Martha Michael: Running the bases

Opinion - santa clarita news

While many Americans have their attention fixed on Opening Day (yesterday for the Dodgers, next week for my favorite—the Lancaster JetHawks), there are other players stepping up to the plate, responding to curve balls, sliders and anything else that comes their way.

Sure, women were in a league of their own back in 1943, but they continue to draw crowds as they bat and run the bases in practically every field there is.

Like any major leaguer, women started at home plate before getting the ball in the air, but the game began before anyone ever heard of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

The League of Women Voters was established in 1920 to encourage women to take a larger role in civic affairs, since they had just seen the 19th Amendment pass, granting them the right to vote.

It’s been just under 100 years since the men decided women had enough know-how to vote. (Like many others, my grandmother had finished college and was teaching before she could participate in an election.)

Santa Clarita women are getting in the game by forming a local chapter of the League of Women Voters, which held its first meeting last week.

At the risk of taking a metaphor too far—there may be “no crying in baseball,” but likewise, this league believes there’s “no name-calling in political discourse.” At a time when many would say the fans of both political parties are taking things too far, this non-partisan organization is serving a mission to encourage informed, active participation in government, tossing the ball around via discussion and advocacy.

Open to both women and men, last week’s meeting was held at the College of the Canyons’ University Center and facilitated by faculty member Patty Robinson.

Each table held its own discussions, and each reported to the whole at the end of the night. Issues were raised such as homelessness, needs of the youth, mental health and much more.

Civil communication is at the group’s core (the evening was called Sips and Civility), and I can honestly say that even after a couple of hours with my tablemates, I’d have trouble identifying any of their political leanings. You can email [email protected] for information about the local chapter.

Women in History Month is coming to a close, and classrooms across the Santa Clarita Valley are participating by bringing costumed women into the classroom to play the roles of female icons.

It’s an annual program where each year’s theme and characters are determined by the American Association of University Women.

Last year the various volunteers, usually Parent-Teacher Association moms, portrayed American first ladies, and this year they were women who have impacted science.

New York Times editor/writer Jessica Bennett chose this month to look at the newspaper’s 167-year history to see how many women received obituaries, and she saw it was only 15-20 percent.

In response, they wrote and published, “Overlooked,” creating end-of-life write-ups “for women who didn’t have obituaries, but should have.”

They included Ida B. Wells, a suffragist from the anti-lynching movement; poet Sylvia Plath; author Charlotte Bronte; and Emily Roebling, who helped finish the Brooklyn Bridge when her engineer husband developed caisson disease.

You can look at history in nearly every field and find that team of women, sometimes bunting and other times hitting it over the fence. I worked in the fashion industry in the ’80s and saw the women’s movement played out through clothing design.

The gender-neutral styles of the ’70s (Annie Hall) continued as more women entered the board room (shoulder padded suits). I’ve been reminded of it while reading the autobiography of publishing powerhouse Tina Brown, who epitomized a woman who played to win.

Last week, we saw many new, young future female leaders, such as 9-year-old Yolanda Renee King (granddaughter of Marting Luther King, Jr.) who spoke out at the March For Our Lives.

She said, “I have a dream that enough is enough,” before leading the chant, “Spread the word, have you heard? All across the nation, we are going to be a great generation.”

It may sound like she’s cheering from the stands, but she’s more likely warming up in the bullpen. And, I wouldn’t expect too many balks when King takes her place on the mound.

Grounders or grand slams, they don’t care if they have the home field advantage. Women don’t have to keep running the bases to even the score.

In fact, they seem to get more done out in the field.

Martha Michael is a contributing writer for The Signal and serves as editor for three local publications. She has been writing professionally for decades and is the author of “Canyon Country” by Arcadia Publishing.

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