12 April 2011

Weekly 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.
  • On April 7, grantees Choice USA and the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum  joined other reproductive health, rights and justice groups in Washington, DC for the rally, Stand Up for Women's Health. They let Congress know that, with anti-choice attacks and attempts to weaken the Affordable Care Act still pending women of all kinds support reproductive justice. For a quick overview of what took place at the rally, check out this blog post from NARAL's Blog for Choice.
  • On April 4, thousands of union members, community activists, people of faith, students, youth, LGBTQ, civil rights, and immigrant rights allies gathered across the country to stand in solidarity with our nation’s working people as part of the We Are One campaign for workers' rights. Many Ms. Foundation grantees, including Jobs with Justice and Domestic Workers United, took part in these actions, which provided an opportunity to honor the date of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination – and commit to continuing his fight to bring justice to all workers. Visit www.we-r-1.org to learn more.  
  • Grantee win alert! Oregon Tradeswomen and Green for All, two of our green jobs grantees, scored a major win recently when the Department of Energy lifted up Clean Energy Works Oregon (CEWO) as a national model of success! CEWO is a new public-private alliance set up to finance and deliver an energy efficiency building retrofit program that can support jobs while increasing energy savings. Joining together, Oregon Tradeswomen and Green for All were instrumental in negotiating CEWO's workforce agreement -- a key component of the project that helped earn it national recognition. Thanks to them, 50% of work-hours are going to underrepresented workers, and 20% of contract dollars are going to women- and minority-owned businesses. Oregon Tradeswomen has 13 graduates working as weatherization technicians in the program. Green for All recently released a report of outcomes from the project, initially focused on Portland, which reached its goal of 500 energy efficiency home upgrades and supported over 350 jobs. The project will now expand to 17 communities (6,000 homes) throughout the state. Congrats on the huge success! Check out the fantastic video,Women Want Green Jobs, to learn more.  
    Want to know more about how the green economy can work for you? Join Green For All at the Power Shift 2011 conference, where they'll be providing tools and training across five sectors (energy efficiency, sustainable transportation, urban agriculture, renewable energy and social entrepreneurship). If you have interest in attending any portion of the conference, please contact Sarah.  
  • Out in Colorado, grantee COLOR has been hard at work galvanizing support for three bills: one to re-authorize the practice of home birth midwives, one that would have legalized civil unions in the state, and one that would advance the implementation of a state health care exchange. Though there was good news to report on the midwife and health care bills (both passed out of committee), the civil unions bill was struck down by the House Judiciary committee. Meanwhile, COLOR recently traveled to Washington DC to participate in grantee National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health's National Advocacy Weekend; they will also be hosting discussions about how the Affordable Care Act, and a host of other hotly contested issues, affect women and communities in Colorado. Keep a watch on their website for more.
  • The National Partnership for Women and Families is supporting action against proposed Title X and Planned Parenthood de-funding (which is still a possibility despite last week's tentative budget agreement), arguing that the loss of funding will have a negative impact on the health of women nationwide, especially those with HIV/AIDS. In other news, NPWF held an enlightening discussion on the development of an innovative care delivery model for low-income patients as part of their Campaign for Better Care. The learn more about the initiative, called "Better Care at Lower Cost," watch the conversation online.

  • ACCESS recently finished the spring training for their Reproductive Justice in Action Program (RJAP), an effort to get young women, women of color, and low-income women involved in reproductive justice work. The day-long session included discussions and activities around reproductive justice in California, highlighting the needs of the women ACCESS works with through its Healthline -- a telephone hotline that provides free information, referrals, peer counseling and advocacy on the full range of reproductive health services to callers. Want to get involved? The next quarterly training is on Saturday, May 21 and the deadline for applications is Friday, April 29.
  • Hollaback! is partnering with the documentary The Line to bring much needed attention to the problem of street harassment. The group will host special screenings and parties of this powerful film -- which details one woman's sexual assault -- in 12 cities across the world, and will culminate on April 21 with an event and panel in New York City. Panelists on "The Right to Be Sexy: In the Bedroom and on the Streets!!" will include Emily May, executive director of Hollaback!, Andrea Plaid of Racialicious, Tara Ellison of Third Wave Foundation and Twanna Hines of @funkybrownchick. Stay tuned for more details!
In the News
  • Tuesday, April 12 is Equal Pay Day, and Ellen Bravo, executive director of Family Values @ Work has published a stirring exclusive on the Women's Media Center site about what it will actually take to achieve pay equity in our lifetimes. Take the time to read her important piece -- and share it with your friends.
  • Grantee LAANE was featured in an article by Harold Meyerson in last Monday's L.A. Times that points to Los Angeles as the national model for creating good jobs and rebuilding the middle class. He cites as evidence Construction Careers, a program led by L.A.'s trade unions and LAANE, which has already laid the foundation for tens of thousands of good jobs, and is on track to create 200,000 more in the coming years. As Meyerson notes, Construction Careers is only one piece of LAANE's far-reaching plan to transform the regional economy into an engine of good, green jobs and ensure the health of our communities and environment. Kudos much deserved!
  • Rhonda Willette, an organizer for 9to5 Wisconsin (a member of Family Values @ Work), published an op-ed in the Madison Cap-Times about the importance of paid sick days, and the need for Wisconsin lawmakers to support the State Court of Appeals' decision to uphold the law. Despite this ruling, the law is now under attack again, at the hands of conservative lawmakers who seek to pass legislation that would prevent implementation of the law. Read "Lawmakers’ plan to take away sick days will hurt families." 
Stand Up & Take Action!
  • The Native American Community Board (NACB) has joined other organizations and activists in demanding that Native American women are able to access emergency contraception. A 2009 study, "Roundtable Report on the Availability of Plan B® and Emergency Contraceptives Within Indian Health Service," revealed numerous systematic barriers to comprehensive reproductive health care services for Native women -- including a widespread lack of emergency contraception. In response, the Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center, a project of NACB, is launching the National Public Awareness Campaign for the Availability of Plan B® within the Indian Health Service.

    You can help them achieve their goal:
    • Call your local Indian Health Service pharmacy, and demand that they carry Plan B® over-the-counter, as every person age 17 and older has the legal right to access this emergency contraceptive over-the-counter.
    • Contact your Tribal Health Board and alert them of the need for Plan B® to be fully accessible in Indian Health Service.
    • Contact the White House and ask President Obama to support Native women's right to access Plan B® as an over-the-counter contraceptive through Indian Health Service. All women age 17 and older have this legal right, and Native women should be no exception.
    • And check out the Plan B® Public Awareness Campaign Video PSA.
  • Please help Grassroots Leadership and their allies send a message to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to stop construction of a new detention center in Karnes County, Texas. "Despite a mandate for detention reform," Grassroots Leadership notes, "ICE [US Immigration and Customs Enforcement] has contracted with the GEO Group, a private prison company with a long track record of abuse and mismanagement...to build this 'civil' detention center.” New private detention centers are not the answer to the immigration "problem," they add. Instead, we must prioritize the release of detainees and promote alternatives to detention programs for asylum seekers and those who cross borders. Sign the petition to make your voice heard!
  • On April 20, join the National Council for Research on Women (NCRW) for the fifth webinar in Pathways to Greater Economic Security for Women and their Families -- a series that aims to stimulate research ideas, identify areas for partnerships among researchers and members of the policy and advocacy community, and set an agenda towards greater social investments for low-income women and their families. This edition, called "Reimagining Poverty" will feature a conversation between Melissa Boteach, of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, and Emily Ryder of Single Stop USA, and will be moderated by Shyama Venkateswar of NCRW.

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