Members Vote to Close League of Women Voters of Greater Haverhill After 15 Years

Kalister Green-Byrd, center, joins Kay Herlihy, left, and Penelope Davis, right, planning for the League of Women Voters of Greater Haverhill’s 100th anniversary Suffragette March in 2019. (WHAV News photograph.)

Members of the League of Women Voters of Greater Haverhill decided Wednesday night to fold the organization, citing “several years of declining membership and financial difficulties.”

Founders joined members in voting overwhelmingly to disband the local chapter after 15 years, but advised members may join another chapter or the state League directly as a member-at-large.

“While we are sad at the outcome, we are proud of all the League has been able to accomplish,” said President Josiah Morrow after the vote. “Given the challenges we faced in continuing as an organization, disbandment was the only possible choice, but the legacy of the League will live on in all of the great work we have done in the communities we serve.”

The Haverhill chapter, founded in 2007, also covered the communities of Methuen, Groveland, and Merrimac. It hosted candidate forums during every Haverhill city election since 2007; conducted a “Suffragette March” in October 2019, commemorating a century of women having the right to vote; created a “Women in Power” display in the windows of Harbor Place throughout March 2021; registered new citizens as voters at naturalization events in Lowell for many years; and provided scholarships to local high school graduates.

Two years ago, founding members Kalister Green-Byrd and Roz McKeon were honored as “Formidable League Women” by the League of Women Voters of Massachusetts at the organization’s 100th birthday celebration. McKeon had been the League’s longtime membership chair and active with voter registration. Green-Byrd, who served on the Suffragette Committee which planned the group’s Suffragette March, grew up in the segregated south and used her personal experience to advocate for voter education programs as well.

During the Suffragette March, members wore period attire and marched across the PFC Ralph T. Basiliere Bridge to the Haverhill Public Library, recreating an actual 1914 suffrage march in Haverhill.

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