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Illinois

League Of Women Voters of Greater Rockford Turns 95

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The League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford celebrates its 95th Anniversary Friday.

A history of the League and its prominent suffragists will be on display at the Ethnic Heritage Museum in Rockford.  

Among the accomplishments highlighted will be the improvement of safety protocols at the Byron nuclear power plant in the 1980s and the travel of four league members to China when the country’s borders first opened in the 1970s.

But President Claire McIntyre says the League’s most important contributions are in public education and encouraging others to participate in the democratic process.

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Julia C. Lathrop, a charter member of the League of Women Voters of Greater Rockford and the first woman to head a federal agency (the Children's Bureau).

“We’ve always been known for our candidate forums,” she said. “We’ve worked very hard on voter registration. Back in the 90s, they put together a wonderful government guide that went out to all the businesses and government offices for the public.

McIntyre says the goal of the League is to equip voters with the information they need to put their voice to use.

She said, “Being a league member is like taking an intensive course in civics, because you really do learn how government functions. You really come to understand how to study and act on issues.”

McIntyre says the celebration isn’t just about the past – it’s about the future. She says going forward, League members would like to start a board focusing on mental health issues and draw more attention to the state’s unresolved school funding plan.

The League of Women Voters was founded nationally Feb. 14, 1920 and in Rockford April 3, 1922.

The anniversary celebration is from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Friday, July 21 at the Ethnic Heritage Museum, 1129 S. Main St, Rockford. The public is invited.

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