On Thursday, the League of Women Voters of the Dalton Area is marking a milestone, the 65th anniversary of making democracy work better in our corner of the nation.
In celebration of Women's History Month, the League is observing its anniversary with a program at the James E. Brown Center at Dalton State College at 6 p.m. featuring a light buffet and a play put on by members titled "We Hold These Truths."
The national organization dates to nearly a century ago, primarily focusing on women's suffrage. But since that time the League, which is a nonpartisan political organization, has emphasized encouraging informed and active participation in government. Public policy is influenced through education and advocacy. And the local chapter has done its part since the early 1950s.
Back then the chapter members laid the groundwork for changing the government of Whitfield County from a sole commissioner to a multi-member board of commissioners, which we have had since the 1960s.
According to an article on the Dalton League in Dalton Magazine in 2009, the League was instrumental in ending the fee system here, where many local officials were paid based on fees they collected, and moved county officers to a salary system.
The League joined with other groups to establish the Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center, which has provided shelter for abused women and their children since the 1970s.
Today we know the League for its voter registration efforts, plus its monthly luncheons — open to the public —at Western Sizzlin where the audience members hear speakers from a wide spectrum of the political system.
And let's not forget the political and candidate forums the League organizes, often partnered with this newspaper, during election cycles. These forums often offer the only opportunities for the public to hear and ask questions of local candidates.
Despite its name, which it retains out of tradition and respect for its roots, the League of Women Voters is open to male members, too. One thing its members do have in common is involvement in the community. Many members are members of other clubs or community organizations.
It is the dedication of these members that we salute on their organization's 65th anniversary of grassroots public service, of registering citizens to vote and of informing voters on the issues. Their efforts help make democracy work.