28 February 2011

Grantee Round-Up: Grantees Making Waves Nationwide

We never cease to be amazed by the remarkable work our grantees do, each and every week, to advance social change. See below for the newest news on what our grantees have been up to since our last update.
  • In the aftermath of a four-day long immigration raid in Mississippi, advocates from grantee group the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance are speaking out about human rights violations perpetrated in the course of these raids. MIRA and other immigrants' rights organizations are pointing out that both profiling based on race and deceptive scare tactics were used to round-up the 58 people arrested last week, including posing as pizza delivery men or Avon representatives in order to get "suspects" to open their doors to ICE agents. "What's taking place is overt racial profiling," MIRA'S executive director Bill Chandler told reporters, noting that many of the searches that were conducted were warrantless, and that thee people arrested are not the criminals that immigrations agents claim. The raids, and the reported abuses attached to them, have garnered significant local press; MIRA is working to get the arrested released from jail on bond, and to raise awareness about the dangerous and deceptive tactics ICE uses in the name of law enforcement.

  • The struggle over worker and labor rights in Wisconsin and other states continues: last week Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values at Work, wrote an op-ed for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the recent protests at the Wisconsin state capitol staged by unions and thousands of the state's working people. Public employees were not the ones to bring our economy to the brink, Bravo notes, and should not be the ones to pay for the criminal economic practices of large financial institutions. Hear, hear!
  • Madeline Janis, executive director of grantee group LAANE, issued her own reports from the streets of Madison, WI. The city, Janis reports, has been overtaken by a beautiful kind of progressive fervor: "It seems like every restaurant, every dry cleaners has a message posted: 'I’m pro-union,' 'I support teachers,' 'I believe in public sector workers,' Janis writes. "Wherever you go there is support." View a video detailing Janis's experience on Facebook.

  • Ensuring quality child care is not just a federal funding issue -- and we're proud to note that grantee All Our Kin is doing all it can to guarantee that, at the state level, women, children and families are provided the resources they need to access quality care. Connecticut's NPR affiliate recently featured the group in a story about why family child care matters, using AOK's work to underscore how Connecticut could do a better job of supporting quality care and treating providers fairly. The group has also partnered with the CT Commission on Children and CT Parent Power to work on a bill that would give parents "presumptive eligibility" for state child care benefits -- forcing the state to move quickly in making eligibility determinations, while also protecting family child care providers, who are "often forced to take a chance on families whose eligibility for subsidies is pending, and may never get paid for the child care they've provided.” Keep up the great work.
  • Last week SPARK Reproductive Justice Now! hosted an incredibly successful week of action for reproductive justice. On Wednesday, February 23, they celebrated the publication of a new report: "Giving Birth Behind Bars: A Guide to Achieving Reproductive Justice for Incarcerated Women." And on Friday, February 25 they co-hosted -- with another Ms. Foundation grantee, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health -- a reproductive justice film screening of "La Operacion," followed by an important discussion about sterilization, called: "From Sterilization Abuse to Birthright Citizenship: Latinas and the struggle for realizing reproductive justice." And they're hosting a great Day of Action on March 1 -- check them out!

  • Ms. Foundation grantee the Native American Community Board, founded in 1985 to address health, education, land and water rights, and economic development issues pertinent to Native American people, announced the launch of Dakota Talk Radio KDKO 89.5 FM, a radio station devoted to highlighting the variety of experiences within the Native American community. “Most radio stations are just radio stations, but we even have a food pantry,” says Charon Asetoyer, executive director and CEO of the Native American Community Board, Inc. and the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center. “We provide direct service, and we do a lot of policy work on various issues like the preservation of Dakota culture and language, reproductive and environmental justice and violence against women. It is these issues that will go into our programming.”
  • The Tennessee Alliance for Progress’s Middle Tennessee Women in Green Jobs Project has been hard at work over the last few months, building a green future for us all. They've just formed a partnership with several local organizations -- including Nashville Peacemakers, a building and training institute that works with at-risk young women, and Urban Epicenter, the leading grassroots organization in the black community in Nashville -- in order to better serve their various constituencies and make sure that green jobs are available to all. They also have plans to hold an "eco-preneur" training in March for women wanting to start their own green businesses.
  • As part of the Green Justice Coalition, Alternatives for Community and Environment (ACE), has been “working to reduce global warming by weatherizing homes in lower-income communities and communities of color” and “campaigning for the jobs created by these programs to pay good wages and hire locally.” Their work is paying off: read this account of how action from ACE helped one woman reduce her carbon footprint and lower utility costs -- and helped raise awareness in the entire community about how they could do he same.
  • Make sure you check our our recent post about the Women of Color Policy Network, and its win to secure removal of the much discussed, anti-abortion billboard hung in Soho last week. The billboard is now gone -- and WOCPN had everything to do with that. Kudos to them -- and cheers for the collective action that made this win possible!

Upcoming Action Opportunities and Events

  • Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) urges you to send a letter to Congress on the importance of social programs and services to the millions of American families and elders who are still rebuilding from the worst economic recession in recent history. Among the $65 billion worth of reductions cuts are significant reductions in funding to LIHEAP, Community Service Block Grants, affordable housing grants for seniors, and "the defunding of job training programs such as YouthBuild and the Senior Community Services Employment Program (SCSEP).” The group asks that you to include your story of how cuts will affect your community to help show Congress how much these programs and services mean to low- and middle-income families.
  • On March 8, Elizabeth Barajas-Rom├ín, Director of Policy, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and Steering Committee member of the National Coalition for Immigrant Women's Rights, will be a featured speaker on a special panel discussion: “Women and Immigration: Improving Policy and Lives.” The panel, which takes place on the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, will bring together leading activists, policymakers, and researchers from across the country to discuss strategies for addressing women immigrants' unique concerns, including a lack of access to child care, health care and education, and disproportionate exposure to harassment and violence. The panel will run from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on March 8, in Room 309 of George Washington University's Marvin Center: 800 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC.

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