MARCH 31, 1953
NEW YORK, Monday—On last Friday night in New York City I went to a dinner for a group of young people who were in town attending a meeting of students belonging to the YMCA and the YWCA in their various colleges. They had been in Washington and came to New York for a brief study of the United Nations. Many of them came from colleges in the Middle West, some of them from as far away as Montana.
The girl who presided over this evening meeting is studying at the Union Theological Seminary, having graduated from a college in New Hampshire. I thought she might be among the few women students who were studying for the ministry but she told me that probably she would teach religion in some school or college rather than become connected with a church.
I had a visit from two enterprising young women while I was in Hyde Park over the weekend. Their aim is to revive the League of Women Voters in Poughkeepsie, hoping to extend it throughout our country.
I am delighted to find this activity taken up by young women because it will mean a greater interest in local situations. An early part of their task has been a study of "know your own city and your own town."
I have always found that the best workers in a political party frequently are graduates of the League of Women Voters. The group provides an opportunity to learn to organize and do research work. Members learn how to find out what they really want to know on a wide variety of subjects. They study both sides of questions very impartially, and, while they never back individuals in politics, they do work for certain measures that they believe in, and that is what makes them valuable when they come into a political party.
In the League, too, members find themselves dealing with the practical question of how you deal with people who, either because they are in office or because they want to be in office, must be reached and persuaded to take the right side on a question. As a constituent and a League member you have studied the subject and have reached a conclusion that you may want to impress on a candidate.
The League of Women Voters trains good citizens who have a sense of responsibility about what goes on in their locality, in their state, and in their nation. Every full-fledged member must take an international interest, too, and therefore the League has been among the best supporters of the U.N. and its work.
A county like ours, which has a council on world affairs, a group in the American Association for the U.N., and a unit in the League of Women Voters, should stir up considerable interest in all the people and create an active participation by the citizens in achieving good government at every level.