The following is an article sent to use by League member Jackie MacKnight of LWV of Hamden-North Haven, Connecticut about what being a member of the League of Women Voters means to her and why she encourages others to join the League.

After a long day at work and taking care of my family, I was changing the sheets on our bed and WHACK — slammed my knuckles into the headboard, hard. One knuckle ended up bleeding through two bandages. Since then, I have hit that same knuckle about 10 times, each time cursing at myself for not paying attention to my surroundings. Each day, our world, our state, our town, even our community deal with struggles, trials, situations - ranging from mildly difficult to really serious. For most of us, it’s as if none of that even exists, until you hit your knuckles, and it gets your attention.

My best friend had joined the League and invited me to join. All right, I said, but I thought to myself, “Oh, this is going to be a group of older women chatting or sitting at the polls when people vote.” Boy, was I wrong. Since I joined the League, it’s like I’ve gained eyesight, and I can’t thank the League enough. The League is an organization of women and men of all ages and demographics. We do not support or oppose political candidates. We work to increase understanding of public policy issues and influence policy through education and advocacy. We are about civic action and responsibility. I truly wish everyone could have attended our recent Breakfast with the Legislators. Whether or not you voted for the six state senators and representatives who represent our towns and attended the event, you were able to sit at a table with them, hear them talk about the hot topics in 2013 and hear them explain what they are planning to do about these issues. You could ask questions, begin to understand them as people, and maybe become less cynical about politics. It was a wonderful event. The League does community-based initiatives throughout the year — but most importantly we get together, we talk and discuss issues, we increase our own understanding of public policy issues, we advocate for public policies supported by our members, and grow in understanding about good government at the local, state and national levels.

So, open your eyes to our common responsibility as Americans. What happens to our society is up to us. Let’s become aware before we bruise our knuckles!


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