21 March 2011

Grantee Round-Up: Grantees Making Waves Nationwide

Last week was a terrific one for our grantees. Check out the many ways they've been igniting social change on behalf of women, families and communities nationwide and find out how you can join them in upcoming actions and events:
  • Grantee win alert! Good news coming out of Arizona? Yes, it's true! Thanks in large part to two of our grantees – Coalicion de Derechos Humanos in Tucson and Tonatierra in Phoenix. They, along with their allies, helped ensure the defeat of five horrific anti-immigrant bills in the Arizona state legislature that would've created a virtual prison for undocumented immigrants, especially women.

  • Grantee win alert! Did you know that legislators in Kentucky have been trying to pass their own anti-immigrant legislation? Well, not so fast. Kentucky Jobs with Justice, a Ms. Foundation grantee, just helped derail SB6, a Kentucky bill modeled after Arizona's SB1070, the racist, anti-immigrant law that drew such national ire last year. "How did we win in a conservative, mostly rural, overwhelmingly White, Southern state like Kentucky?" asks Attica Woodson Scott, KJwJ Coordinator [and 2011 Ms. Foundation Woman of Vision!]."  "We brought our unique organizing style to a large, statewide table. We helped to get hundreds of good people from across Kentucky to converge on Frankfort (our state capitol) to lobby legislators, build alliances and stand strong against SB6.”  Read Attica's blog post to learn more about this key win.
  • While our grantees organizing for immigrants' rights are on a roll, the struggle is far from over. Just ask the National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights. With support from the Ms. Foundation, they're launching a communications initiative to elevate immigrant women’s voices and push back against the dehumanizing, dangerous rhetoric emanating from Congress, statehouses, and conservative press that targets immigrant women, children and families. Visit their website for a campaign overview, including a statement of principles and message recommendations, and find out how to get involved. 
  • Grantee win alert! Planned Parenthood Southeast has won a key fight in the struggle to bring sexual health education to Mississippi schools. Last week, Governor Haley Barbour signed into law HB999, a bill that would for the first time require all school districts in the state to implement sexual health education. The law, which takes effect on July 1, is not without flaws: in giving school boards a choice between abstinence-only or abstinence-plus curriculum, for instance, "teachers will be unable to provide a condom demonstration," says Felicia Brown-Williams of PPS -- this in a state with the highest teen-pregnancy rates and incidence of chlamydia and gonorrhea in the country. The new law will also require classes to be separated by gender, and enrollment will require parental consent. Still, says Felicia, the legislation “is an enormous step toward ensuring that Mississippi youth receive life-saving information that will help them lead safe and healthy lives.” Read this article by the Jackson Free Press. Learn more about how the Ms. Foundation is taking our support for sex ed to the South!
  • On March 15, in recognition of Child Advocacy Day, grantee SpiritHouse in North Carolina presented "Dear Prison Industrial Complex (PIC)," a performance by  members of the Youth Noise Network about the impact of the juvenile-justice system and the PIC on young people just like them. The Network is the media arm of Choosing Sides, a program inspired by the role that youth played in the civil rights movement that "seeks to inspire the imagination, creativity and confidence of today’s emerging leaders." "Dear PIC," says one young woman, "You annihilate my future. Educate, don't incarcerate." Watch the powerful video
  • Believe it or not, Wednesday, March 23 is the one-year anniversary of the health care reform law, the  Affordable Care Act! To mark the occasion, our grantees National Women’s Law Center and MomsRising are hosting a blog-a-thon to draw attention to the positive change that the law is already bringing to people's lives -- especially women. Register here to add your voice to the 24-hour Women's Health Blog-a-Thon from March 23-24. We need to do all we can to counter attempts by the Right to dismantle and discredit this critical law [learn more about the Right's latest tactic: defunding key provisions of the bill].
  • In other Affordable Care Act anniversary news: On March 24, the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and National Women’s Law Center -- both grantees -- will host a webinar at 1 pm EST to discuss parts of the Affordable Care Act that have already gone into effect and what provisions are yet to come. Register to hear from women’s health advocates, individual women who have already seen the benefits of the law, and reportedly, a very special guest! Visit NAPAWF’s Affordable Care Act Implementation page for more information on the law, including fact sheets and details about how NAPAWF is working to ensure just implementation of the law.
  • And speaking of anniversaries! The Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health is celebrating ten years of Back Up Your Birth Control, a national campaign committed to raising awareness of and expanding access to emergency contraception (EC). Join them for their National Day of Action on Wednesday, March 30 and advocate -- creatively -- for access to EC in your community and across the US:
  • Ms. Foundation grantee National Partnership for Women and Families is soliciting words of encouragement and support for Betty Dukes, a Wal-Mart employee who has been waging a battle for the past decade over alleged discriminatory pay and promotion practices. Later this month, Duke’s case -- which could affect 1.6 million women who are current or former Wal-Mart employees and is the largest civil rights class action lawsuit in our country’s history -- will be heard by the US Supreme Court. The National Partnership recently filed an amicus brief in support of her case and they want Betty Dukes to hear from you, too! Tell her what you think of her case and our collective cause for equal pay and gender justice and NPWF will deliver the messages -- now so many that they're compiling them into a book -- to Betty Dukes in time for her case to be heard.We're rooting for you Betty, and all of the women who would benefit from your case!
  • We're proud to report that Malika Saada Saar, Executive Director of  the Rebecca Project for Human Rights, a Ms. Foundation grantee, and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All, also a grantee, were honored as two of America's top 20 Leading Black Women Advocating for Change by The Root, an online publication that raises the profile of Black voices in mainstream media. There's no doubt Malika, Phaedra and their organizations ignite transformative social change on behalf of women, their families and communities every day: The Rebecca Project works to reform policies that affect women and girls in health, child-welfare and criminal-justice systems in the US and Africa, and Green for All advocates for an "inclusive green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty" -- especially women and people of color. 
  • Yesterday, March 20, was the first annual Anti-Street Harassment Day. We were beyond pleased that Sarah Blake and Emily May of grantee Hollaback! wrote a commentary to mark the day and asked us to post it on our blog. Read it here. And remember, every day is a HOLLAday.

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