Charleena Lyles: Ableism, Racism, and Gendered Violence

By Alicia Gill, Director of Research and Program Evaluation, YWCA USA

This week, a pregnant Charleena Lyles was murdered in front of her four young children by police officers responding to her emergency—she had been burglarized and was likely shaken up when she made the call for help. The responding officers knew and discussed the fact that she had a history of mental health concerns and was a survivor of domestic violence. She had expressed concerns of having her children taken away, and of the continued violence she had already experienced. This horrifying story is neither shocking nor new. Black women are caught at the intersections of trauma, increased policing, excessive force, healthcare systems that are outright hostile and doctors who don’t take Black pain seriously. This has long been known. We know that ableism and anti-Blackness is ingrained in our institutions, and that this is something that can kill us – and this week, it killed Charleena Lyles.

Health care repeal bill will put millions at risk & rollback critical gains for women

The Senate’s version of a health care repeal bill has been leaked, and it is just as mean as the House’s. It rolls back critical healthcare gains for women, children, and families that currently exist under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and puts them all at risk.

In case you forgot, this bill was created by a group of 13 men in the Senate, who worked behind closed doors with zero public scrutiny and no transparency, and who were rushing to get it done by the July 4th legislative recess: 

2017 Women of Distinction Awards: Working towards a bold mission, bright future

Starting tomorrow, hundreds of folks from YWCAs across the country will arrive in Washington, D.C., for our 2017 National Conference! Over four days of advocacy work, education, inspiration, and community, we will continue to affirm the strength, courage, and vision of the YWCA network, and to work towards our bold mission and bright future. How apropos that our conference theme this year is just that – Bold Mission Bright Future!

Nordstrom’s Treasure&Bond: Supporting & Empowering Youth

YWCA USA has been selected as this year’s nonprofit partner for Treasure&Bond, the Nordstrom give-back brand that supports nonprofit organizations that empower youth. When you buy the Treasure&Bond brand, your purchase will support YWCA’s TechGyrls program, which helps young girls learn about, develop confidence and self-efficacy in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). We’re thankful for Treasure&Bond/Nordstrom’s support in our programs and helping girls build confidence and skills for success in the future! Here, we ask them about their history, the Treasure&Bond brand, their work with nonprofits, and why they selected YWCA’s TechGyrls program as this year’s nonprofit partner:

All Black Lives Matter

By Tiffany Wang, Digital Communications Coordinator, YWCA USA

Jordan Edwards was shot and killed by police as he was leaving a party to go home. He was unarmed. He was 15 years old, making him the youngest person to have been killed by police in the United States this year. He died of a single gunshot wound to the head after police opened fire on a car he was riding in as the vehicle moved away. His brothers watched him die.

Policy solutions for increasing women of color in leadership

By Jessica Pinckney, Government Relations Manager, YWCA USA  

Today, 34 women in the House and four women in the Senate are women of color. Across the country, only 6 percent of elected officials are women of color. The numbers paint a stark picture for the diversity of our United States Congress, a body that is supposed to be representative of the broader population of the U.S., but clearly is not. On the occasions when the small contingent of women in Congress have come together around policy issues, they have had major success—proof that diversity amongst individuals within Congress makes a difference in the policy outcomes we see.

Kicking off Stand Against Racism!

Stand Against Racism officially begins today! Join YWCAs and other groups and individuals across the country as we raise our voices around this year’s theme, “Women of Color Leading Change.” Thank you for standing up, speaking out, and taking action to eliminate racism in our communities.

Here are ten ways to get connected and get involved this week:

1.) Attend an event in your area! (If you have planned an event, but haven’t registered, be sure to do so). 

Spotlight: Pauli Murray, ahead of her time

Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray (November 20, 1910-July1, 1985) is not a name that is especially well-known today. But it should be. Her life, her contributions, her work, her story – all of it is remarkable. She was an important, incredible figure in both the civil rights and women’s rights movements. Pauli is yet another story of a “hidden figure” – a woman of color who led change and made lasting contributions, yet whose story is largely unknown by people. Like so many women of color leaders, Pauli was both ahead of her time and behind the scenes, working tirelessly and vigorously to create a better world for us all.

Personal Stories: Women of Color Who Have Inspired Us and Shaped Our Lives

This month, YWCA’s 10th annual Stand Against Racism is focused on “Women of Color Leading Change.” Women of color spearhead movements, demand social justice and equity, and drive progress. Women of color have been leading change since the very beginning! We all know women of color leaders or figures in our lives who we admire, who have inspired us, and who left an important mark on us. To honor some of these women who have shaped our lives, we asked some of our YWCA USA staff to share with us:

Ending Sexual Violence: Every Day is the Right Day to Take Action & Create Change

April marks Sexual Assault Awareness Month. For over fifteen years, gender based violence organizations, survivors of sexual assault and allies in the fight to end violence have used this month to talk about the prevention of all forms of sexual violence. YWCA is one of the largest networks of sexual and domestic violence services in the country, serving fifty thousand sexual assault survivors and their families every year. We remain committed to ending sexual assault, and we stand with survivors as they heal and thrive.