Pomona College now has a chapter working with the League of Women Voters (LWV), a nonpartisan grassroots organization focused on advocacy and voting rights. The chapter will be led by Amanda Hollis-Brusky, politics chair at Pomona College and vice president of the LWV of Mt. Baldy Area, and politics major Celia Parry PO ’23.
The National Woman Suffrage Association founded the LWV in 1920. The League led initiatives for the ratification of the 19th amendment and provided voter education for 20 million women navigating the process for the first time.
The LWV now has over 750 active leagues across the United States, including the local Mt. Baldy Area league. Originally the “Pomona Valley League of Women Voters,” the Mt. Baldy league was founded in 1938 and later became the “League of Women Voters of Mt. Baldy Area” in 2017. The league now looks to the future, hoping to expand its mission and influence to a younger generation.
“We’ve been thinking about diversity and inclusion within our Mount Baldy chapter,” Hollis-Brusky said. “We’re thinking about not only diversity in terms of racial, ethnic, geographic, but also age.”
With only a few voter education and advocacy-focused clubs at the Claremont Colleges, all 5C students now have the chance to work alongside the LWV of Mt. Baldy Area.
“We would be working with local community leaders to do education advocacy, probably working on social media and podcast-related projects for the league [and] connecting with high schools in the area and also doing research to identify future issues and areas for advocacy,” Parry said.
After the 19th amendment was ratified, the LWV continued to advocate for women’s education and rights, including campaigning for the creation of the United Nations, creating the LWV Education Fund and passing multiple voting acts such as the National Voter Registration Act and the Help America Vote Act.
The LWV of Mt. Baldy Area recently announced its 2023 presentations: Civics Education, Water Infrastructure and Conservation, Juvenile Justice and Housing and Homelessness. The LWV’s action consists of “writing letters to media or legislators, holding press conferences, speaking at hearings and public meetings, adding our voice to a ballot measure campaign or sending action alerts to our members,” according to the LWV of Mt. Baldy Area website.
“The league is one of these organizations that is very interested in advocacy … that is based on education and research. I think the league is unique in that they won’t take action on a position unless they’ve studied it,” Hollis-Brusky said. “The positions that the league has, they’re not static.”
Due to the LWV’s non-partisan foundation, it does not endorse any political candidates or political parties; however, it advocates for many issues and prompts conversations surrounding political issues. As a politics major at Pomona, Parry saw it as an opportunity to explore her interests outside the classroom.
“I’m in classes where you talk about and learn about all these normative claims about democracy,” Parry said. “It’s an opportunity to go beyond that and do real work on the ground.”
Students will be immersed in the league’s mission and have opportunities such as engaging with local government, digitizing chapter archives and participating in advocacy projects.
“There are a lot of opportunities for not just politics majors but anyone who’s interested in kind of civic life, civic engagement [and] what it means to be a community,” Hollis-Brusky said. “Anyone who joins now gets in on the ground floor and gets the opportunity to shape the culture and shape that organization.”