On November 27th, 2020 I had the chance to interview Joan Moses who joined the Albany, New York, League of Women Voters in 1962 and later Davis League of Women Voters. Moses was born in 1926 in Woodland, California. After high school, she was eager to explore her opportunities and see the world. Her education in home economics took her all over the country. She started at UC Davis, and then transferred to UC Berkeley to be able to attend the upper-division classes. She became a teacher’s assistant at Cornell University and later attended Bank Street College of Education in New York City.
Her friend, in Albany New York introduced her to the LWV and Moses joined the mental health study group in 1962. The study group was rigorous and she describes it as “almost equivalent to getting a masters in a certain subject because we interviewed people and we researched the mental health issues”.
Moses moved to Davis in 1969 and never thought she would be back because of the hot summer it has. “I really love Davis, and I can handle the heat. It is a wonderful place to live, and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” she says with a smile. She became a member of the Davis LWV shortly after moving, but with her career and caring for her family she was not an active participant.
Despite not being an active member, Moses continued to help with the League as much as possible. One of the activities she participated in was discussing the pros and cons about propositions. She fondly looks back at her efforts in discussing the important information: “I used to be at the farmer’s market during the election years and we would register voters and also hand out the pros and cons. The pros and cons were very popular because people wanted to know who the backers of a certain initiative really are and where the money is coming from, or what the motivation of having the initiative on the ballot. Or what the motivation is, who is going to benefit from that. People really depend on the League to present that information.”
Since joining the League in 1962, Moses has watched it change over the years. The most significant change that she has noticed is that, “everything is online now”. She firmly believes that it has made a fantastic difference and states, “I think that it appeals more to young people because you can go online and look up all this stuff.”
Today she continues to have a membership with the League and informs people at the University Retirement Community. Moses discusses voting registration and the importance of voting. She feels that it is important for people to vote and exercise their voice in their democracy. For those who do not vote she asks them, “If you could not vote what would you do?”