29 March 2011

Weekly Round-Up: Grantees Making Waves Nationwide

From Wisconsin to West Virginia, Georgia to Minnesota, our grantees are lighting it up across the US. Read below for some of the amazing accomplishments they've achieved in just the last week:
  • Grantee Win Alert! Last Thursday, March 24, workers in Wisconsin received some great news: the state's Court of Appeals made an historic decision to uphold Milwaukee's paid sick days law. Passed by an overwhelming majority of voters in 2008, the law had been put on hold ever since due to a lawsuit brought by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce. This is a huge win for our grantee Family Values @ Work (also known as the Multistate Working Families Consortium), a lead supporter of the paid-leave ordinance, which gives workers the right to earn between five and nine paid sick days a year. Huge congratulations all around! And here's to this win sparking others nationwide. Read more in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  • Grantee Win Alert! West Virginia Free just helped secure passage of legislation that authorizes a state-run health exchange, a significant victory in the fight to implement federal health care reform. It's just this kind of state-by-state advocacy that will make access to health insurance a reality for millions more in the US. And West Virginia Free knows this well: In addition to promoting reproductive justice issues like access to emergency contraception for rural, low-income and young women, they're a regional coordinator of Raising Women's Voices, the national coalition of which we've been a proud supporter that continues to be led by many of our grantees. Learn more about WVF's great activism on facebook or twitter; check out RWV blog for updates on the status of federal health care reform.
  • This past Saturday, March 26, LAANE, one of our green jobs grantees, joined national labor organizations and thousands of workers, students, and community and religious leaders to stand in solidarity with workers in Wisconsin and across the US at the narch for Our Communities, Our Jobs in Los Angeles. “These are frightening times," says LAANE. "Everything we believe in -- a fair economy, access to decent health care, the right to join a union, women's rights, environmental standards, consumer protections -- is under fierce attack. It's time for Los Angeles to take a stand and send a clear message: we will not go backward. There is too much at stake, and Los Angeles must lead the way.” 
  • Today in Washington, DC, the Women of Color Policy Network is co-hosting the event [pdf] "Measuring Our Progress in Reducing U.S. Poverty," with the Half in Ten Campaign. They're convening experts in anticipation of the release of new poverty data later this fall to discuss how statistical tools can be used to gauge the effectiveness of anti-poverty programs nationwide. Representative McDermott (D-WA) will give a keynote address; participants will discuss how policymakers, researchers, and advocates can work together to develop shared anti-poverty goals and how that address the breadth and depth of poverty's impact on communities of color. Read the policy brief.  
      Stand Up & Take Action!
      • Students Active for Ending Rape (SAFER) is taking Sexual Assault Awareness Month -- recognized in April -- one step further and replacing "awareness" with "activism!" Their goal is to push student organizers and their allies on campus nationwide to go beyond awareness – “sexual violence exists” – to direct action – “I can take steps TODAY to end sexual violence.” Join them by taking an action pledge on their campaign site, which was officially launched today, and spread the word!
      • Last week Ms. Foundation green jobs grantee HIRE Minnesota initiated a range of actions in response to a proposed 50% budget cut to the MN Department of Human Rights that would drastically affect programs to fight discrimination. This while Minnesota has some of the worst racial employment disparities in the nation and people of color in the state are suffering from some of the highest unemployment rates in the US. On March 22, representatives from HIRE testified against the proposed cuts and organized an action at a House Public Safety and Crime Prevention Policy and Finance Committee hearing on March 23. HIRE is urging people to continue to apply pressure to legislators to preserve funding for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. If you're a MN resident, contact committee members in the State House and Senate.

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