08 March 2011

Grantee Round-Up: Grantees Making Waves Nationwide

It's been a huge few days for grantee action, we're pleased to report! Take a look at the many ways our grantees are working to advance social change nationwide.
  • BABES Network-YWCA has launched a fight against budget cuts that would "eliminate funding for the only women-specific education and support program for women living with HIV in Washington State." Proposed cuts to Ryan WhitePart D funding would mean a 75% reduction in the amount of money funneled to services supporting women and children in the state, leaving hundreds of Washington State families without the resources they need as they battle HIV/AIDS. On Thursday, March 3rd BABES held a town hall-style forum informing people about the needs of women living with the virus in Washington State, advancing the case for increased care, rather than cuts, in times like these. To help protect these essential services, write DOH Secretary Mary Selecky using the  letter template provided.

  • A number of grantees took to the streets this week to protect women's health and workers' rights. On March 2, Kentucky Jobs with Justice hosted a rally for public workers in downtown Louisville, while local chapters of JwJ did the same nationwide. (Visit this photo album on Facebook to view excellent pictures from the event.) And in New York, thousands of people joined together on February 26th to "Stand Up for Women's Health" -- a rally sponsored by Planned Parenthood to push back against federal budget cuts that would put millions of women's lives in danger. Watch this great video from the event, which features Jessica Gonzales-Rojas, Deputy Director of Ms. Foundation grantee, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH).
  • Southerners on New Ground (SONG) is working to spearhead the creation of a queer & trans coalition to fight copycat anti-immigrant bills winding their way through the Georgia state legislature. A town hall meeting was held on March 3rd to raise community awareness about how these bills increase the state's ability to police not just around immigration status, but around identity overall (including gender presentation), which could have profound impact on the LGBTQ community. A second town hall meeting is planned for March 9th in Atlanta, to strategize a coordinated response to these measures and discuss the role the LGTBQ community can play in supporting the broader immigrant and refugee rights community.
  • On March 3rd, the Louisiana Bucket Brigade released a new report detailing the extent of the health impacts associated with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster of 2010. "The BP Oil Disaster: Results from a Health and Economic Impact Survey in Four Coastal Louisiana Parishes" found increased levels of exposure to crude oil among local residents, as well as an abnormal increase in reported symptoms (including headache, sinus and breathing problems, eye problems, skin irritation and dizziness) in this population. The report is based on 954 surveys conducted in seven coastal Louisiana communities affected by the oil spill, and represents the first on-the-ground data collected post-spill in these communities.
  • The Women of Color Policy Network also issued a policy brief on how these cuts will affect already vulnerable communities. The Impact of Recent Budget Proposals on Women of Color, their Families, and Communities suggests that in this time of economic distress, we need even greater investments in communities and families through strategic spending on programs that build long-term economic security. Targeting programs that disproportionately serve low-income individuals and families for reductions, the report notes, will only make it more difficult for families and communities to build economic security for the long haul. 
  • Lots of lobbying going on! Among the grantees taking to the halls of government recently were:
        • Naral Pro-Choice Washington: On February 28, the group held their Reproductive Health & Rights Lobby Day to urge legislators to support continued funding for family planning care -- and to pass the Limited Service Pregnancy Center Accountability Act (HB 1366), which attempts to regulate “crisis pregnancy centers” and their tactical campaigns of disinformation. Take action and show your support for the Act.
        • COLOR: On February 28, this grantee was part of Colorado’s Latina/o Advocacy Day, where hundreds of Latinas/os from every corner of the state came together to hold elected officials accountable for and responsive to the needs of the Latina/o communities.
        • SPARK Reproductive Justice Now!: On March 1, the group held its 4th Annual Legislate THIS! Statewide Day of Action in Atlanta. The day included a rally, a panel discussion (“Race, Gender, Reproduction and Body Ownership: Challenging Reproductive Oppression at the Gold Dome") and directed lobbying.

        • Community Voices Heard and Right to the City (New York chapter): Together with other social justice organizations, these grantees turned out for a day of action in Albany around the new State budget proposals. They urged Governor Cuomo to make sure health care, education, safety net programs and other public services that ordinary New Yorkers rely on are priorities as the State gets set to address the severe revenue problems. About 150 low-income New Yorkers from the five boroughs, Westchester, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, and Albany rallied. See video and photos from the day of action.
      • In an effort to meet the growing need for a centralized portal for job numbers in the green economy, on February 21, grantee Green For All launched the Green Jobs Index. The index collects green jobs related media from across the country to highlight job numbers and relative growth in green sectors. Two days later, the organization also launched a new online communications project, called Oppose the Future, which seeks to reveal the hidden motives driving the forces that oppose climate change policy, the EPA and the broader green jobs agenda. And finally, on February 25, the organization hosted a day-long Business Academy on Green Infrastructure, which drew nearly 100 small businesses -- more than 30% of them women- and minority-owned -- to learn about plans to green Philadelphia's stormwater (read: sewage) management.

      • The Herstory Writers Workshop has established an exciting new initiative pairing young women who have experienced incarceration or other brushes with the juvenile justice system with students who want to make a difference. The program, called Writing for Restorative Justice and Racial Equality, will offer collaborative workshops for these young women on-site at a Long Island prison, and will lead to publication in an expanded edition of VOICES, a book of prison and prison advocacy writings that is being used to train incoming corrections officers in Suffolk County.
      Grantees in the News
      • Silvia Henriquez, executive director of NLIRH, was interviewed by Maria Hinojosa about the de-funding of Planned Parenthood and the potential impact of these cuts on the Latina community. The interview is running on LatinoUSA.org.
      • Emily May of Hollaback! was featured in a New York Times article on February 28 about how social networking is helping to keep women safe, worldwide. Emily was also honored as one of Ashoka's Changemakers on March 1. To learn more about Hollaback, watch this video from our site's Voices from the Field section.
      Stand Up & Take Action!
      • Want to speak out about the negative impact of the proposed federal budget cuts? Here are two opportunities to do just that.
        • National Partnership for Women and Families has initiated an exciting new campaign to channel our anger over the de-funding of Planned Parenthood, deep cuts to Head Start and other services essential for women and families. They're asking each and every one of us to use six words to express our outrage at these attacks, and post them to our Facebook or Twitter pages. Use your voice to tell Congress women deserve better!
        • Legal Momentum has also issued an alert and call to action on the topic of budget cuts. They're asking that you tell Congress and the White House to oppose H.R. 1 and the house-drafted Continuing Resolution that would eliminate so many vital services for women and families. Contact your Senators and Representatives today!
        • The fight to protect worker rights continues on -- in Wisconsin and elsewhere. Here are three great ways to join the fray, and stand up for what's right.
          • It's no small insult that while Wisconsin workers and workers nationwide fight to maintain their rights in the face of budgetary constraints, the financial actors that created this crisis are walking free. To that end, Jobs with Justice has issued a call to action to push for real accountability and criminal penalties for the Wall Street types whose recklessness and corporate greed destroyed our economy, eliminated millions of jobs and damaged our communities. Contact your Attorney General today to insist that bankers pay a price for their actions.
          • The Women of Color Policy Network urges us all to stand with the workers of Wisconsin by contacting Governor Walker directly and rejecting his budget repair proposal.You can email him at govgeneral@wisconsin.gov or call his office to voice your complaint: (608) 266-1212.
          • You can also pledge your support for workers' rights by joining a virtual march on DemocracyforAmerica.com, where your signature will be delivered to target legislators not only in Wisconsin, but in other states – such as New Jersey and Ohio – that are also expected to try and roll back workplace protections for union workers. Sign on in support. (Though you will be directed to a donation page after signing, please note that no monetary contribution is required to support the campaign. 
        • On Saturday, March 26, Kentucky Jobs with Justice will hold an event in Louisville called "The 2010 Census & Redistricting: What It Means for Our Community." KY JwJ leader Attica Woodson Scott will lead a conversation that examines the role of the census and how the 2010 results are likely to impact Louisville's future. For more information, visit KY JwJ's Facebook page.
        • Restaurant Opportunities Center-NYC (ROC-NY), and WOCPN are co-sponsoring an event in Brooklyn to celebrate the release of “Failing our Families,” a new report from Human Rights Watch that examines the importance of paid leave and other support systems for working families. The event is scheduled to take place on March 14th from 5:30pm-7:30pm at the Old First Reformed Church: 729 Carroll Street, Brooklyn, NY (corner of 7th Ave.)

        • Generations Ahead is excited to co-present the film MADE IN INDIA, a feature length documentary about the human experiences behind the phenomena of "outsourcing" surrogate mothers to India. The film shows the journey of an infertile American couple, an Indian surrogate and the reproductive outsourcing business that brings them together. MADE IN INDIA will be shown as part of the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival on March 13th, 16th and 19th; screenings are also taking place worldwide.
        • The Alabama Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy will host its 8th Annual Teen Pregnancy Prevention Conference on May 2 & 3, 2011 at the Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, AL. The conference will focus on connecting the community to the issue of teen pregnancy prevention in a way that will help build public support for providing youth with comprehensive sexuality education. A discussion of public policy during the pre-conference session will provide a framework for developing and/or replicating effective models for community engagement. Registration has begun -- get your tickets now!

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