Making Democracy Work

Calendar of Events

Date & Time        Place        Description
Monday, October 14, 2019
Chris Zilke Home LWVBCC Book Club Meeting. Bridge-building is the theme of books selected by the LWVBCC book group for discussion this month: Building Bridges Across the Racial Divide by local writers Larry and Sandy Feldman (Peter Long Publishing, Inc. 2019);The Other Side of the River: A Story of Two Towns, A Death and America's Dilemma, by Alex Kotlowitz, exploring implications of the 1991 death of a young man in the river between Benton Harbor and St. Joseph (Nan A. Talese an imprint of Doubleday, 1999); and Across That Bridge: A Vision for Change and the Future of America, by U.S. Congressman John Lewis (Hachette Book Group, Inc. 2012).

When we meet on Monday, October 14, at 10:00 a.m. at Chris Zilke's home, we will be exchanging various ideas of the authors and the Bridges we can build. You are welcome to come and participate in the discussion even if you haven't yet read any of these books. Please call Chris at (269) 449-2225 to let her know that you plan to attend.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Everywhere National Voter Registration Day. LWVBCC will be one of many community organizations nationwide participating in National Voter Registration Day on September 24.

Thanks to amendments to the Michigan Constitution approved by voters last November, we now face fewer impediments to registration and voting than in the past. Nonetheless, that first step-registering-opens the door to full participation of the democratic process.

If you are interested in helping register voters on September 24, please contact LWVBCC voter services coordinator Mike McCaffrey:

Thursday, September 19, 2019
Box Factory for the Arts
1101 Broad Street
St. Joseph, MI 49085
Conversations with a Suffragist. In her one-woman show, Megan Burnett brings to life Mattie Griffith Browne, a 19th century Kentucky suffragist, abolitionist, and author. Born in Owensboro, KY to a slave-holding family, Browne was determined to free the slaves she inherited from her parents. As an adult, she wrote "Autobiography of a Female Slave" to raise money to free those slaves. She then turned her activism to suffragism and worked to obtain the right to vote for all citizens.

Megan Burnett is the Theatre Program Director and Assistant Professor of theatre at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY. She has taught acting and voice for Folger Shakespeare Library, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, University of Louisville, Eastern Kentucky University, Alice Lloyd College, and Spalding University. Burnett will conduct a post-show discussion following each performance.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Vickers Theater
6 N. Elm
Three Oaks, MI 49128
Conversations with a Suffragist. In her one-woman show, Megan Burnett brings to life Mattie Griffith Browne, a 19th century Kentucky suffragist, abolitionist, and author. Born in Owensboro, KY to a slave-holding family, Browne was determined to free the slaves she inherited from her parents. As an adult, she wrote "Autobiography of a Female Slave" to raise money to free those slaves. She then turned her activism to suffragism and worked to obtain the right to vote for all citizens.

Megan Burnett is the Theatre Program Director and Assistant Professor of theatre at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY. She has taught acting and voice for Folger Shakespeare Library, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, University of Louisville, Eastern Kentucky University, Alice Lloyd College, and Spalding University. Burnett will conduct a post-show discussion following each performance.

Monday, August 12, 2019
Emelie Schroeder's house Aug 12 Book Group. The next gathering of the LWVBCC book group will be at 10:00 a.m. Monday, August 12 at the home of Emelie Shroder. This will be a planning session-with focus on selecting books for the coming months.

Please put the date on your calendar now and then, by at least Thursday August 8, either text (773-612-7411) or email Emelie ( to let her know you plan to attend.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019
185 Mount Tabor Rd
Buchanan, MI 49107
LWVBCC Annual Meeting and Dinner.
Friday, May 17, 2019
Livonia, MI LWVMI State Convention. The League's 2019 Convention in Livonia will celebrate the 100th birthday of the League of Women Voters of Michigan and the 100th anniversary of suffrage for Michigan women. The Convention promises to be informative, productive and fun. State Convention provides us with an opportunity to conduct important business of the state League as well as an opportunity to participate in workshops, learn more about the League and renew friendships with League members across the state. Delegates will:
  • Adopt the 2019 - 2021 state program, including any state studies
  • Adopt the LWVMI budgets for the next two years, including the per-member-payment
  • Elect LWVMI Officers and members of the Board of Directors
  • Consider Amendments to the LWVMI Bylaws, if proposed

A detailed schedule of events, a registration packet and other Convention documents will be sent to all Leagues via future e-mailings and will be available on the website in February.
Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Berrien RESA
711 St. Joseph Avenue
Berrien Springs, MI 49103
Forum on Civil Discourse. We seem to be witnessing the breakdown in cultural norms in how we talk with and treat one another. Arthur C. Brooks, president of the American Enterprise Institute, called it "Our Culture of Contempt" in a recent issue of the New York Times. "What we need," he said, "is not to disagree less, but to disagree better."

To begin addressing the problem, LWVBCC will host a public forum on May 15. We will hear from several people who are or have been involved in government, the political process, and other roles given to conflict. They will help us understand how civil discourse figures in their work, any changes they have seen over the years, its impact on how they do their jobs, and ideas on what works best. There will be an opportunity for questions from the audience.

Monday, May 6, 2019
Marilyn Klawiter's Home LWVBCC Book Club Meeting. The focus will be civil discourse. Please select a book from the following list (or another of your choosing on that subject)and then come to discuss it with other League members on May 6:
  • Alda, Alan. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?
  • Holland, Sarah & Beth Silvers. I Think You're Wrong (But I'm Listening) A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations
  • Hoggan, James. I'm Right and You're an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean It Up
  • Sasse, Ben. THEM Why We Hate Each Other - And How to Heal
  • Steele, Claude. Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do
  • Traister, Rebecca. Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women's Anger

Please call or text Marilyn at 269-362-1871 to let her know that you plan to attend.

Thursday, March 21, 2019
2099 W. John Beers Rd.
Stevensville, MI 49127
John Austin Forum. How can Michigan and the Midwest grow new businesses and jobs in today's economic reality? That is the question John Austin will address at a public forum at noon on Thursday, March 21, at the Lincoln Township Library in Stevensville.

Austin just completed 16 years elected service on the Michigan State Board of Education, serving the past six years as President. He directs the Michigan Economic Center, a center for ideas and network-building to advance Michigan's economic transformation. He serves as a Non-Resident Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs leading efforts to support economic transformation in the American Midwest. Mr. Austin also Lectures on the Economy at the University of Michigan.

One hundred years ago, Austin observes, Michigan was that era's Silicon Valley. Here, inspired tinkerers and immigrant entrepreneurs built the prototypes and created the processes that launched America's economic dominance of the 20th Century. We put the world on wheels, invented assembly line manufacturing, created whole new products and industries making cars, chemicals, cereals, machinery, furniture, appliances and retail stores.

Today, as our inboxes and twitter feeds fill with reports of the growing digitization of our economy, robots displacing people--the unanswered question, Austin says, is this: where are the new jobs to replace the hundreds of thousands lost to automation and global competitors in the great industries of Michigan and the Midwest. He will offer creative suggestions to answer that question on March 21.

More information about this program will be in next month's newsletter. For now, though, be sure to save the date and time: noon until 1:30 p.m. on March 21 in the Lawrence Room of the Lincoln Township Library, 2099 West John Beers Road, Stevensville. Mark your calendar now. To view the video of the presentation click here

Monday, March 18, 2019
Chris Zilke home Book Group. Book Group members will discuss "Becoming" by Michelle Obama which was described by the publisher as "An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States."
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Consortium Center
175 W Main St
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
Transportation Forum. Getting from point A to point B reliably is a big problem for many people in Berrien County. Individuals who don't have affordable and timely transportation on which they can count often have trouble getting to work, school, medical appointments, the grocery store, places to meet with family members and friends, community events, and anywhere else that's not in a reasonable walking distance. Causes of this lack of access vary -- but often include -- lack of a bus route to the destination, public transporation operating on schedules that start too late or end too early, and prohibitive fares.

For many citizens in Berrien County, public transportation is not an issue. They don't need it and don't want to use it. They may complain about the price of gas, the outrageous cost of car insurance or driving on crummy roads. But, in the end, they fill up, pay the car insurance, program the GPS and drive away doing their best to avoid numerous patches and potholes. They have no idea -- nor do they really even think about the problems -- regarding needing, wanting, and NOT having access to reliable transportation.

Fortunately, some community leaders are very much aware of the lack of adequate public transportation in Berrien County and are trying to do something about it. The Berrien County Board of Commissioners has been working on transportation issues for a number of years. To this end, it has set up a Steering Committee including representatives of the four major bus companies operating in the area, city leaders, county commissioners, and private and public representatives. In 2018, this Steering Committee, based on studies authorized in 2014 and 2017, began working on final recommendations of service plan options for operations, maintenance, facilities, funding, administration and governance.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Lincoln Township Library
2099 W. John Beers Rd.
Stevensville, MI 49127
Board Meeting. The regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Directors.
Sunday, December 9, 2018
4 PM
Judy Scully's Home Holiday Party. Sunday, December 9, is sure to be festive from 4 until 7 p.m. at Judy Scully's home because that's the day, time, and place of LWVBCC's annual holiday party.

Please come and bring with you an appetizer, salad, bread, main course, dessert, or other dish of your choice along with wine, beer, soft drinks, or anything else you would like to share.

Later this month, we will email directions to Judy's house along with numbers for you to call or text with your plans to attend, others who will come with you, and your likely contributions to the potluck table.

It will be good to celebrate together the joys of the season.

Saturday, October 20, 2018
Benton Harbor Arts & Culture Center
275 Pipestone Avenue
Benton Harbor, MI
Voter Information Event. From 1:00 until 3:00 p.m. Saturday, October 20, LWVBCC and several other nonpartisan community groups will provide an opportunity for voters to discuss issues of interest to them in the upcoming election, including the statewide ballot proposals. The discussion will be at the Benton Harbor Arts & Culture Center, 275 Pipestone Avenue.

Co-sponsors of the event are the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Voters Not Politicians, the OutCenter, and Berrien Unitarian Universalist Fellowship's Social Justice Committee.

Hot dogs and other refreshments will be provided.

Thursday, October 18, 2018
Mathews Conference Center West at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac District 59 Candidates' Forum. Voters in the 59th District have an opportunity to hear from candidates for the Michigan House from their District at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 18 in the Mathews Conference Center West at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac. The candidates are Aaron Miller and Dennis B. Smith.

The forum will begin with the moderator asking questions prepared in advance by LWVBCC, followed by questions submitted in writing by the audience. Candidates will not receive any of the questions in advance.

This will be an excellent opportunity for voters to learn about the candidates' positions on important issues. LWVBCC appreciates both candidates' willingness to participate so that this service can be made available to voters in the 59th District. To view a video of the presentation click here

Thursday, October 11, 2018
Berrien RESA
711 Saint Joseph Avenue
Berrien Springs, MI
Town Hall Meeting on Ballot Proposals. At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 11 LWVBCC will host an educational forum at Berrien RESA, 711 Saint Joseph Avenue in Berrien Springs, on the statewide ballot proposals that will be on the ballot November 6.

The presentation will include information on three proposals: to legalize marijuana, to establish a citizen's redistricting committee, and to secure elections and voting rights. The presentation will allow voters to learn more about the proposals and discuss the pros and cons.

Leading the discussion will be Paula Manley, a member of the Board of the League of Women Voters of Michigan. She is a member and past president of the League of Women Voters of the Kalamazoo Area.

This Townhall is open to the public. Everyone is invited and encouraged to come. To view the video of the presentation, click here.

Monday, September 24, 2018
Lake Street Eats
4228 Lake Street
Bridgman, MI
Votes for Women!. In the next year, the U.S. will be celebrating ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Nineteenth Amendment established the right to vote for all women.

Although the suffragettes' journey for the right to vote was a long and arduous process (beginning in the mid 1800's), the suffragettes persisted. They marched, protested, lobbied their state legislatures, and often were jailed for their activism.

How proud we are today that the state of Michigan was one of the first three states to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment! The date--June 10, 1919. By August of 1920, 36 states adopted the Nineteenth Amendment, granting all women the right to vote.

The 100th anniversary of Votes for Women will herald a year of parades, exhibits, and discussions to call attention to the past and strengthen our resolve for future voting endeavors. LWVBCC needs to be part of the centennial celebration of women's suffrage in Michigan.

Won't you consider joining the Health & Social Services Committee of the LWVBCC to plan events for this momentous occasion? We need your ideas, your suggestions, a course of action to celebrate the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment.

The Committee will meet for a preliminary planning session on Tuesday, September 24, at 10:00 a.m. at Lake Street Eats, 4228 Lake Street, Bridgman. The women suffragettes worked tirelessly for Votes for Women. Let's match their effort and energy!

Monday, September 17, 2018
Emelie Schroder's house Book Group to discuss "The Soul of America" by Jon Meacham. The book group will meet Monday, September 17 to discuss The Soul of America, described by one reviewer as "a brilliant, fascinating, timely, and above all profoundly important book.

Troubled by today's partisan political climate, Meacham seeks to understand it by putting it in the context of history. There have been other troubled times, he shows, when elected leaders and citizen activists such as Martin Luther King, Jr.; Carrie Chapman Catt, founder of the League of Women Voters; Eleanor Roosevelt; John Lewis; and others have led the way to look forward with hope. "The good news," he says, "is that we have come through such darkness before."

The discussion will be at Emelie Shroder's home at 10:00 a.m. on September 17. Please call Emelie at 269-266-7299 by September 14 to let her know you will be there because she is planning to stimulate the discussion with snacks and drinks.

But above all, please do come. A few regulars are sure to be there, but we especially hope some who have not come before or who have come rarely will join us this time, as well. This is sure to be a good book you will be glad to have read. (But you are welcome to attend and learn about it even if you don't have time to read it before then.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Norris Room of the St. Joseph Library Margaret Leary Addresses Redistricting Issues. Redistricting is both important and complicated. At an upcoming public forum sponsored by LWVBCC, Margaret A. Leary, retired Director of the University of Michigan Law Library, will guide us through the process. The forum will be in the Norris Room of the St. Joseph Library at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11.

Redistricting will be required again after the census of 2020, lending particular currency to the subject. In Michigan, the process is receiving particular attention in this election year because of a ballot initiative promoted by Voters Not Politicians that would significantly alter the procedures for redistricting and the individuals responsible for that undertaking. Thus when we go to the polls in November, one of the important decisions we may make is how to vote on that proposal. The consequences are great and lasting.

Be sure to join us on July 11 to learn more--and bring your friends along. It's sure to be an important and informative afternoon. To view the video, click here.