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She is me. Member stories that inspire.

Explore diverse stories of those who have shaped past and present progress for voting rights, and join us in this movement as we celebrate 100 years of fighting for democracy.  The She Is Me is online campaign celebrates 100 years of League work through the inter-generational stories of our real League of Women Voters members.

LWV of Boulder County member Hannah Rain Crowe profiled League members local to Colorado . Ranging in age from 16 to 95 years old and from many diverse backgrounds and identities, these League members exemplify the strength, passion and tenacity of our organization. Read their stories below!

Interested in even more stories? Visit www.lwv.org/sheisme.



Colorado stories by Hannah Rain Crowe


Hannah Rain Crowe is a member of the LWV of Boulder County and currently lives in Denver. She was raised in Berea, Kentucky and often tagged along with her mother to LWV events in their community. Hannah’s inspiration for this project came from the many civically-engaged women in both sides of her family – Dutch-American and Eastern Band Cherokee – who work to promote justice and equity in the political process. An amateur photographer, Hannah hopes that the images and stories of these Colorado League members will inspire others to get involved.







 

Shiquita Yarbrough

Shiquita Yarbrough is from Longmont, Colorado and has been on the board of the Boulder County League of Women Voters for the past three years. She became involved in the League around four years ago but decided to join the board after learning about everything the League does in the community, meeting smart and passionate women, and realizing that there weren’t as many people of color involved. 
“It wasn’t a full representation of the community."

Shiquita started the Families of Color organization in Boulder County, an organization focusing on supporting, uplifting, and building relationships among people of color in the community, specifically people who are transitioning and are introduced into her community. The group was created so people can share and have a safe place to connect to those who can relate. She also works at the YWCA, helping with a program called Reading to End Racism.

I always tell the kids ‘you have power, that is your voice’. We all have power, but it’s how you use that power that will determine whether it’s effective or not. I say ‘if you use your power for bad then that’s not helping your community. If you use your power for good, then just think of all the people you can help’. We are all empowered if we use our power, and the League has given me the opportunity to use my power.

Shiquita says that voters have to be educated about whatever issues they need to use their power for. They need to believe that they can be a part of a change and have that confidence to voice their opinions.

“I feel like making sure that as long as they have the voice, they have the power. And how can we support them? We have to understand their needs and what is important to them because they are the future. We should be backing them up however we can and making sure that they have the confidence they need to continue to use their power.” 








 

Rossana Longo

Rossana Longo has lived in Boulder for the past 18 years. She immigrated from Ecuador with her family, and is deeply proud of her mestiza heritage, which is the multi-racial combination of indigenous and European cultures.

“I’m really proud of my origins, I am a mestiza and I have that in my heart. [My] dichotomy gives me empathy and makes me open my mind.”

 

Rossana decided to go back to school at the age of 48 to get her master’s in Media and Public Engagement, where one of her professors passed on an email from the League of Women Voters saying they were looking for someone to network at events and work with the radio station. The combination of her internships at both the League and KGNU, the community radio station, landed her a permanent position at KGNU as the Bilingual Reporter, where she’s worked since.

"For me, it was a big blessing,” she said, “I fell in love with the power of all the females that I’ve met through the league. I felt guided and supported, and I learned a lot from them.”

           

Rossana is shocked that people in this country don’t see the importance of voting because she comes from a country where your modern life can revolve around whether you vote or not.

“If you don’t vote, you won’t be able to travel or get a license, and you might even have to pay a fee.”

 

She wishes to see women around the world really come together as one, saying: “the power of unity is the most important power.”






























 

Molly Saunders

Molly Saunders is a Boulder, Colorado native who has served as the Secretary of the LWV of Boulder County since 2019. She has always been immersed in the League, since her mother is also an incredibly active member.  Molly started with volunteering her time at smaller League events which eventually led her to take a board position.

Not having good voter participation or motivation to be involved, is a big deal for me,” she said. “And I think League of Women Voters specifically is such an ideal organization for me along those lines, because they’re so dedicated to that ‘across the board’ education.

Molly takes pride in making sure her immediate circle of friends and peers are more civically involved, as well as talking to people on a personal level about voting. She believes that collaboration, becoming “fired up” about policy issues, and becoming part of organizations is a wonderful way for young voters to make their voices heard.

“If a person can get interested or motivated by that one thing, it gives [them] a very clear view of how voting and involvement in the process can help make a difference. Once you identify what you are passionate about, you can become part of an organization that follows that or helps get those goals reached. That’s how you can become a part of things and help amplify your voice. Connect with other people, and think ‘Where’s my place in this?' That’s a big stride for people take."

Please vote in all eligible ways! A lot of younger voters (and all voters, actually) overlook local and state elections/ballot issues, but these are how you can inject change much more quickly and effectively than waiting just for the national election cycles. To be fair though, I do think a lot of younger voters are actually already far outstripping us in their vocal involvement and knowledge and are really inspirational in how much they are engaging in government and current issues. So perhaps the best advice is to just keep it up, tell your friends.”





























 

Jessica Hoke

Jessica Hoke joined the LWV of Greeley-Weld Cos. in 2018, looking for community and intellectually stimulating activities after losing two loved ones. As a teenager, Jessica’s stepdad taught her the importance of voting, saying that he didn’t care and didn’t want to know how she voted – the important thing is that she voted in the first place. So when she saw a bulletin for her local League’s Annual Meeting in her local paper, she decided to go.

 

They were so welcoming, and over the next few months I continued to learn as much as I could about the LWV. The more I learned, the more I liked. From voter education to advocacy, I felt their mission aligned well with things I felt strongly about. So, I joined.”

 

Jessica has mentored youth as a leader in the Civil Air Patrol Cadet Program, has learned how to skydive, has taught herself Spanish and how to play guitar, has worked her way up a locally-owned community bank where she has been employed for the last 20+ years, and has overcome the effects of domestic violence and abuse; all of which has made her the accomplished woman she is today.

 

Being a League member has allowed Jessica to encourage more people to vote and provide them with unbiased, trusted information about policy issues. “I still remember the first voter I registered and how excited we both were,” she recalled. “And I hope I never forget the way I feel when I’m at a Naturalization Ceremony, witnessing people become my fellow citizens and then exercising their new rights by registering to vote.”

 

Jessica wants to see women supporting women, welcoming and celebrating each other’s diversity and using their voices to take action with the same grit and resilience of all who have come before them. She wishes to see the League remain strong and grow in numbers, as well as for all voters to stay engaged and continue to protect their democracy.

 

Vote! Stay informed! Always keep learning! Be aware of where your information is coming from, listen to people you disagree with, and share your enthusiasm.

 

And that community Jessica was looking for? She says she’s found it in the League.






























Eva Muniz Valdez

Eva Muniz Valdez has been a lifelong resident of Colorado, born in the southeastern region of Colorado as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She has been a member of the LWV of Pueblo for nearly 20 years, and has always been intrigued by the League history and the role that it has played in making significant policy changes. Eva and her husband have always been active in local and state politics, and both of them are members of their local League.

           

“The League of Women Voters has a vast history of working to improve our nation on all levels; the Suffragettes gave much for us to have the rights and opportunities we enjoy.”

 

As a registered nurse, Eva knows the importance of access to health care and thinks that health services should be at a standard to suit everyone, not just those with the financial ability.  She has worked as a prenatal educator, mental and behavioral health specialist, and sexual assault nurse examiner. She currently offers health care education to 16 southeastern Colorado communities that include both the frontier and rural populations, including many areas where people need interventions for diseases like diabetes, or who are struggling with opiates and other addictive substances.

 

The League has given Eva the opportunity to work and learn with other well-informed individuals to expand her knowledge of her community process.

 

Our legislators need to be educated by those experiencing the issue of concern, and they must be ‘willing’ listeners and must be open to surrounding themselves with those that have expertise that they do not possess. It is now our task as informed voters to remind them. We must seek out, recruit, educate, learn from, and support the next generation and future leadership.”

 

Eva says that we must be informed about the decisions our elected officials are making on our behalf, because we live those decisions daily, and that we want credible, objective information and education resources.






























 

Florence Field

Florence Field lives in Fort Collins, Colorado and has been a LWV of Larimer County member since 2005 after seeing a short story in The Coloradoan about a League-sponsored panel discussion on housing issues. Because she had been active in housing and other related issues in Maine, where she previously lived, she attended the discussion and was approached by several Leaguers who eventually persuaded her to join.

 

Florence was born in San Francisco in 1924. At 17 years old, as a Japanese-American growing up during World War II, she was forcibly moved by the U.S. government to an internment camp in Utah with her family. While in the camp, she was sponsored by a church to attend Heidelberg College on a scholarship. She then attended graduate school at the University of Chicago, where she became an adjunct professor; during the Civil Rights movement and after, she advocated for equitable policies and practices at the university. Working with her students, she found strengths in herself that she hadn’t known were there.

Florence says that the League should not become a “ladies’ club,” but more of a political force that can remain nonpartisan in their communities. Her hope is that the women’s movement will become more inclusive and will work towards justice for everyone, especially women of color.

About future voters and the League, she says, “Young people should participate more in direct action and nonviolent activities, in addition to voting.  The public is, by and large, impressed by the enthusiasm of the young, and the young benefit from taking part not only in the actions themselves but in the planning and organizing of these activities.





























 

Sarah Shuwarger

Sarah Shuwarger is the youngest member of the LWV of Pueblo. After moving to Colorado when she was 14 years old, Sarah wanted to get more involved in the community and knew she would fit in at Pueblo Pride, where she came across a League booth. As a very politically interested person, she learned more about the League and knew that she had to join.

 

Within her first few months of living in Colorado, Sarah volunteered for Jared Polis’ gubernatorial campaign. She continues to be a League student volunteer, as well as the school science club leader, founder of a school-wide mental health awareness club, and the “Cyclone” mascot for Pueblo West High School. All of this while she remains a 4.0 student who has lettered in academics.

 

Sarah wants more people her age to get involved in policy issues, and she really wants to finally see some equality between men and women. “Hey, I’ve been a female for 16 and a half years, I should at least fight for us!

 

She wants people to become more educated on who and what they are voting for and voicing their opinions by calling local representatives for either policy change or more information.

“When young voters do the research and actually learn about the policies and promises candidates make that effect our everyday lives, they get a change to decide what they want for a future.”

 

Sarah has also helped at voter registration booths because she loves to help others, and says that voting is one of the best ways to do so.   





























 

Jeanine Pow

Jeanine Pow is from Boulder, Colorado and has lived in the state since 1969, when she went to college and majored in psychology and sociology. She returned to school to study law, eventually starting her own practice in Boulder where she worked for 19 years, later closing her practice and worked for the state for another seven years. She formally joined the League of Women Voters in 2007 but didn’t become relatively active until her retirement in 2013. She is now in charge of the voter registration for the Boulder County League.

Jeanine has been politically active all her life, whether it was campaigning for political candidates in the ‘70s, demonstrating against the Vietnam War, or just being engaged in her political parties. 

“’We get the democracy we deserve,’” she quoted, “I just so want people to be politically engaged, active, knowledgeable, and motivated voters. To me it’s a fashion that people need to participate in democracy to make it work. It’s something I believe deeply in.

As an army brat, Jeanine went to 14 schools before she graduated high school. She left her home before graduating, getting admitted and becoming the first person in her family to go to college. School was a refuge for her, where she says she got good feedback on who she was as a person.

I can’t remember not being politically engaged; I always voted. I lived in tumultuous times, during the civil rights movements. We had three civil rights leaders murdered in the span of 5 years, just cut down, and everyone I knew was engaged. You were active, you voted, you demonstrated, you had an opinion. Was I the best-informed voter? Probably not. It really troubles me to talk to people today of any age who couldn’t be bothered. That’s what I think is the most important is for people to be engaged. We cannot leave our future to other people that don’t have our best interests at heart.






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