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Published On 4/13/2022
Read this Opinion article by Elizabeth Bennion and Geri Pawelski, published 2/12/22 in the South Bend Tribune:
https://www.southbendtribune.com/story/opinion/2022/02/12/lack-transparency-has-defined-redistricting-st-joseph-county/6664760001/

"Members of the St. Joseph County Council and Board of Commissioners failed their constituents when they refused to promptly disclose requested electronic communications pertaining to the required 10-year redistricting of local political boundaries."
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Published On 3/28/2022
Thanks to League members and friends who showed up at the March 25 Election Board meeting and submitted to the Board urging the inclusion of Sunday voting hours, consistent with past practice, for the 2022 Primary Election in St. Joseph County. Click to read the League's letter to the Election Board and the article in the South Bend Tribune.
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Published On 11/11/2021
Non-Partisan Civic Group Urges All Commission and Council Members to Attend Public Meeting

In the wake of strong public opposition to the undemocratic local redistricting process and proposed district maps for the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners (Commissioners), and in advance of a public meeting on redistricting called by members of the St. Joseph County Council (Council), the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area calls on all Commissioners and Council members to attend Monday’s public meeting and work together to compare the maps submitted by the public with maps proposed by Commission-selected and Council-selected, taxpayer-funded law firms. The group urges elected officials to lead the public in a discussion of the pros and cons of each map.

Click to read more
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Published On 8/24/2021
Four action items are encouraged:

(1) Learn more about the causes of homelessness and the solutions or best practices that have worked elsewhere and that we might adapt for our local efforts;

(2) Support wholeheartedly local agencies and groups who provide invaluable direct services and expertise;

(3) Track and participate in the budget process that is now underway at all levels of government;

(4) Contact local representatives and urge their support for cooperative endeavors to help our unsheltered neighbors.
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Published On 5/22/2021
Can Indiana really make a dent on climate action through public policy? Hear an energetic talk by Hoosier Environmental Council E.D. Jesse Kharbanda & then take action!
https://fb.watch/5EToLDmnj0/
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Published On 11/2/2020
The American people are tired of a government that serves only the wealthy and corporate interests. We demand a democracy that works for all of us.
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LWV of the South Bend Area

Published On 6/13/2022
Recordings from May and June's Lunch with the League can be found on YouTube at the links below.

May: The Robinson Community Learning Center
https://youtu.be/gxJl5BFULfc

June: La Casa de Amistad, Serving Our Community Through Programs and Advocacy
https://youtu.be/nqYRxthB9TI
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Published On 6/10/2022
Talk at 7:00 • Walk at 6:30 p.m. or Whenever You Want

Take a walk along the beautiful St. Joe River near downtown South Bend, then join us at Howard Park Public House for an informal discussion of the podcast, “United States of Anxiety: A History of Voter Suppression.” Dr. Elizabeth Bennion, LWV Voter Services Chair, will guide the discussion.

This is an informal meetup but we do ask you to RSVP so that we can reserve space at the Public House. Click Here to RSVP: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdgQUjLyU68n5dM1clYrH85BQy2qqsGTjPy5GRaMZtePz3Lcg/viewform?usp=sf_link
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Published On 6/7/2022
Click here to join the meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85958592506?pwd=UzE2YzRrQU9wdmMrVTFjRzB3YnZtQT09

In June, the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area will welcome Juan Constantino, Executive Director of La Casa de Amistad, for Lunch with the League on Zoom. The event takes place on Friday, June 10 at 12:00pm.

The mission of La Casa de Amistad, a youth and community center, is to empower the Latino/Hispanic community within Michiana by providing educational, cultural and advocacy services in a welcoming, bilingual environment, and Constantino will speak about the broad range of programs and services offered by La Casa as well as its newly renovated facility and changes over the past year.
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Published On 5/4/2022
Join us on Zoom! https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86794712846?pwd=S2hlS3lLbFZSVjdTVDlGZzVEUFhyQT09

FRIDAY, MAY 13, 2022 AT 12 PM

The Robinson Community Learning Center: Changing Lives One Relationship at a Time
An initiative of the University of Notre Dame, the Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) provides educational programs that reach thousands of youth and adults in the South Bend community each year and has engaged hundreds of college student volunteers since its inception in 2001. It has recently moved into a new facility, right across the street from its original location in the Northeast Neighborhood.
The speakers will provide an overview of RCLC programs with a particular focus on the Robinson Shakespeare Company, which has been empowering local youth for more than a decade!
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Published On 4/12/2022
Watch here: https://youtu.be/MA5oBQ96NSM

The Unity Gardens is a local non-profit dedicated to connecting our community to fresh produce, nature and each other, through 35 open gardens, free classes, and other programs. In this talk, Unity Gardens Executive Director Sara Stewart will talk about the many benefits of the Unity Garden model – benefits that extend far beyond provided no-cost fresh veggies to local consumers.
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Published On 4/9/2022
The recording of the Meet the Candidates Forum on March 31 can be found here: https://fb.watch/chqO_pgVzZ/

This forum featured mini-debates and statements by candidates appearing on the 2022 Democratic primary ballots in St. Joseph County, Indiana.
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Published On 3/29/2022
Join us in the auditorium of the St. Joe County Public Library in downtown South Bend, or virtually, at 6pm on Thursday, March 31.

You'll have a chance to meet the St. Joseph County Democrats who are running in Indiana's May 3rd primary election. The candidates will give statements and participate in mini-debates.

Attend in person: https://sjcpl.libnet.info/event/6388890
Watch virtually: https://fb.me/e/4oQ02TqjC
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Published On 3/22/2022
Join us on Zoom! https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81983418435?pwd=V2RyYnpHSWp0NlhnL0QxcHB1UHRLdz09

FRIDAY, APRIL 8, 2022 AT 12 PM

The Unity Gardens is a local non-profit dedicated to connecting our community to fresh produce, nature and each other, through 35 open gardens, free classes, and other programs. In this talk, Unity Gardens Executive Director Sara Stewart will talk about the many benefits of the Unity Garden model – benefits that extend far beyond provided no-cost fresh veggies to local consumers.
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Published On 2/21/2022
Join us on Zoom! https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82133279298?pwd=Nnc2K3ZmWWJ4dHArZ0RXZVp0MGdjUT09

Friday, March 11, 12pm

Students from Indiana University South Bend will discuss what they have learned about Indiana’s 2022 primary and general election, including key registration and voting deadlines, important rules and regulations, who’s on the 2022 primary ballot, which races are contested, and how to learn more about the candidates on your ballot before you cast your vote. Join the American Democracy Project’s @IUSBVotes Team to learn everything you need to know as a voter and partner in making democracy work!
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Published On 2/12/2022
Go to this link to view: https://youtu.be/sCX-hC53Yac
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Published On 1/21/2022
Join us on Zoom!
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81481551387

Our February speaker is Dr. Dan Graff, Director of the Higgins Labor Program at the Center for Social Concerns and Professor of the Practice, Department of History, University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Graff will address the long-term labor crises confronting our country, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic, and he'll introduce the Just Wage Framework, an online tool for multiple economic stakeholders to deploy with the aim of producing a fairer, more inclusive, and more just economy.
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Published On 1/15/2022
Go to this link to view: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k88cVqwr-2Y
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Published On 12/22/2021
Go to this link to view: https://youtu.be/KK5tGB6xCps

Aaron Nichols, Executive Director of the South Bend Civic Theatre, discusses the August Wilson Project, an 11-year project begun in 2019 by the South Bend Civic Theatre. The CIVIC is producing all ten August Wilson plays, each speaking to consecutive decades of the African American experience in the 20th Century. This ambitious initiative includes extensive integration into the South Bend schools and partnerships with many community groups. Nichols also discusses the CIVIC's commitment to public health during the pandemic, including a vaccine mandate for all our indoor productions until COVID-19 and its variants have been defeated.

You can see watch even more past Lunches with the League on our YouTube Channel! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPVKZqvXVZoZvdDTZfqTCPA
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Published On 12/20/2021
Join us on Zoom on Friday Jan. 14 at 12:00 PM
Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88520671655

Dr. Kent Laudeman, Director of United Health Services, Suicide Prevention Center, will be our speaker. Dr. Laudman will discuss some challenges and his thoughts regarding Mental Health and Suicide; national, state, and local statistics; warning signs we can watch for; and various programs as resources such as the crisis line and text line. The presentation will include a free downloadable iPhone app(s) that can be used by youth or adults. Everyone in our community has a role in stopping this most preventable form of death!
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Published On 10/14/2021
Zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82850548043?pwd=RVdqOXJLUWVLVU5BdlFsalliTlpjZz09

Please join the League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area at our virtual Friendraiser! We will present the 2021 Making Democracy Work Award to Karen White, who will join Elizabeth Bennion for a conversation on a range of topics, including diversity, leadership, education, and politics. The entire community is welcome at this free event, where we’ll share news about the League’s work and treat you to a performance by Jessica O’Brien and music by Kevin Scott Joiner and Abby Joiner of The Ember Jar. Guests will also have the option of visiting in small virtual groups following the program.
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Published On 10/7/2021
Join us on Zoom on Friday, Oct 8 at 12:00 PM
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87945000442?pwd=UUhjQ0F4ZVUydkdwb0pFcFBZWDBOQT09

This Friday's Lunch with the League will feature Patricia Hackett, President of the law firm Hackett & Associates, P.C. She will speak with us regarding current 21st Century efforts through the law to silence women and, thus, destroy our Constitutional Republic and the more perfect union to which we aspire.
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Published On 10/6/2021
The recording is now available on YouTube: https://youtu.be/mxoXwaeZxI8
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Published On 9/27/2021
Join us on Zoom, October 1 at 12pm!
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86069352513?pwd=bFhNcmsxcG1ha3dZVTI0Q0t1bk5aQT09

We are rapidly nearing the FY 2022 Budget deadline for local governments. Decisions will soon be finalized for planning on affordable housing and care for the homeless. The window for citizen input will soon close!
The Advocacy Committee on Equitable Housing League of Women Voters of the South Bend Area has invited a panel of city and county speakers for an extended “Lunch with the League” event via Zoom. The discussion open to LWV members and the general public with time for questions and answers after brief comments from local government officials.
Speakers will will provide a summary overview of expenditures, programs, special projects funding sources directed to homelessness and affordable housing for the fiscal years 2021 and 2022, plus projections for 2023, if known.
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Published On 8/30/2021
Join us on Zoom, September 10 at 12pm!
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86328543189?pwd=191393

Debra Futa, Executive Director of St. Joseph County Public Library, will talk about the Main Library project. Although the finished spaces will be truly beautiful, the library has much more to offer than the building itself. Deb will share her ideas about where SJCPL would like to take their services in the next few years.
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Published On 8/4/2021
Join us on Zoom, August 13 at 12pm!
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83920037189?pwd=dHNYQlhvcGthaFNhOVJzR0tYY1VqQT09

The past year exacerbated and brought to the forefront the pain and oppression that has plagued our communities for ages. In the midst of so much suffering and injustice, how can we build a new world?
This virtual talk invites us to explore the foundational tenets of Restorative Justice and abolitionist work, and will highlight stories of Restorative Justice in action here in South Bend. As a way to build relational accountability, Restorative Justice can provide a path that centers dignity, shared power, and mutual concern for the transformation of harm.
Dalila Huerta is an educator and Restorative Justice consultant living in South Bend.
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Published On 8/3/2021
The Indiana Legislative public hearings scheduled for August 6, 7, and 11 are an opportunity to speak out about criteria to be applied to drawing NEW LEGISLATIVE DISTRACT MAPS that will be with us for the next 10 years.

Please identify one of the hearings you can attend. Click the article to see all times and locations.

Then join us on August 4th to prepare for these hearings. The All IN for Democracy coalition will hold a webinar on Wednesday, August 4th at 8 p.m. EDT to discuss what we can expect at these hearings and the kinds of testimony that will be helpful.

REGISTER HERE; https://us02web.zoom.us/.../reg.../WN_YFq3PptuRWakzeZr9Q_z_w

Too often in years past, the new maps have been assembled almost entirely behind closed doors, giving the public little opportunity to weigh in. These public meetings are an important step toward transparency. But they will make a difference only if many of us, average citizens, pay attention and participate.
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Published On 7/9/2021
Watch the recording of our July Lunch with the League conversation with Ranjan Rohatgi and Leigh Morris on YouTube: https://youtu.be/yqdRHXNeK9Y
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Published On 6/28/2021
Join us on Zoom, July 9 at 12pm!
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81359524226?pwd=UUtNcjYvQnNnRTFqL1pkRituVHBUZz09

Leigh Morris and Ranjan Rohatgi are our District Two Republican and
Democrat members of the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission Indiana (ICRC). The ICRC advocates for redistricting reform in Indiana. It was formed in December 2010 by Common Cause/Indiana, Downs Center for Politics at IPFW, the League of Women Voters of Indiana, and AARP Indiana. The ICRC is a diverse and multi-partisan group of Indiana voters composed of nine members: three Republicans, three Democrats and three members who are neither Republican nor Democrat. We will learn what has gone on until now, what to anticipate from this commission going forward, and how we can benefit and help!
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Published On 6/11/2021
Check out the recording of our June Lunch with the League conversation with Aaron Perri on YouTube: https://youtu.be/geZmbGSzjjA
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Published On 5/22/2021
Join us on Zoom, June 11 at 12 noon: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86321652322?pwd=ZG9YZFZmMkxJZ3NPOCtkQ0tQdjRzQT09

Our guest speaker will be Aaron Perri, Executive Director of South Bend Venues, Parks and Arts.

He will discuss the underlying strategies and models that inform our public placemaking efforts here in South Bend - including examples of recently completed and pending projects. You’ll leave with a bit of information about South Bend programs and facilities, including much of the “why” behind what VPA does.
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Join us on Zoom, May 14 at 12 noon: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82106308403?pwd=290830

Our guest speaker will be Alan Achkar, executive editor of the South Bend Tribune.

Newspapers and other local media outlets have faced unprecedented challenges in recent years. The South Bend Tribune, other newspapers and other local news outlets have reacted to the Digital Age with a host of changes. How can they carve out a future in the era of mobile phones, social media and changing consumer habits? Can traditional news platforms, such as a printed newspaper, survive? How can impactful journalism still be produced and delivered to you? And what does a digital news future mean to readers?
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Published On 3/29/2021
Join us on Zoom on April 9 at 12pm: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88952890807?pwd=MlIvcnRLSUY5Qk5GT3NSSktQYktFdz09

Senator Niezgodski will talk about bills he is involved with that impact the St. Joseph Community.
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Published On 2/23/2021
Join us on Zoom, March 12 at 12 noon: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82130775896?pwd=d1JaUXo1NjRPRDNYdU5Ic0NlbVRVdz09

Our guest speaker will be Dr. Todd Cummings, superintendent of South Bend Community School Corp.

This remote conversation will offer current information about the proposed plans to close Hay and Tarkington Elementary Schools at the end of this academic year and recommendations to create an Innovation Network Zone for two other elementary schools, Muessel Elementary and Marquette Montessori Academy.
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Published On 2/22/2021
The LWV's Citizen's Guide to Representative Government for St. Joseph County, 2021-2022, is now available on the LWV website.
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Published On 1/26/2021
Join us on Zoom ( https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87052823187?pwd=V0RsOG5OSHl4NUMzOE4zWW9TK2k0UT09 ). Our guest speaker will be Dr. Mark Fox, deputy health officer for St. Joseph County.

Dr. Fox will give an update on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in St. Joseph County, with attention to disease prevalence, data on testing, and vaccination efforts. The impact of emerging strains of SARS-CoV-2 and mitigation efforts will also be discussed.
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Published On 1/4/2021
Barbara Tully, president of Indiana Vote by Mail, will be our guest for the next Lunch With the League on Friday, Jan. 8 from noon to 1 pm via Zoom. To join, copy and paste this link into your browser: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83101823328?pwd=bk1WTlJXVHN2VEtBbDJYQWJLa0dCdz09

Barbara will present "Voting in Indiana: Turning All Hoosiers Into Voters." Come learn about how the voting process works in Indiana and ways that Indiana could work to make voting more accessible. This program will highlight best practices for voters and for election administrators to consider as they engage in this most basic right in a democracy - the right to vote. This nonpartisan presentation will leave you informed, engaged and excited about voting!
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LWVIN

Published On 12/1/2020
All IN 4 Democracy, our coalition for redistricting reform in Indiana, is calling for applications to the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC). The ICRC will demonstrate how the redistricting process in Indiana should be conducted. It will show that a politically balanced group of citizens working transparently and in cooperation with citizens can devise districts that will serve the public interest, not the interests of politicians.
The ICRC will hold a series of virtual public meetings in January and February of 2021 to take public testimony on what redistricting criteria should guide the map-drawing process....They will also sponsor a map-drawing competition and serve as the judges for that competition.... Reports and maps will be submitted to the IN General Assembly (IGA) and we will lobby for adoption of the maps drawn through a transparent process by a politically balanced group of citizens. More...
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