote Update

Thank you to all of our members who have been collecting signatures for Promote the Vote 2022. Expanding the work of Proposition 3 from 2018, Promote the Vote is an effort to enshrine basic, commonsense voting rights into the Michigan Constitution. Please sign a petition if you haven't yet done so! Contact Karen Legault with questions about signing or circulating a petition:

You can read more about Promote the Vote on their website and read specific petition language here

Great Lakes Advocacy

Below, find links to articles to help you stay informed on Great Lakes related issues. If you find current news related to LWVGGRA's advocacy efforts that you would like to share with fellow members, please reply to this email for possible inclusion in an upcoming newsletter.

Scientists embark on ‘Winter Grab’ to gather data on warming Great Lakes -

In a slight departure from articles directly related to the Great Lakes, here is an article on approaches to fixing the massive lead water pipe and crumbling water processing infrastructure in Michigan. If not addressed eventually it will affect the water quality of the Great Lakes.

Five fixes for Michigan’s drinking water woes – Great Lakes Now

Donate Online to LWVGGRA

Donate Online to the League of Women Voters GGRA

Did you know that you can make an online donation to the League of Women Voters of the Greater Grand Rapids Area?  

This month, please consider making an impact right here in our community to Empower Voters and Defend Democracy by donating today.

Volunteer Opportunities
There's never been a better time to get involved! Read on to learn how you can help support the League's mission of Empowering Voters and Defending Democracy. Thank you for your support!
Seeking a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leader

The League of Women Voters of the Greater Grand Rapids Area is currently looking for a member to serve our local League and membership as a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Leader. The DEI Leader will be a member of the LWVGGRA Board and will work to ensure that our Local League is creating the most inclusive environment possible. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team, a sub-committee of the LWVMI Membership and Leadership Development Committee, is currently working to create a communication network for local League DEI leaders. This network would meet on Zoom four times per year to give DEI leaders the opportunity to share ideas and experiences. In addition, LWVUS will provide additional information and training opportunities throughout the year. If you are interested in filling this role, please contact Courtney Winell at

Public Voting Machine Testing (August Primary)

Look out for information mid-June or July about observing voting machine testing. Our hope is for members to witness this thorough, public testing process to see for themselves--and be able to share with others--this aspect of election security. Dates will be announced when jurisdictions set their test dates.

Community Spotlight
In this section, you'll find interviews highlighting League members, elected or appointed officials, and nonpartisan partners. Do you know of someone who should be featured here? Reply to this email with your ideas!

Meet Joan Long, your fellow League member and volunteer extraordinaire. For this spotlight, Joan shares her journey to the LWV and what it means to her. Thank you, Joan - you are an inspiration! 

I have come to learn that my story is similar to many others that I have come to know as I have become more politically aware. Prior to 2016, I had only voted sporadically - mostly only in the presidential election or when there was a school millage in Northview Public Schools which is where my four children (now all adults) attended. One of the main reasons I didn’t vote more often was that the elections were held on a weekday, and not only was I often working a 10-hour day as a nurse, it would also be a matter of needing to arrange for childcare since I was a single parent of four. 

Regardless of the fact that it was a hardship to vote, in the business of life, I often did not do the research into the candidates and the issues. 

Then the election of 2016 happened and I was shocked and devastated with the results. I had plans in place to retire in January of 2020 after 43 years as a Registered Nurse at Spectrum Health. I vowed that the first 11 months of my retirement would be dedicated to doing everything I could to prevent the re-election of Donald. I started with writing postcards with an organization called Postcards to Voters - I have literally handwritten and mailed thousands of postcards for various candidates and Get Out the Vote postcards throughout the country. I also joined with Voters Not Politicians in canvassing door to door for Prop 2. I joined a group called Contest Every Race which researched local elections throughout the country to place and support Democratic Candidates. I also volunteered with the Kent County Dems and helped with district organizing to recruit volunteers to canvas and write postcards for local elections. I also researched the League of Women Voters and at the time there was not a Grand Rapids Chapter, so I listened in to Kalamazoo meetings when I was able. I was able to attend some of the voter registration/education events that were taking place in various areas in the Grand Rapids Area. I became an active member shortly after the Grand Rapids Chapter was founded. 

Then the election of 2020 took place and Joe Biden won. I was ecstatic and thought my retirement and winery tours could begin as soon as Covid was under control. And then January 6th happened and I honestly feel that our democracy is more at stake than ever, so I feel I need to postpone most of those winery tours until we get as many people to vote as possible. While I am active with the Kent County Dems, I truly am most proud of the work I do with the LWV. I respect the non-partisan aspect of the League, the goal to promote voter registration and education for everyone. I strongly feel we need to get as many young people as possible registered and aware of the candidates and ballot initiatives so that they can cast their vote that will affect their future. One of your questions is, What gives me hope? One of the schools that I worked with for the High School Challenge was Rockford High School. I worked with Christina Purvis who is the teacher advisor for the Women Awareness and Empowerment Club. She guided her students in the group to lead in the voter registration/education events. What gives me hope? There were several male students in this group supporting their female classmates!

Grand Rapids Update
Each month, we'll spotlight current League-relevant news from the City of Grand Rapids. 
Guess what? Grand Rapids isn't the only entity engaging residents on how to invest ARPA funds!

The Kent County Board of Commissioners wants to hear from as many people as possible about this one-time infusion of funds that will have a lasting impact on residents and businesses in Kent County. To obtain this feedback, the community engagement process includes:

Kent County is hosting a series of meetings where members of the community can learn more about ARPA funding eligibility and priorities. The meetings will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the following locations:

  • Thursday, June 2 ∙ Kent County Health Department ∙ 700 Fuller Ave. NE ∙ Grand Rapids, MI 49503 ∙ This event will be livestreamed on the County’s Facebookpage
  • Monday, June 6 ∙ Rockford High School, Creative Teaching and Learning Center ∙ 4100 Kroes St NE ∙ Rockford, MI 49341
  • Wednesday, June 8 ∙ Gaines Charter Township ∙ 8555 Kalamazoo Ave SE ∙ Caledonia, MI 49316
All three meetings will cover the same information.
Mark Your Calendar
Check this section for upcoming events, deadlines, and educational opportunities hosted by the League and our nonpartisan partners. 

June 1: Pride
Month begins

June 4: 103-year anniversary of US Senate passing 19th Amendment

June 5: World Environment Day

June 6: Monthly LWVGGRA Board Meeting 7:00 pm via Zoom

June 19: Juneteenth

June 20: Father's Day

June 23-26: LWV National Convention | Denver, Colorado | In person and virtual options are available for participants 

July 11:
Promote the Vote signatures due by 5:00 pm 


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, 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 © 2022 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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