20 May 2011

Weekly Round-Up: Grantees Making Waves Nationwide

Once again, we are immensely humbled by the impact our grantees continue to have on grassroots, state and national levels across the US. Take a look at some of their most recent accomplishments, as well as upcoming events and calls to action:

The sexual assault case against the IMF's Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the media's treatment of the charges have sparked critical reflections from women activists on the front lines, including striking commentary about the connections among sexual violence, unsafe workplace conditions, discrimination and stigma -- issues that so many immigrant women of color, in particular, face. We hope you'll read the following pieces by WORLD/Positive Women's Network and Tiffany Williams, who works closely with the National Domestic Workers Alliance.

Grantee win alert! Alaska Community Action on Toxics won a significant victory [PDF] last week when, in partnership with environmental health and justice organizations worldwide, they secured a global ban on the pesticide endosulfan (though the US only agreed to begin phasing out the use). According to ACAT, "Endosulfan—like DDT—travels on wind and ocean currents to the Arctic where it contaminates the environment and traditional foods of the people who live there."

Grantee win alert! Women’s Voices for the Earth successfully campaigned to persuade the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration to issue a hazard alert on hair straightening products like Brazilan Blowout that contain formaldehyde. In a television interview, WVE’s Director of Science and Research explains the complications and effects of formaldehyde exposure.

On April 27, Alabama experienced the worst tornado outbreak in the state's history. AIDS Alabama has stepped up to help mitigate the damage by providing housing, financing, and other support services to their constituency of HIV-positive individuals. To make contributions of gift cards, personal hygiene items, bath linens, and clothing call Amanda at (205) 324-9822.

The National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum observed the 7th annual National Asian Pacific Islander HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on May 19 by participating in over 20 events. Recent analysis of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that APIs have the highest rate of increase in new HIV infections in the nation and that the HIV incidence rate is higher for API women than for API men. Learn more and find additional facts here.

The Louisiana Bucket Brigade is sounding the alarm that as Mississippi River flooding threatens to affect refineries and chemical plants that dot the river and waterways in South Louisiana, there are no clear plans from industry, state or federal government about preparation or cleanup -- placing local communities at grave risk. “The best predictor of the future is the past,” said Anne Rolfes, LABB Founding Director. “During the BP Oil Disaster and Hurricane Katrina, the agencies had no effective plans for dealing with the pollution, and residents and our environment continue to suffer as a result.”

The National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is supporting the National Prison Divestment Campaign, which aims to “expose the profiteering of prison construction companies off of incarceration, including the imprisonment of immigrant men, women and children.” Learn more here (English, PDF) and here (Spanish, PDF).

Wider Opportunities for Women hosted their second GREEN Institute from April 27-29 in Birmingham, AL, this time for groups working exclusively in the Southeast US -- including grantees Moore Community House and Tennessee Alliance for Progress. “Despite devastating storms,” writes WOW, “participants traveled all across the country to share stories of their successes and challenges in implementing green job training programs,” to network and to learn about trends in clean energy and best practices for program development. WOW also issued a statement warning that federal cuts to job training programs will slow job growth and economic recovery.

The DREAM Act is back on the table, and Colorado Organization for Latina Opportunity and Reproductive Rights (COLOR) applauds: “COLOR has had many young women come through our doors, both students and graduates of Denver-area high schools, who have been denied pursuing higher education because of the lack of political will by our Congressional leaders," says Executive Director, Lorena Garcia. "Educational attainment is one way that Latinas gain access to information, resources and services that will help them make informed and autonomous decisions, and strengthens our communities.”

National Day Laborer Organizing Network (NDLON) issued a statement on Georgia's passage of an anti-immigrant bill modeled after the notorious Arizona law, SB1070. According to NDLON, there will be a "Women’s March in Defense of the Immigrant Family" on May 22 and July 1, when parts of the bill go into effect, has been declared as a day of "non-compliance" -- part of the "Georgia Human Rights Summer," a broader campaign of community education and organizing in response to the new law.

RH Reality Check is publishing a terrific series on threats to immigrant rights and the implications for women and families in partnership with the National Coalition for Immigrant Women's Rights.

Parent Voices had an incredibly successful Stand for Children Day in Sacramento last week when nearly 800 parents, children, and childcare supporters raised their voices for quality affordable access to childcare. See photos of the event on Facebook.

Last week, in an historic move, the AFL-CIO signed a partnership agreement with the National Domestic Workers Alliance that outlines a framework to partner around issues of organizing, winning rights for excluded workers and building long-term relationships. 

Kathleen Coll wrote the op-ed, "Equal rights for domestic workers," for the San Francisco Chronicle in support of the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, legislation that Mujeres Unidas y Activas and the National Domestic Workers Alliance are working tirelessly to pass.

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and Women’s Voices for the Earth just completed their National Healthy Nail Salon Alliance Week of Action, including a Congressional briefing in Washington, DC on issues and concerns regarding the health, safety, and rights of nail salon workers. We can't wait to hear how everything went!

Stand up and take action!
On May 25, as part of the Turning the Tide conference, the  will join other immigrant rights activists working to incorporate a gender lens into the immigrant rights movement for a Women’s Exchange Meeting. On May 27, the National Domestic Workers Alliance will host the workshop, "Gender Justice against Immigration Enforcement."

Join the National Council for Research on Women on May 25 at 2pm EST for the sixth webinar on pathways to greater economic security for women and their families: “TANF Reauthorization and Reforming Welfare.” This webinar will feature a discussion moderated by Shyama Venkateswar (NCRW) between grantees Sarita Gupta of Jobs with Justice and Diana Spatz of LIFETIME.

On May 27, in support of California’s domestic workers' rights campaign, Mujeres Unidas Y Activas and the National Domestic Workers Alliance are holding a domestic workers’ human rights tribunal that will feature testimonies from domestic workers, domestic employers, and experts on the legal exclusions and history of domestic work in the US.  For more information, contact mariana@domesticworkers.org.

On May 20, Critical Resistance is hosting an event in New York City -- Conversations Uptown: The World We Want is the World We Need -- featuring a conversation among Angela Y. Davis, Ruth Gilmore and  Vijay Prashad, moderated by Laura Flanders, about issues of austerity, prisons and global resistance. If you couldn't attend, watch this great video for a taste of the evening.

Women of Color Policy Network continues to battle the anti-choice, anti-woman legislation, HR 3 -- the "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act" -- writing that it creates additional barriers to reproductive health services for low-income women who cannot afford to pay for abortion services out of pocket. Contact your Senators and urge them to vote NO on HR 3!

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