LWVBCC does not have any membership requirements beyond the payment of dues and each member can choose her or his level of involvement, which can change from year to year. Obviously, we do need some people to be active and many are. We also do not meet on any set schedule, beyond favoring fall and spring meetings. We try to schedule our meetings on different days of the week and times of day and in different locations, so as many people as possible can participate. The availability of speakers is also a factor. Some, like U.S. Senators and Congressmen just tell you when they are coming! The Board of Directors usually meets on the second Tuesday of the month. LWVBCC members are welcome to attend. Just check the newsletter for time and place.. The Annual Meeting and Dinner is always in mid-June.
HISTORY OF LWVBCC
LWVBCC's programs have been significantly influenced by its geography and economy: largely rural, agricultural, and recreational with access not only to the "big lake," but to beautiful inland lakes, rivers, and streams, as well, throughout both Cass and Berrien Counties. Many of LWVBCC's public forums over the years have been influenced by its geography and economy, bringing attention to the need to protect our waters--both surface and underground--from harmful chemicals, invasive species, and harmful runoff; on issues impacting availability of an adequate agricultural workforce; and on other subjects directly influencing the economy of our area. At the same time, however, we regularly broaden the scope through forums that focus on education, criminal justice, public transportation, and other issues of current interest and concern. Increasingly, we are working with other community organizations to broaden our reach.
LWVBCC has been active in voter registration and in providing opportunities for voters to hear from candidates for a variety of offices--mayors, county commissioners, judges, state legislators--about their views on issues at public forums and debates. In 2018, we registered about 500 people. That same year, though, LWVBCC's efforts to host candidate forums and debates were frustrated when, contrary to a decades-long history, candidates from one political party declined to participate. We are doing our best to assure that 2018 was an anomaly in that regard.
In its early years, the membership of our local League, like that of the League nationally, was only women. But when the League, at its national convention in 1974, voted to admit men to membership, that picture changed dramatically. Twice in the past, the president of LWVBCC has been a man. Now, almost a third of LWVBCC's members are men, and two of them serve on its Board of Directors.
LWVBCC is proud to have received a number of grants to support its work, including grants from the local Pokagon Fund to support voter education through the purchase of good equipment enabling us to record many events and make them available on YouTube to people who are unable to attend, thereby significantly expanding our reach into the larger communities of Berrien and Cass Counties.
For more than six decades LWVBCC has helped make democracy work in southwest Michigan. That history inspires commitment to continue the effort going forward.