June 1996 Home   Newsletters

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September 1996

1996 LWVUS Convention Action (Jean Aoki, Suzanne Meisenzahl & Jackie Parnell)
President's Message (Astrid Monson)
Convention Activities (Jean Aoki, Suzanne Meisenzahl & Jackie Parnell)
Growth or Sustainability (Astrid Monson)
Candidates in Focus
Drive-in Registration
Hawaiian Sovereignty Vote Count (Arlene Ellis)
League Testifies on City Camping Facilities
Action Alert
Voter Participation
Orientation Meeting (Grace Furukawa)
Court Monitoring Project
Voter Hotline
Leaguer Elected to Serve on Violence Prevention Board
Leaguer Cindy Spencer "Expert Witness"
Membership

Convention Activities

Suffragists in white, gloved and hatted, carrying yellow umbrellas and wearing "Votes for Women" sashes, sang rousing songs from a bygone era in the rotunda of St. Louis Union Station before we departed by train for Chicago. More than 100 Leaguers from 26 states marched in pairs through the long indoor mall to the plaza, where speeches and songs conveyed the message: this was an historic recapitulation of that day 75 years ago when League of Women Voters was conceived in St. Louis and the idea brought by train to Chicago. Four cars slid out of St. Louis at 3 p.m. and were soon rolling through the fertile farmlands of Illinois. After 6 hours we arrived in Chicago and were greeted by a fabulous Dixieland band. A great ending to a great day for some of us.

After disembarking from the train at approximately 8:00 p.m. on Friday, as we strolled toward the terminal awaiting buses, a baggage cart struck Arlene from the back causing a mean gash in the back of her ankle. An ambulance took Arlene and Jean to the emergency wing of North Western Memorial Hospital where we were told the wound had barely missed her Achilles tendon. Fortunately the emergency room was not as crowded as it might have been on a Friday evening, (the Bulls and Sonics were playing their first game and even in the waiting room, everyone was glued to the two television sets), but after her gash was properly stitched and we returned to the hotel, it was about 3:00 a.m. in morning. Arlene was told to stay off her foot until an orthopedic surgeon could examine it which would not be until we returned to Honolulu, so needless to say, she missed the whole convention and her only view of Chicago was through our hotel room window and through taxi windows.

All four of us missed the Frank Lloyd Wright Architectural Tour scheduled for 8:00 a.m. Saturday. We had also missed the reception scheduled for Friday evening because our train had been delayed in St. Louis.

At the first plenary session on Saturday afternoon, there was a video interview with Lucy Wilson Benson, who was LWVUS president during the 50th anniversary of the League. She emphasized the need to work for what was right. She sees representative self-government as an "awesome" responsibility. She asked us to remember that any amount of time contributed to League projects is important and makes a difference. There were also remarks by Carol Moseley-Braun, senator from IL, and Claudine Schneider, former R.I. Congresswoman.

Following the close of the afternoon plenary session, many of the delegates walked the two-block distance to the Congress Hotel for the Victory Celebration Tea. We took time to reflect at the plaque in the lobby honoring the founding of the League. The highlight of the gathering was The Grace Mary Stern Chorus. The group offered songs explaining why women have trouble running for office (we have no wives to encourage and sustain us) to how hard it is to stay in the middle of the road.

Saturday evening, there was a reception at the Chicago Children's Museum. A performance of SAMANTHA on Sunday evening, Monday evening's Gala Awards Banquet and the Saturday Luncheon were held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel. This room and the ballroom of the Congress Hotel where the tea was held, have both been restored to their historic opulent beauty complete with marbled walls, rococo cupids and magnificent chandeliers. If you go to Chicago, be sure to take a look.

With workshops and caucuses, and dinner tours and sightseeing trips arranged by the Chicago League, and the enticement of the Wares Market and Exhibits where many Leagues sold League products, our days were a blur of activity. Chicago was cold and rainy, and only on the last day were we able to get a glimpse of Lake Michigan from our hotel window.

It was our pleasure to run into Dorothy Marsh, long-time Honolulu League member who is now president of a local League in the state of Washington. Many of you would remember vivacious and ever pleasant and helpful Dorothy.

Jean Aoki
Suzanne Meisenzahl
Jackie Parnell

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