15 March 2011

Grantee Round-Up: Grantees Making Waves Nationwide

Another great week for grantee action, nationwide. Take a look at how these groups are working to protect women's rights, and lives, from coast to coast.
  • A recent decision by the Washington State Department of Health to eliminate funding for the only women-specific support program for HIV-positive women in the state may be part of a larger national trend to defund women-centered services, say advocates. Read Ms. Foundation program officer Ellen Liu's recent commentary on how the Foundation grantees like Babes Network-YWCA will be impacted by these cuts, and what you can do to help.

  • On March 10, NARAL Pro-Choice Washington celebrated National Day of Appreciation for Abortion Providers with a campaign to spread thanks for these essential health care representatives.  Thanks to NARAL's efforts, numerous notes of gratitude were sent to abortion providers across Washington State. It's not too late to share your appreciation: learn more about how to participate.
  • A bill recently introduced in the Texas State legislature would make it a felony to "knowingly hire an immigrant not authorized to work in the United States -- except in the case of a person hired to perform household duties such as babysitting, house cleaning, or lawn mowing." Ms. Foundation grantee the National Domestic Workers Alliance has issued an important statement about how the exemption of domestic workers in this case will yet again provide unscrupulous employers the opportunity to "take advantage of vulnerable workers who are fearful of asserting their rights." Stand up for domestic workers' rights today: endorse NDWA 's campaigns on behalf of excluded workers.
  • Grantee SWAN continues its remarkable work drawing attention to sexual violence in the military. Last month brought their groundbreaking lawsuit against the DOD around military rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment; this month, they've partnered with Representative Chellie Pingree (D - ME) to introduce legislation that would mandate that survivors of military sexual violence get the same compensation for their mental health conditions and physical injuries that combat veterans are awarded for wounds of war. "H.R. 930 is the first public step our policymakers have taken in recognizing the gross double standard that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) forces upon veterans who survive military sexual violence," SWAN noted in a release. Help SWAN shift military culture: sign the petition to hold the armed forces accountable for sexual violence today.

  • In Alabama, there's a movement underway to pass a dangerous fetal personhood amendment -- and our grantee, the Alabama Women’s Resource Network, is leading the charge to defeat it. Alabama HB 8 would amend current law to define a "child" as inclusive of  "unborn children" and would allow prosecutors to jail pregnant women for their inability to overcome substance use while pregnant. AWRN has launched a petition to fight back against these senseless prosecutions; meanwhile, they're also working hard to improve the lives of women in Alabama's current prison population by holding monthly workshops for family members and loved-ones anticipating reunification with someone in Alabama Prison System. Keep up the good fight, AWRN!
  • As part of the national Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition, Women’s Voices for the Earth is working to raise awareness in Montana about the need for strong chemicals policy reform. The group helped introduce a resolution in the Montana House on chemical safety, particularly as it relates to women who have been diagnosed with endometriosis as a result of toxic exposures. Though the resolution ultimately failed to move out of committee, supporters of the resolution turned out in large numbers to share personal testimonies about how toxins have impacted their lives, and TV stations in two major Montana cities picked up on the story.
  • The Women of Color Policy Network issued a strongly-worded statement on the passage of Wisconsin’s labor bill, which has stripped public employees of collective bargaining rights. The bill, WOCPN points out, is sure to have "a devastating social and economic impact on workers and families. By focusing on short term solutions to debt reduction, legislators at the state and federal level are compromising the long-term economic security of millions of Americans." Read the full statement to learn more about how women and the Black community will particularly suffer thanks to the new law.
  • In recognition of the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day on Tuesday, March 8, Jobs with Justice led a campaign in solidarity with the women of T-Mobile USA, more than 10,000 of whom work at T-Mobile call centers throughout the country without union representation. Every day, they are subject to fear, stress, and insecurity about their jobs; they can be fired at any time, their pay increases are minimal, and any organizing efforts are quickly put down by management. Learn more about "The Real T-Mobile" by visiting LoweringTheBarForUs.org.
  • Grantee Hollaback! put out its own call to action to celebrate International Women's Day: In honor of the 100th anniversary of the event, Hollaback asked supporters to circulate requests via social media to help them collect 100 stories of street harrasment in one day's time. Check out their awesome video valentine, filled with shout outs from Hollaback! supporters all over the world, to learn more.

  • Several of our grantees, including Legal Momentum and Wider Opportunities for Women issued action alerts urging people to contact their Senators and demand that they reject H.R. 1, which they did, on March 9. Collective action does make a difference!!
Grantees in the News
Stand Up and Take Action!
  • March 23 marks the one-year anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act and Ms. Foundation grantee the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum wants to hear your stories about how the law has benefited you. Join with other women's health and advocacy groups to celebrate the day and stand in opposition to dangerous legislation like the Smith Bill (HR 3). NAPAWF has created a new webpage on the ACA and will be sharing information on ways that you can support this historic law and understand its benefits for you.

  • In New Mexico there's a bill in the House that would require so-called "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" to "disclose that they do not provide comprehensive birth control or abortion services, do not provide referrals for these services, and  do not provide medical care for pregnant women." The bill, HB 291, would also require that all reproductive health information provided in these centers be objective, and medically/factually accurate. Ms. Foundation grantee Young Women United is organizing critical action in support of this bill; they are urging supporters to call or email their reps to ask them to pass the bill when it comes up for a vote. If you're in New Mexico, time to join the fight!
Upcoming Events
  • Join grantee AIDS Alabama on Thursday, March 24 in their effort to bring attention to the consequences of reducing  funding for HIV care and prevention. Two to three hundred AIDS service providers from across the state, including upwards of 150 HIV-positive individuals, will travel to Montgomery to press for continued financial resources and supportive services, such as the AIDS Drug Assistance Program. If you would like to accompany AIDS Alabama to Montgomery for this very important event, please contact Amy Bark or click here for more information.
  • In honor of Women’s History Month, join the National Coalition for Immigrant Women's Rights for  "Lifting the Shadows from Immigrant Women," a roundtable discussion on March 16 in Washington, DC about the impact of recent attacks on the birthright citizenship and the 14th amendment. The event -- which you can join by phone or online if you can't make it in person -- will feature leaders from a number of Ms. Foundation grantees, and aims to explore the "intersections of immigration, worker’s rights, environmental justice, reproductive justice and human rights to build a vision for a better tomorrow." Learn more about the 14th amendment campaign.
  • On March 19 and 20, the Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development will host The North American Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus (NAIPC)  in northern California to establish a collective platform of action for strategic work at the United Nations. This two-day in depth working session is designed for tribal nation/First Nations’ leadership, community members, elders, youth, and organizations. Find out more about how you can participate.

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