Speaker: Alysia Steele
Professor of Journalism
University of Mississippi
Alysia Burton Steele is a visual educator at the University of Mississippi, with a focus on oral history and visuals. Steele shares her experiences finding and nurturing relationships to earn trust to collect stories and share them with audiences. She shares audio and video stories as part of her presentation
Ms. Steele is the author of the book Southern Wisdom from Delta Church Mothers,
a pictoral book of interviews.
Ray Mabus received the Fran Leber Award, honoring a member of the community who embodies the spirit and goals of League. They make the community better and make democracy work. Fran Leber was an incorporator of the LWV-MS and has been a member since 1969. She is involved with strengthening public policy and is well known by the state's legislators.
Ray Mabus served the state in several roles. He was part of William Winter's staff, was the State Auditor, and, as Governor, was the youngest governor in the nation at the time. He was probably known best for his work in education and was named one of Fortune Magazines ten best education governors. As Secretary of the Navy, he aggressively and successfully attacked policies which discriminated against women. He set goals related to Navy energy use. He advocated for families, especially in the areas of paid maternity leave, child care and spouse co-location.
He also developed plans and programs to benefit those affected by Katrina.
Recipient of this year's Katharine Rea Award is Peg Ciraldo of the Pine Belt League. This award is given to an individual or local League for outstanding work in growing the League. The award is named in honor of Dr. Katharine Rea in recognition of her many years of dedicated mentoring of young women in the League and during her professional career at the University of Mississippi. She was instrumental in forming the first League of Women Voters Member At Large Unit in Mississippi, the LWSV Gulf Coast Unit, was established. .
Peg Ciraldo, with experience with the League in California, began working to organize Pine Belt unit in 2015. The first organizational meeting was held in Peg's home and voter registration was chosen as their major project - now a weekly activity. Under Peg's leadership, the League's presence became known in the communities of the area. Membership grew with the quality of programming and advocacy efforts by its members. The catchment area of the Pine Belt Unit was changed to include many adjacent counties, giving the League's vision and programs a much wider presence.
The recipient of this year's Thelma Worksman award is Dierdre Payne of the Jackson Area League. This is given to a League member for outstanding service at local and state levels. Thelma Worksman came to Mississippi during the civil rights movement and was involved in registering African American voters for the first time during the 60s. She was a longtime League member with a passion for Voter Service Work.
Dierdre Payne has served with distinction in many positions on both the local and state League: Editor of The Mississippi Voter 2009-2014, Editor of The Voter (Jackson) 2012 - 2017 (converting to a digital format), National Items Director, LWVMS, Nominations Committee, Planned and led National Voter Registration Day college and library registration events, Meeting facilitator (Money in Politics), Candidate Forum moderator, Panelist representing Jackson League to national voting rights study team, Worked LWVJA Election Day hotline often, Poll Manager and Poll worker in Madison County since 2006.