10 May 2011

Weekly Round-Up: Grantees Making Waves Nationwide

Wow. We can't believe how much there is to report this week! Check it out:

The Ms. Foundation and our grantees have often noted how the practice of involving local police in immigration enforcement is deeply flawed, particularly because it deters women from reporting abuse to the authorities. Norma, a member of Mujeres Unidas y Activas (MUA), bravely shared her story with the LA Times about how she now faces deportation after calling the police during a domestic violence incident. MUA asks you to leave a positive comment thanking her for speaking out.

Ai-jen Poo, Director of National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), was profiled by Barbara Ehrenreich in the New York Times Style Magazine. Read the amazing story of how she helped found Domestic Workers United, a long-time Ms. Foundation grantee organization based in New York City that won the passage of historic state legislation to protect the labor rights of nannies, housekeepers and elderly caregivers.

Ellen Bravo, Director, Family Values @ Work, was honored by the Ford Foundation as one of the 12 “Visionaries of Social Change.” First with 9to5 and now with Family Values @ Work: Multi-State Working Families Consortium, she is at the forefront of the fight for pay equity, family leave, fairness for part-time and temporary workers, and an end to sexual harassment and punitive welfare laws. Congratulations, Ellen -- we've always been proud to support your trailblazing advocacy!

Why We Need to Think of Our Mothers as Caregivers by Tiffany Williams (HuffPo) highlights Caring Across Generations (CAG), a campaign led by two of our grantees -- National Domestic Workers Alliance and Jobs with Justice -- that's about to make incredible waves. CAG, which seeks to transform caregiving across the US by advancing worker and immigrant rights, creating jobs, and promoting access to affordable, quality care at all stages of life, just coalesced dozens of organizations from the disability rights, senior rights, and worker rights worlds in Washington, DC for a crucial preparatory meeting. The campaign will officially launch on July 12 at the first "Care Congress."  "What mom really needs this Mother's Day," writes Duff, "isn't a bouquet of flowers or greeting card. It's a new respect for the value of care, in all its forms, and a new vision for what we deserve as Americans when it comes to giving and receiving care."

Jobs with Justice wrote an amazing opinion piece about the connections between the worker's rights movement and the push for much-needed immigration reform. Read "Workers must unite for better immigration policy."

Grantee win alert! SPARK Reproductive Justice Now and their dedicated CORE organizing team have won a significant victory in Georgia. After years of work in coalition with other communities and social justice groups, they finally succeeded in introducing a bill into the Georgia Legislature that would prohibit the practice of shackling pregnant women during labor, delivery, and recovery. “HB 653...would prohibit the use of restraints, such as handcuffs and shackles, on incarcerated, pregnant women during labor, delivery, and post delivery recovery. This is a huge step forward in fighting for the reproductive rights of all women in Georgia,” says Paris Hatcher, SPARK Executive Director. To read the bill in its entirety, click here. Help support the push and get this bill passed into law!

Grantee win alert! Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) celebrates the passage of Senate Resolution 005, Concerning Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Month, which recognizes the need to ensure that all young people in Colorado have access to comprehensive, science-based, medically-accurate, culturally relevant, and age-appropriate sexuality education. Lorena Garcia, COLOR Executive Director states, “Our young people have the right to be informed and educated about issues that affect them.... When young people are given the information, they are more than capable of making informed, responsible and healthy decisions.” Read the resolution text.

ACT for Women and Girls has been blowing up! This year's incredibly successful Female Leadership Academy has already turned some young women into fierce activists for reproductive health. Graduate Celeste Montoya's op-ed on "Don't Let a Hot Date Turn Into a Due Date," and Andrea Kelly’s op-ed on access to contraception “Small town teens at risk of STIs,” were featured in the Visalia Times Delta; the leadership program's culminating project “Coming Out for Justice: Raising Our Voices Tour” was highlighted in (and made the front page of) three local newspapers. And finally, graduates were featured on broadcast news. Congratulations ACT -- you live and breathe the power of young women's voices!

Herstory Writers Workshop held an exciting event [pdf] to introduced criminal justice students of  Queensborough Community College (New York) to the power writing holds for formerly incarcerated women. Students met Herstory facilitators and listened to readings by women whose lives have been transformed by the writing process they engaged in while serving time.

All Our Kin's annual bilingual Family Child Care Conference was held Saturday, May 7.Participants spent the day building relationships with other family child care providers, attending workshops, learning strategies for success, and gaining  skills aimed to strengthen the work and enhance program effectiveness.

Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice honored this Mother's Day by celebrating the immigrant, single, queer, and young mamas in our lives. View the stories.

On May 10, Aimee Thompson, Executive Director of Close to Home was a guest speaker for the Prevention Institute webinar, “Cultivating Community Driven Social Change: Integrating the community voice in sexual and domestic violence prevention efforts.”

The Women of Color Policy Network’s latest policy brief, A Look at SB 1070 and State-Level Immigration Efforts, outlines the far-reaching implications of Arizona's SB 1070 and similar legislation for immigrant women and their families.

To mark Mother's Day, the Institute for Women's Policy Research released a new fact sheet showing that paid maternity leave policies have proved to be nearly universal among the country's top 100 family-friendly employers. Still, the US is  one of only five countries in the world that doesn't yet guarantee the right to paid maternity leave.

On May 5, VOCAL-NY held a community conversation about how poverty and homelessness impact women living with HIV/AIDS, and how to build power to fight back. “Thousands of women living with HIV/AIDS are unable to afford food, medical visits, utilities, and other basic needs because HASA denies affordable housing to clients in the rental assistance program,” notes VOCAL. Learn more.

VOCAL-NY also joined allies from across New York City to launch the On May 12th Coalition with the release of the report, "PAY BACK TIME: $1.5 Billion Ways to Save Our City’s Budget and Make the Big Banks and Millionaires Pay Their Fair Share." Read about the coalition in the Observer:  “Council Members Back Alternative Budget Which Restores Social Services Cuts,” and the NY Nonprofit Press: "Taking It to The Street: May 12th Rally Calls for “Banks & Millionaires to Pay Fair Share.” Check  out photos on VOCAL's flickr page.

This week is National Women's Health Week (see below for more)! In recognition, Women of Color United for Health Reform -- a coalition led by the National Asian Pacific American Women's ForumNational Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and Black Women's Health Imperative that was founded with support from the Ms. Foundation at the height of the health care debate -- hosted a national call on May 10 about how the Affordable Care Act works and why it's especially necessary for communities of color.

Stand Up and Take Action!

Also in celebration of National Women's Health Week, the National Women's Law Center will be posting blogs every day about women's health. NWLC is also accepting applications for their leadership training institute, Progressive Leadership and Advocacy Network (PLAN) to take place in October. Applications are due May 20, 2011. Learn more.

The National Partnership for Women and Families is distributing a sign-on letter in support of the the State Paid Leave Fund, which will assist in startup and outreach activities related to paid family and medical leave programs, and promote state innovation in establishing paid leave programs (usually funded by employee payroll deductions) that will meet the needs of working families. Join them today!

National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum and Women's Voices for the Earth are teaming up with the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus to educate Congress about the toxic hazards facing women working in salons across the US by hosting a Congressional briefing, "Toxic Beauty: Salon Workers’ Exposure to Dangerous Chemicals," in Washington, DC on May 18. Learn more and RSVP here if you’re interested in attending this landmark event.

The fierce women of National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum are also celebrating their 15th anniversary, participated in a May Day Rally for International Workers Day,  and are celebrating National Women’s Health Week this week. Check out their website for even more!

Coalición de Derechos Humanos, an immigrant rights organization based in Tucson, AZ, is hosting the Eighth Annual Migrant Trail Walk: We Walk for Life, May 30- June 5: “Join us for the annual 75-mile journey from Sásabe, Sonora to Tucson, Arizona in solidarity with our migrant sisters and brothers who have walked this trail and lost their lives. We bear witness to the lives that are lost, the families who mourn, and the communities that suffer the divisions that borders wreak on all of us.” Online registration is going on now -- the deadline to register is May 13. For more information email migrant_trail@yahoo.com or call 520.770.1373.

The Turning the Tide National Summit is taking place in Arlington, VA, May 26-28. A number of grantees are part of the organizing team, including: National Domestic Workers Alliance, the National Day Laborers Organizing Network and the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. They invite you to join them in turning the tide from the criminalization of migrant communities to a world of dignity and respect. To register, view action alerts and news, visit the Turning the Tide campaign site. Watch the Turning the Tide video.

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