A Millenial’s Response to the League

Brigid HallAs a master’s student (and an 80s baby) at the University of Texas School of Social Work, I have pushed myself to reach beyond the campus community to make connections with other groups. For a class assignment, and with the encouragement of my grandmother, an active member of her local League in upstate New York, I attended a LWVAA unit meeting back in October. I was originally drawn in by the wide range of issues the League studies, and the variety of presenters the League invites to educate attendees on those issues. I have since become a dues-paying member and attended a few more events.

In today’s climate of extremist politics and regressive policies, civic participation is crucial to ensure the will of the people is present in the government that represents them. Recent popular uprisings, from the Occupy Movement to the Arab Spring to the African Summer, demonstrate that the desire for a responsible and reflective government spans race, gender, class, and age. The decommissioning of the Holly Power Plant is an excellent local example of a diverse community banding together to make change. An entire community united to demand a healthier neighborhood, and Austin Energy was forced to take action. The dualistic nature of our political system divides people and makes inclusive dialogue extremely difficult. Organizations such as the League of Women Voters are essential to restoring participation and faith in our democracy.

As my relationship with the organization continues to grow, I am searching for ways to enlarge the community that associates with the League. The nonpartisan and informative structure of the League offers an inclusive environment that encourages participation from diverse individuals. To increase the diversity of participants, the League needs to increase their visibility in the community. As a proud new member, I plan on starting a campus branch of the League to share our organization with the university community. Gaining authorization to advertise on campus will provide opportunities to host voter registration drives, publicize meetings and generally increase our presence among a younger generation.

In addition, distributing a past issue of the Voters Guide while registering voters will give individuals a closer look at the League to see its truly nonpartisan nature. As Dianne Wheeler’s high school voter registration drive moves forward, and as I organize similar events on campus, the Voters Guide will serve as a take-away piece to keep the League on people’s minds. I want to speak out on behalf of the League to acquaint others with its structure and to extend invitations to our events. I am passionate about creating a healthier future, and I see transgenerational engagement as an important step toward this goal.

Stewart’s call to action to the Millennials will not go unanswered. We have the energy, passion and desire to make positive changes to our political system, and the League has the experience of historical activism. A strong partnership will make our demands louder and more inclusive.

Please visit this blog on the League website, and leave your ideas of how we can build partnerships between the League and the UT community.  I look forward to hearing how we can build a stronger, more age-inclusive, League.~Brigid Hall