October 19, 2020
We hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy during this challenging time. 2020 has been a difficult year in many ways, and we are very grateful for your continued support as we continue to educate and engage voters while our democracy faces unprecedented challenges.
We are pleased to share this letter and the accompanying 2019–2020 year-end financial report. Despite the challenging environment, the League of Women Voters of San Francisco has accomplished a lot this year, and we are in a healthy financial situation. We have continued to provide nonpartisan resources to voters throughout 2019 and 2020, and to establish partnerships, build out our programs, and improve our operations, including moving all of our events and meetings online. We would like to thank all of our members, volunteers, and supporters for their time, energy, and resources. It is truly incredible what we are able to accomplish as an organization of members and volunteers who are passionate about educating voters and defending democracy.
This year is the centennial of the founding of the League of Women Voters, and of the passage of the 19th Amendment which secured some women the right to vote. This year, LWVSF held a number of educational events highlighting the important history of women’s suffrage and the contributions of the League over the past century. We published educational resources about the suffrage movement and held 9 educational events over the past year to celebrate our centennial. Thank you to our fantastic volunteer coordinator Kathy Barr for leading our centennial efforts, and to member Jennifer Helton, a suffrage historian, for sharing her knowledge with us and many others in the community.
Image: LWVSF at Women’s March, October 2020
LWVSF has been particularly active in providing educational resources to voters. With your support, we continue to engage voters at our candidate forums, educate voters on local ballot measures with our Pros & Cons Guide and Speakers Bureau, and produce Candidate Statements and Pros & Cons Discussions in partnership with SFGovTV. LWVSF also has an active voter registration program, hosting several voter registration trainings. LWVSF continues to support Voter’s Edge, a website that allows voters to access nonpartisan information on the candidate and ballot propositions on their ballot. We will continue to provide these important educational resources moving forward.
If you’re getting ready to vote, get all of our November 2020 election resources. LWVSF also continues to take positions on certain issues, which you can read in our ballot recommendations for the November 2020 election. This year we also registered voters at the Women's March, hosted virtual “Ask the League” meetings for the public, and held two virtual discussions on state and local ballot measures in partnership with UCSF, USF, CCSF, and more. Thank you to all of our amazing volunteers who made these accomplishments possible.
Image: Election Kickoff Meeting, July 2020
In addition to providing voters with election-related resources, LWVSF has also advocated on behalf of important issues. As part of our efforts to ensure government transparency, earlier this year we worked with San Franciscans for Sunshine to send a letter to the Mayor and Board of Supervisors with recommendations for ensuring public access and transparency during the COVID-19 crisis. Many of these recommendations were included in a resolution that was unanimously adopted by the Board of Supervisors in May. We also advocated for the Police Commission to resume meetings after they had been halted during the pandemic. Once meetings resumed, we advocated to the Police Commission for policy changes related to officer identification and internal complaints as part of our efforts to achieve community policing goals. Read these letters. Thanks to our Advocacy Team for their great work.
We also have been furthering our areas of focus, which our members vote on at our Program Planning event each year. One current area of focus is Policing Practices. As part of this, we have an Observer Corps program in which volunteers attend or listen to government meetings to learn about what issues are being covered. If you're interested in becoming an Observer, join one of the upcoming trainings. We also created an informative flier on on Policing Practices, for San Franciscans to learn about how to connect with police, what policing improvements are currently focused on, and where the nearest police district is.
Image: League Hosted D11 Candidate Forum, September 2020
LWVSF also hosted a number of important educational events this year. We partnered with the San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder and the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women for a third annual (and this year virtual) Women’s Equality day celebration, in which we encouraged women to participate in the W Challenge by voting and learning more about incredible women leaders in our history. We also hosted a virtual August members event focused on the League’s criminal justice reform efforts with advocates from Free the Vote, advocated for CA Prop 17, and held interviews with Police Commissioner Cindy Elias and Director of the Department of Police Accountability Paul Henderson.
LWVSF members also continue to take on leadership positions in our communities and within the League. Our members hold seats on the Ballot Simplification Committee (BSC), which prepares clear, easily understandable information about ballot initiatives for voters, and the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force (SOTF), which ensures that transparency in government is upheld. We recently appointed new members to both of these seats: Lauren Girardin to the BSC and Jennifer Wong to the SOTF. Leah Edwards, our former President, serves on the BART Bond Oversight Committee, which oversees spending of $3.5 billion on infrastructure to improve BART. Leah was also recently elected Treasurer to LWV of the United States.
Image: LWVSF Membership Meeting, August 2020
LWVSF continues our dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and reaffirmed our DEI policy with our newly elected board. We also invested in our board and League leaders with a racial equity retreat to better understand how we too may inadvertently perpetuate racial stereotypes and to identify tangible, impactful action items for LWVSF as a whole to promote racial equity through our work.
In addition to our community impact, LWVSF has continued to invest in our own organization. With the COVID-19 pandemic, LWVSF has had to transition into a primarily online environment. We successfully hosted virtual member events, candidate forums, and ballot measure discussions. It has been inspiring to see our volunteers adapt and continue to build our program during the uncertain environment. As always, we would love to have you join us by helping out at an event, becoming involved in a committee, or taking on a leadership role. If you are interested in getting more involved, please contact our fantastic volunteer Kathy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your support of the League of Women Voters San Francisco. As always, we welcome your input, comments, and feedback, and hope to see you soon at an event or meeting!
League of Women Voters of San Francisco
Image: Suffrage 100: LWVSF President Alison Goh with Eleni Kounalakis, Aimee Allison & Marisa Lago