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President's Newsletter - December 1, 2021

Dear League members,

Happy Holidays! Here’s to celebrating life! This month's newsletter is a team effort--many thanks to a wonderful team of contributors. Here’s a quick overview:

Oregon 3rd Annual Prescription Drug Price—SURVEY

The Drug Price Transparency Team, OR Dept of Consumer and Business Services department wants to hear how you and your family have been affected by rising prescription drug costs. Consumers are invited to ask questions and share their rising prescription drug price stories. (Survey open NOW)

PUBLIC HEARING: on (rising) prescription drug prices and survey. 1pm - 3pm Wed, Dec 8th. More information and hearing registration.

VOTER EDUCATION

The LWVOR spoke on the record (video) for Election Security in Oregon, thanks to the Election Cybersecurity Initiative, USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy.


Election PREP NEWS

Thank you to Peggy Bengry:


We have drafted a timeline and you can expect a request for volunteers to attend an organizational meeting in mid-January. As in the past, local league volunteers will power this effort by providing candidate contact information and candidate questions to Vote411, hosting candidate forums and interviews, registering voters and generally protecting democracy in your inimitable way. Questions for candidates will be on the agenda then; be prepared with some good ones!

“Gerrymandering” and “voter suppression” are the words that seem to be most associated with the upcoming midterm elections news, but there is some good news, also. The state League is committed to helping voters make informed choices for the elections next year. The Vote411.org administrative interface and the page candidates see when they enter their information have both been improved.


CIVICS EDUCATION, Harvard CASE NEWS

Please share both the Teacher Registration Link for the December 11 event and the

LWVPDX case study video, details below. LWVOR is on this elite list because Oregon sent the largest group of teachers, thanks to Toni Lampkin!

From LVW CT

Dear National Advisory Board Members,


I am writing to a small group of you today, since I know you have been particularly active in nominating teachers to join the case method civics project. In fact, a number of you nominated teachers who were unable to make the April and August professional development workshops this year. I therefore thought you might like to be aware that Professor Moss has added a workshop on Saturday, December 11 from 12:15-6:15pm (Eastern) in response to the increased demand nationwide for case method training.

We hope you will let any of your active high school teachers of US history, government or civics know about this opportunity. They should feel free to sign up directly on the link below, and once they do, a member of the Case Method Institute team will get in touch with them about next steps:

Thank you so much for your continued engagement with this project, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Kind wishes,


Dr. Deirdre Kamlani, Civics Chair, LWV Greenwich


Harvard CASE from LWVPDX

LWVPDX urges members to use the letter template below to share this LWVPDX 7-minute video from their Harvard Case Study in October explains the value of teaching high school civics with the, along with scenes from the event. See the LWVOR Civics Education page.

We would like to get this video distributed to public, private and charter high schools in Oregon. We think the best way to do this is to ask for help from LWVOR and local Leagues. I have already sent this to the Oregon Department of Education. I will be contacting as many high schools as possible in Multnomah County and sending them the video to distribute to their teachers. I will also contact the administrators for the school districts. If other Leagues could please contact school districts and schools in their areas, that would be wonderful for advancing civics education in our state. This could be done in December and/or January or whenever the local Leagues think is the best time to reach their teachers.

Margaret Noel, Communications Chair

League of Women Voters of Portland

Please personalize this letter and send it to your schools and districts, with the video.

LETTER TO SCHOOLS TEMPLATE

Dear _____,

Please forward this to current U.S. History, U.S. Government, and Civics teachers in your school.

The Harvard Case Method of teaching history and civics has proven to be an effective way to engage high school students in learning about the significance of past events. Please click the link below to watch a LWV seven-minute video presentation about this method.

The video explains how the case method works. In it, a trained Oregon high school teacher discusses the benefits of using this method in his classes, including comments from teachers and students who participated. The video concludes by explaining how teachers can apply for free training and support.


This video is also available on the LWV of Portland website under “Learn”:

The Harvard Business School’s Case Method Institute offers free online training workshops several times a year. Teachers, register for the recently added December 11th event!

Sincerely,

(Name/position of Local LWV leader)



ACTION


Volunteer Opportunities, a new webpage!

A new *Volunteer Opportunities* page is coming to LWVOR’s website! Keep an eye out for current volunteer requests, training, and connections, including one next Tuesday! Lift Every Voice Oregon is hosting a virtual signature gathering training session on Tuesday, Dec. 7th from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. Email office@lifteveryvoiceoregon.com to sign up, and go to lifteveryvoiceoregon.com for more information.


2021 Legislative Summary Briefs

From the Peggy Lynch, on the Action Team:

It can be challenging to track the Legislature’s accomplishments. Fortunately, at the end of each session, the Legislative Policy Research Office (LPRO) publishes the Legislative Summary Reports, highlighting policy measures that received a public hearing during the regular session.


After the 2021 legislative session, LPRO also published a shorter, user-friendly Legislative Summary Briefs by Topic, highlighting substantive Oregon policy changes. See the Table of Contents on page 3 for links to each topic. These 18 individual briefs offer essential background information, organized by policy areas, identifying relevant legislative history, with related measures, agencies and programs.


LPRO has also created this new legislation summaries web page, set up for browsing by policy topic, and if you prefer a compilation of topics, full summaries of legislation are available by year on the right side of the page.


COP26 Daily Blogs

Thank you to our First Vice President, Robin Tokmakian for sending daily reports from the League delegation at the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow.


LWVOR SHOP MERCH!!

Do you know about the LWVOR online shop? League pins, pens, mugs, and our new webcam covers!

Be sure to order now in case of USPS delays.


Recommended Reading

My personal reading was Peril, (Washington Post review) for November, and currently The 1619 Project. This NYTs Magazine brief evolved into the book I’m reading. Thanks to Kathleen Hersh for sharing this, from the Deschutes and Portland League Book Groups!

What Leaguers Are Reading

A number of local Leagues have book groups. It is interesting to see what they are reading. Here is a report from Mimi Alkire from the LWV of Deschutes County League Freedom Readers.


While we tend to read nonfiction, this past August we crossed that line ever so slightly and decided to read A Light in the Wilderness, by Jane Kirkpatrick. While technically listed as historical fiction, there is very little for which Jane has to use her imagination in writing this story. It is the story of the very real woman, Letitia Carson, who was the first Black woman to successfully secure a homestead in Oregon. She was a former slave who couldn’t read or write but made her way from Kentucky to Oregon in the early 1860’s and settled in Douglas County in 1863. As a single mother and widow, she had to go to court to win her right to keep her property. This is an incredible story written by an accomplished writer and historian! On a lark, I contacted the author through her website before our meeting and told her that the LWV of Deschutes County would be discussing her book. She agreed to join us and we had an enlightening and lively conversation about this fascinating early Oregonian. It was so wonderful to be able to ask questions about Letitia and get the historical scoop on her life. We are so lucky to have Jane living half the year in Deschutes County. After our discussion of Letitia, she joined LWVDC and is now a permanent member of the Freedom Readers! [Side note: an elementary school in the Corvallis area has changed its name to Letitia Carson Elementary. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be this spring!]

This month we are discussing Tangled Up in Blue: Policing the American City, by Rosa Brooks. What a great read that one is!!

And a report from Betsy Pratt with Viva Libra from LWV of Portland

As might be expected of a League book club, the Portland club reads serious social science literature. Our books this fall focused on America’s treatment of its black population and the cruelty and injustices suffered by black Americans. We first read Caste by Isabel Wilkerson, which proposes that many societies have embedded hierarchies that grant special privileges to those deemed to have high status and that treat those deemed to have low status with abuse and indignity. For its entire history, the US has placed black Americans in the lowest caste, based on long-standing assumptions about the relative worth of black and white people. It has been critical for insecure and struggling whites to maintain their belief that someone else is at the bottom of the social ladder and they have used skin color as a convenient marker for assigning social position.

In November, we discussed The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, which describes how deliberate public policies and legal actions by Federal, state, and local governments promoted the discriminatory policies that continue today. The author, Richard Rothstein, focuses on a handful of cities as case studies but it becomes clear that the patterns of manipulating zoning, restricting access to housing or schools, and promoting (or denying) access to jobs occurred widely across the county. He also documents the harmful, long-term effect of segregation and notes how difficult it will be to repair. For example:


For low-income African American children, the social and economic disadvantages with which they frequently come to school make higher achievement more difficult. Consider just one example, asthma, an affliction from which African American children suffer at nearly twice the rate of white children—probably because African Americans live in or near residential-industrial neighborhoods with more dust, pollutants, and vermin. Asthmatic children are more likely to awaken at night wheezing and, if they come to school after an episode, can be drowsy and less able to pay attention. A child who has more frequent absences-from poor health, unreliable transportation, having to stay at home to care for younger siblings, or family instability—will have less opportunity to benefit from instruction. (pp 196-197).

We found these books to be uncomfortable to read but agreed that they provide powerful explanations of America’s grimmer social history.


Thank you for reading and enjoy December!

Becky Gladstone, LWVOR President


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