By Lily Eisner, YWCA USA Public Policy & Advocacy Intern, Summer 2017
One day last spring, vandals scrawled messages threatening sexual violence in common areas and stole several pairs of women’s underwear from laundry rooms in a sorority at my school, Dartmouth College. The horrific message shook the entire student body. Copycat messages and thefts began appearing around campus. Off-campus apartments began to keep their doors locked—a strange occurrence for the trusting New England town. The Dartmouth community was going through a terrifying time. And yet, for the first time in my college experience, I saw a student body that was finally taking sexual violence seriously.
By Sharon K. Roberson, President & CEO YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee
A few months ago, Maria had one arm in a sling, while the other carried her infant baby.
The beating from her husband had put her in the hospital, and now that she was being discharged, she couldn’t go home. She had someone beside her though, the man carrying her bag into the Weaver Domestic Violence Center.
That man who escorted Maria to safety was the Metro Nashville police officer working her case. Without his kind insistence, guidance and protection, we know from our long experience at the YWCA that Maria and her child likely wouldn’t have made into safety.
At YWCA, we know that not all violence is acknowledged or responded to equally and that some victims go unrecognized altogether. That’s why for more than 20 years, we have set aside the third week in October as a Week Without Violence to raise awareness around ending violence against women and girls with the World YWCA.
At YWCAs across the country and around the world, we are focusing on ending gender-based violence, which recognizes a spectrum of violence that overwhelmingly impacts women, and includes intimate partner violence, sexual assault, trafficking, and harassment. Gender-based violence impacts the lives of countless women and their families and continues to be pervasive across the United States. The statistics are disturbing:
The numbers are staggering. We all already know this. One in four women will become a victim of domestic violence in her lifetime. Every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted. One in three women experience gender-based violence. It is long past time that we change this — and you can help create a culture where gender-based violence is no longer a reality. This Domestic Violence Awareness Month, join YWCA from October 16 to 20 for Week Without Violence and make a difference.
Last Saturday, YWCA USA was proud to be a sponsor of the March for Black Women and the March for Racial Justice. As our CEO, Alejandra Castillo said in her blog last week, “when women of color lead change, everyone is elevated with us.” This was certainly on display last weekend as thousands of black women, racial justice advocates, and allies took to the streets fighting for the common goal of building an intersectional racial justice movement to challenge and undo racism, white supremacy, sexism, gender oppression, anti-immigrant oppression, class inequality, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, and the oppression of people with disabilities. Black women and people of color led the organizing of the marches, the development of the platform, and the programs at each march and throughout the day itself.
By Sequoia Smith, YWCA USA Public Policy & Advocacy Intern
Thousands of people from across the nation from different races, religions, and genders marched for racial justice and Black women this past Saturday. We marched to demand justice for all the Black girls who fell through the cracks of America’s broken education system, we marched for all the Black trans women who have been murdered, we marched for the queer Black girls who have been hypersexualized, we marched for all Black women.
Today, on October 3rd, YWCA USA stood with our partners on Capitol Hill to call on Congress to act immediately to protect the more than 800,000 DREAMers who have received DACA protection, and some 200,000 “little DREAMers” who have been waiting to turn 15 to meet DACA’s age requirements.
YWCA USA Field Engagement Manager Samantha Davis spoke on behalf of YWCA USA, alongside Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Kamala Harris (D-CA), and incredible advocates and allies from United We Dream, Center for American Progress Action Fund, VotoLatino, MomsRising, Human Rights Campaign, Planned Parenthood, the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, and more. You can watch the full rally and hear from all the speakers in this video.
This Saturday, thousands will gather for the March for Racial Justice and the March for Black Women, two marches converging into one to fight for racial equity, to denounce state violence and dismantle all forms of white supremacy. At YWCA, we are committed to eliminating racism by any means necessary and empowering women. As such, we are proud to sponsor these marches and build critical coalitions among organizations that are working at the intersection of race and gender.
By Samantha Davis, Field Engagement Manager, YWCA USA
Voting has always been a memorable experience for me. When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, before I was old enough to cast my own ballot, I’d join my Nana in the voting booth. Later, when I grew up, I celebrated the announcement of the first Black president with my college roommates.
The Senate is back at it again. After failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in July, Senators Cassidy (R-LA) and Graham (R-SC) have introduced another version of repeal and replace and are trying to move it through the Senate before the end of September! This bill is just as bad as the ones that have come before it—if not worse. Repealing the ACA without simultaneously replacing it with a viable replacement plan risks far too much for women and families across the country.