26 April 2011

Weekly Round-Up: Grantees Making Waves Nationwide

We continue to be wildly impressed by all that our grantees every day do to bring justice and human rights to women, families and communities across the US. See below for a shapshot of what some of them have been up to most recently:

In recognition of this coming Mother’s Day, Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice is coordinating a communications campaign with Strong Families partners across the country to send a united message affirming that all mothers deserve recognition and support for building strong families. As part of the campaign, ACRJ is creating a music video featuring young moms of color that will lift up their experiences, celebrate their accomplishments, and illustrate how they keep their families strong. Learn more and tell your own story. Go strong moms!

We're pleased to share that SPARK Reproductive Justice NOW's board of directors announced the appointment of Paris Hatcher as SPARK's new executive director. While Paris was the interim ED, SPARK showed impressive programmatic growth, including a successful Legislate THIS! lobby day and the first ever FYRE Media Camp. Also under her leadership, SPARK continued its critical work to end the shackling of women in Georgia's prisons, and played an instrumental role in the fight against the notorious “Abortion Equals Black Genocide” billboard campaign. Congratulations, Paris! We're so excited to work with you in your new role.

And congratulations to Right to the City on their fabulous Tax Day action! "What do Carnival Cruises, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup have in common," they ask? None of them pay their fair share in taxes, of course, so RTTC paid them a visit on tax day to teach them a lesson -- a dance lesson, no less -- about greed. Be sure to watch this video of RTTC members performing the Tax the Rich Dance Shuffle in seven cities nationwide!

On April 13, New American Media published the article, "Despite Latest Ruling, Immigrants Still Besieged in Arizona", featuring the National Day Laborers Organizing Network and Puente Movement. According to the article, immigrants' rights groups are cautiously celebrating the recent decision by an appeals court to uphold a federal decision to temporarily suspend key parts of Arizona’s racist anti-immigrant law, including the requirement that "police officers determine the immigration status of a person they come into contact with based solely on the officer’s suspicion that the person is in the United States illegally." While the legal decision is positive, advocates report that police are still behaving as if they have this new authority. Lydia Guzmán, president of Respect/Respeto, a member organization of Puente, described the decision as “a victory in court, but not a victory on the streets.” “Police officers are still stopping people and taking them to immigration, and they are still being deported,” she said.

Mujeres Unidas y Activas is ramping up their campaign for a domestic workers bill of rights in California. On April 13, in Sacramento, they held the event, Domestic Workers and Employers Rally for Standards with the support of Assembly members Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and V. Manuel Pérez (D-Coachella). Next, the group testified before the Assembly Labor Committee to push for the Bill of Rights -- legislation that would create guidelines for employers of housekeepers, nannies and other workers in an industry that remains unregulated and without clearly defined work benefits. 

On May 13, the Seventh Generation Fund for Indian Development along with many others will co-host the Global Indigenous Women’s Caucus (La Conclave Global de las Mujeres Indígenas), an international preparatory and strategy meeting by and for Indigenous women in advance of the 10th Session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, which will take place in New York City, May 16-27.

Miriam Yeung, the executive director of National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum (NAPAWF) joined WBAI, Pacifica Radio in New York City, to discuss reproductive justice and the budget: “Conservatives in Congress are using the budget standoff as a pretext for pushing legislation that would restrict abortion rights and family planning funds. Reproductive justice groups point out that this attack on reproductive health programs hurts not just women, but poor communities of color who rely on service providers like Planned Parenthood for basic medical care.”

NAPAWF also continues to advocate for fair implementation of health care reform. They've put together some terrific resources to help make us all make a strong case for its protection and implementation. As we know, a large swath of the country either opposes the law or just generally doesn't know what to make of the political hot potato that health care has become. So be sure to visit NAPAWF's new health care webpage and tell your friends to do the same! The cost of allowing our country to be misled into thinking that increased health care access is a bad thing is too terribly high.

The National Coalition for Immigrant Women’s Rights released a video of a roundtable discussion on the various people and movements who stand to be affected by recent attacks on the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution -- especially women. “Critics of immigrants have launched a full-scale advocacy campaign of fear and resentment about immigrant women and their families," says NCIWR. As we've mentioned before, NCIWR is devoted to countering these efforts noting that, “like all women in our society, immigrant women deserve equality, dignity, and human rights. We are working to elevate women’s voices and push back against dehumanizing rhetoric and attacks on immigrant women and their families.” Hear, hear NCIWR! We are 100% behind you.

The Women of Color Policy Network issued two great resources this month -- a policy brief [pdf] analyzing the impact of 2012 budget and deficit reduction proposals on women of color, their families and communities and another entitled, Wage Disparities and Women of Color [pdf], in recognition of Equal Pay Day, April 12. Women still earn an average of just 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, and the wage gap is even wider for women of color: Black and Hispanic women receive 61 cents and 52 cents, respectively, for every dollar paid to a white man. The fact that these numbers budge little from year to year is abominable. Tell your legislators to support the Paycheck Fairness Act today!

The Institute for Women's Policy Research released Ending Sex and Race Discrimination in the Workplace: Legal Interventions That Push the Envelope, also to coincide with Equal Pay Day. The findings shed light on factors contributing to the gender wage gap and offer steps that employers can take to eliminate unequal pay. Use this great resource in making your case to policymakers for paycheck fairness today!

Timed to coincide with the US Department of Labor's national forum on workplace flexibility in manufacturing, the seventh in the series, “National Dialogues on Workplace Flexibility,” Family Values @ Work and the National Partnership for Women & Families issued a report detailing the experiences of manufacturing workers in the Midwest. "This new report -- like the important conversation happening in Chicago today -- explores the challenges faced by workers whose livelihoods depend on an industry rife with inflexible workplace policies that fail to meet their families’ needs and leave their futures hanging in the balance," said Vicki Shabo, Director of Work and Family Programs at the National Partnership for Women & Families, who led a breakout discussion at the event. 

Stand Up & Take Action!
Two terrific grantees, Southerners on New Ground, based in Atlanta, GA and National Day Laborers Organizing Network are partnering to support SOMOS Georgia, a growing movement of Georgians committed to immigrant, racial and economic justice. Join them in demanding that Georgia’s governor veto new anti-immigrant legislation modeled after the horrific bill passed in Arizona last year. “The bill tells police to investigate immigration status during routine 'stops' and ropes employers into the flawed E-Verify database,” says NDOLN. “We know from our experience in Arizona that these policies only result in fear and division.”  Sign this petition and send the message that Arizona-style laws are the wrong direction for Georgia -- and anywhere else, for that matter!

National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health announced the drastic implications of two  Congressional proposals on Latinas -- H.R. 1217, which would repeal funding for public health and prevention efforts, and H.R. 217, which would eliminate the national family planning program (Title X) and federal funding for Planned Parenthood (yes, this fight goes on!). “Both these bills would have a devastating impact on poor women, particularly Latinas and women of color,” according to NLIRH. “Latinas make up about 28 percent of clients that use Title X funding.... Many Latinas are not eligible for Medicaid because of immigration status so they rely on clinics that provide these services for free or low cost care.” Join NLIRH and take action to tell your representatives to vote no on ALL anti-choice, anti-woman measures.

Wider Opportunities for Women (WOW) has been so busy they must be working up quite a sweat on Capitol Hill! In just one example, they recently campaigned against the draconian 2012 budget proposal submitted by Paul Ryan (R-WI), which, according to WOW, would damage the livelihoods of the young and the old, low-income and middle class Americans alike, not to mention our entire economy. Although the proposal passed the House, there's still time to keep it from passing the Senate: Call 1-888-245-0215 or 1-866-220-0044 and ask to speak to your senator today!

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