Making Democracy Work

League Events

Protecting Judicial Independence: Why it matters

Join the LWVCM on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 for the program: Protecting Judicial Independence: Why it matters.

The North Carolina General Assembly, on April 10, 2017, introduced HB717, An Act to Revise Certain Superior Court Judicial Districts. This bill introduces partisanship to judicial elections and fundamentally alters how judges are elected to the district court bench. This event features a panel discussion with local government and legal experts discussing their perspectives on this issue. The event aims to educate citizens on the impacts of House Bill 717 from the perspective of stakeholders and to discuss proposed judicial legislation and reforms. Event starts promptly at 6:30 and building doors close at 6:30.so arrive early! Seating capacity limited. We hope you will join us.

Let us know you are coming: RSVP

Civics 101

Civics 101 is a 5-week, one-evening-per-week course led by current and former government officials in a face-to-face format. This course is especially useful to (1) the citizens of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, (2) people living in the Charlotte Metropolitan area, and (3) persons wanting to learn more about how local government works.

The participant outcomes include: (1) becoming an informed citizen who is in the know, (2) learning how local government works, (3) identifying what government departments can help you when you need assistance in the Metro-Charlotte area, and (4) knowing where to direct your energy in order to inspire change.

Get details about the program by from Session Information for more detailed information about each class and check our Civics 101 Course Flyer.

Due to high demand in the spring, the League is offering a fall session beginning September 26. Those on the spring session's waiting list will have a reserved registration period until September 4 after which it will be reserved for League members through September 9th at which point the program will be open to the public.

In the event of inclement weather, we will follow the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools policy regarding cancelling classes. Snow day make-up days will be provided once the course begins. Regularly scheduled course meetings are on Tuesdays from 6 - 8:30pm as follows:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017, at the Mecklenburg Government Center

Tuesday, October 3, 2017, at the Mecklenburg Courthouse

Tuesday, October 10, 2017, at the Mecklenburg Government Center

Tuesday, October 17, 2017, at the Mecklenburg Government Center

Tuesday, October 24, 2017, at the Charlotte Observer

Registration is complete when payment is received AND the online registration form is completed.

Register here:

Type of phone number listed
Name(s) of attendees
Preferred Name(s) for nametag

To pay by check, please print the attached form and mail as directed on the form. Payment By Check

Education Funding Forum

Who funds our schools? Who decides how money is spent? Why are school bonds urgently needed?

The Education Action Team has organized a forum to help give you answers and provide ELECTION INFORMATION.

Dates: October 14th at Amity Presbyterian Church and October 21 Friendship Missionary Baptist Church.

Charles Jeter, Government Relations Coordinator for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, will lead the audience through the maze of school funding sources and the elected officials responsible for each. Jeter lives in Huntersville and was twice elected to the NC House. He represented District 92, which stretches down the Catawba River from Huntersville to Lake Wylie, from January 2014 until last year when he was appointed to the CMS staff. Other speakers include: Elyse Dashew, vice chair, Meck. Co. Board of Education and Brandon Neal, CMS graduate and supporter

Continental Breakfast Provided

For more information, contact Tom E. Bowers at tomebowers75@gmail.com

Education Funding Forum Flyer

The urgency to pass the school bond issue will be voiced by Brandon Neal who is on the bond campaign committee. Information about the bonds can be accessed here

Click on CALENDAR for details.

2017 Charlotte Mayoral Primary Debate

Dress rehearsal of production of "Bridges of Madison County" at CPCC

The LWVCM members were treated to a unique opportunity to attend the dress -rehearsal production of "The Bridges of Madison County" on September 21st. This fun activity raised money for League programs. One of the best-selling books of the 20th century, critics heralded this epic love story as "...lyrical...sensuous and sensitive...a tale of lasting love."

Gerrymandering Update during Lunch with the League

Our very own, Barbara Bleiweis presented at our the September 13th Lunch with the League, "Gerrymandering Update: Where are we now and where are we going?". As the redistricting reform team lead for LWVCM and representative to the LWVNC Fair Election Action Team, Barbara Bleiweis updated guests on the League training and advocacy efforts towards ending this century old practice of manipulating voting boundaries for partisan advantage.

Click on CALENDAR for further details.

Women's Equality Day Celebration

The League celebrated Women! at the 2017 League celebration of Women's Equality Day on August 25th.

Our guest speaker, Dr. Carolyn Jefferson-Jenkins, served as the first African American president of the LWVUS and will help us commemorate the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. We will round out the evening with a satirical skit on gerrymandering.

Click here for details about the day and to learn more about Dr. Jefferson-Jenkins: "Women's Equality Day Flyer " Women's Equality Day

Party celebrating Gov. Elbridge Gerry, the Father of Gerrymandering

On Saturday, July 22nd, the League celebrated Governor Elbridge Gerry's birthday and the Governor's dubious achievement in 1812. He started a "gerrymandering" trend that ensured state legislative elections would never be the same. All were celebrated with a cake, candles and some NC trivia fun!

Fun was had by all:

Annual Meeting

The League's Annual Meeting was held June 1, 2017. Ella Scarborough, Chair, Mecklenburg County Commissioner, our featured Speaker joined League members for dinner and our Business Meeting.

Our New Board was elected (missing from the photograph is Ralph Milligan):

President Delores Johnson Hurt delivered the Annual Meeting Report:

Last June, barely a month after I was elected LEAGUE President and before I could get my feet damp, I was off to Washington, DC for our national convention. What an experience! There were back to back to back meetings with men and women League leaders from around the country and the US Virgin Islands. There was heated discussion - and debate - about whether we should support DC statehood, who could become members of the League and how we must recruit younger members because almost every delegate there had gray or graying hair. The outcome of the last debate was that anybody who lives in the United States, 16 years and older, can join the League. A great outcome.

Returning to Charlotte, I set about heeding the directions the board received from members at last year's Annual Meeting. We began League Talk, an every-other-month evening meeting for members who can't attend Lunch with the League.

As a former journalist, I sent press releases to the media about League events. As a result, we began to see get mentions in the media. We appeared on Charlotte Talks with Mike Collins to talk about the importance of voting. On WCNC-TV we fielded questions from voters on election day who wanted to know where they should vote. We appeared on UNC-TV to discuss our opposition to HB2. Board members wrote and had letters to the Editor published in the Charlotte Observer.

We reached out to young adults and recruited some, but were stymied because work, school and family obligations limit the time young people can dedicate to organizations such as ours.

I visited with many in the community to let them know that the League desires diversity in age, gender and ethnicity in its ranks. I spoke at the Tuesday Morning Forum and appeared as a panelist at the Urban League of Central Carolinas' State of Black America forum. Last month, I read our League position on student diversity and school equity at the CMS Board of Education public hearing on pupil reassignment. Also, last this month, I appeared at a wonderful community forum on how to avoid political polarization that was organized by students at East Mecklenburg High School.

I attended many action team meetings, helped to register students at area high schools and spoke at Central Piedmont Community College

In the year that was, I was very proud of the fact that we successfully lobbied Mecklenburg County Commission for an additional year of funding for the election debates we produce on local public TV station WTVI. Last year, for the first time, we had a judicial candidates debate.

What I've discussed are a few highlights of the year that was. You'll find much more information if you go to our website, go league.org, which we update frequently.

Finally, I would like to say that May 17 of 2016 to May of this year - our League's fiscal year - was the best of times and the worst of times.

For many Leagues around the country, including ours, it was a good year. We showed fantastic growth in membership. That growth, however, came about because of the worst of times - the 2016 presidential election with an erosion of the values and political positions the League has long held.

(By the way, if you didn't know it, the League favors direct election of the US president and Vice President by the people - not the Electoral College.)

The League, of course, came out of the movement for the right of women to vote. Today, however, we are dedicating ourselves to making sure all eligible voters - most particularly those from traditionally underserved, underrepresented communities - first-time voters, non-college youth, new citizens, people of color, the elderly and low-income Americans + have the opportunity and information needed to exercise their right to vote. And to vote in their best interest. I favor that focus because our work in that area shows we are cognizant of those who are our country's future.

Another League focus the public should know about is that we desire health care for all. The exceedingly cruel and outrageous health care bill recently passed by the US House of Representatives shocks us - and our battle against it must be loud, strong and unrelenting.

A third focus we must promote to the public is that the League stands for legislation that protects us from the effects of pollution and climate change. As Charlotteans, - we must discuss more openly, and lobby for safety measures in our area, especially with the presence of nuclear and coal ash dangers so close to us. We need an Environmental Action Team to speak to those issues and I hope we have volunteers tonight who will sign up for an Environmental Action Team.

Just four months into our new US presidency, many of us are already weary of the battles we are fighting and must continue to fight for the issues we believe in. Those who oppose our values never give up. Nor should we. Fortunately, we now have reinforcements from many new members who have joined our ranks since the election.

In closing, and I am closing now, it has been an honor to represent the League of Women Voters Charlotte Mecklenburg - and it's been my great fortune to be part of a group of extremely supportive and active Board members and Action Team leaders who make my work so much easier.

Thank you all.

Photographs from the Annual Meeting

Enjoy the following photographs from our Annual Meeting!

League Talk - Handling Storm Water and SB434

At our May 16th League Talk we welcomed Darryl Hammock, Assistant Manager of City of Charlotte's Storm Water Services Division who lead a discussion about:

How will SB434, a bill that eliminates the Catawba River buffer zones, and recently passed by the NC Senate change Mecklenburg County's drinking water?

Charlotte-Mecklenburg's 2,000 miles of streams and numerous acres of ponds and lakes and 100,000 storm drains which the City's Storm Water Services Division monitors and protects

Volunteering to help monitor that vast network of streams and storm drains.

Concerns about the trend of watershed quality with so much building going on.

Mr. Hammock's work includes comprehensive utility management ranging from budget and policy, to administrative and staff management, to determine program strategies and Council/constituent interactions. The Storm Water Services Division is responsible for monitoring and protecting the county's streams, ponds and lakes.

He is a professional engineer and graduate of UNC Charlotte with a BS in Civil Engineering. Since beginning work at the City in 1997, he has served as a Project Manager for multi-million dollar flood control projects and as a Senior Project Manager to develop sound management processes. He also served as the Water Quality Manager for may years providing oversight of the City's Federal compliance and Clean Water At, including the development of surface water protection ordinances.

Sonja Gantt Headlined Lunch with the League in April

Sonja Gantt presented: The CMS Foundation Story Goal: Rally corporate and community money to support teaches, reading and school turnaround, at our most recent Lunch with the League series presentation on April 12th.

Ms. Gannt presentation included:

One of the 22 reports prepared by the 2013 Citizens Task Force recommends reviving the CMS Foundation which had been started years ago by a former superintendent with independent community leadership. Superintendent Anne Clark tapped Sonja Gantt to be its first executive director.

League Talk welcomed Bill Blancato of the Citizens Climate Lobby

On March 21st League Talk welcomed Bill Blancato, co-regional coordinator of the Mid South region of the Citizen's Climate Lobby. He discussed the group's proposal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by putting a fee on fossil fuels and rebating all the money to households. The proposal, sponsors contend, will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create millions of jobs. Bill Blancato also explained how CCL is building the political will to support Congressional action.

Mr. Blancato is a Winston-Salem attorney, has started CCL chapters in several states and lobbies Congress about the proposal. You can read his op-ed published in the Charlotte Observer here: Blancato Op-ED

The CLL proposal is outlined here: CCL Proposal

Interested in the League's past action on carbon pollution? You can read comments made to the EPA here: League Comments to EPA

Light refreshments were served. All were welcome!

For details regarding location, date and time, Click on CALENDAR from the HOME page.

Lunch With The League - Kickedoff with Ending Gerrymandering Discussion Groups

Our latest program featured speakers Bob Phillips and Jane Pinski from Common Cause will kick off the formation of a roundtable discussion group on gerrymandering.

Both the League of Women Voters of NC and Common Cause have lawsuits pending in a US District Court challenging NC's 2016 redrawn Congressional districts.

Several League members have expressed an interest in the topic to look at models for independent redistricting as well as ways the League can provide public education token the issue in front of citizens in between elections when interest is the highest. All are welcome to join in the discussion.

League Talk Welcomed Democracy NC

The LWVC-M started its 2017 League Talk series with a discussion on the influence of social medial on elections.

During the election season we were constantly inundated with messaging about the candidates, issues, and politics in general. With so many news sources and mediums to get our news, how can you be sure that what you are reading and hearing is factual? How reliable is the news we can get via social media? How do we make sure that we are reading and sharing the truth and how can we combat the fake news that's clogging our media?

League Talk, welcomed guest Jen Jones, Communications Director from Democracy NC. She educated us on the rise of fake news and social media in a post truth Era and how organizations like the League of Women Voters can use social media to counter those narratives.

Keep abreast of our activities! League Talk is held every other month beginning in September. League Talk meetings consist of a speaker on a "hot topic" followed by a business meeting where board members will provide updates on their portfolios. We hope to see you there.

Lunch with the League and League Talk

The League hosts two regularly occurring events during alternating months throughout the year.

League Talk is held every other month beginning in September. Meetings are in the early evening and consist of a speaker on a "hot topic" followed by a business meeting where board members will provide updates on their portfolios.

Lunch with the League is a luncheon held every other month from September-April. The purpose of the luncheons are to bring together members of the League, members of partner organizations, and the general public to eat and share a meaningful educational experience. The luncheons focus on hot topics and issues of interest and feature an expert speaker, a conversation cafe, or other learning experience.

Check the online CALENDAR for dates, topics, and location. Scroll to the top of this page to access PAYPAL to purchase your lunch.