This April marks YWCA’s 10th annual Stand Against Racism. This signature campaign provides opportunities for issue education, advocacy, and community building amongst those engaged in racial justice work. This year, we are focused on a very important theme: Women of Color Leading Change. Now, perhaps more than ever, our country, our government, our business sector, and our movement need the visible leadership of women of color.
On March 8, people from across the country will participate in “A Day Without A Woman,” an action designed to highlight the enormous value that women add to our society and economy – to families, workplaces, businesses, communities, and the broader economy – while receiving lower wages and facing greater inequities, discrimination, and barriers to advancement and economic security. This strike, a follow-up to the historic Women’s March on Washington, falls on International Women’s Day, a global day honoring the social, political, and economic contributions of women globally and calling for progress towards gender parity.
YWCA USA is proud to be an official partner for the Women’s March on Washington. YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. We believe these issues cannot be separated — women’s empowerment cannot happen without the elimination of racism; gender justice is racial justice is economic justice. We agree and stand with the March’s aim and their intersectional policy platform, which recognizes that women and girls of color often bear the burden in our society, and disproportionately face inequities and barriers. We are looking forward to joining other social justice and feminist organizations in this March, and, together, continuing the work towards eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.
YWCA USA’s Director of Research and Program Evaluation Alicia Gill just arrived back from a World YWCA meeting in Taiwan, where young women and leaders from around the world got together on a mission for young women’s empowerment and leadership (go girl power!) Here, Alicia gives us some insight into her experience there, and talks about women’s empowerment, the global YWCA movement, and our shared commitment to social justice:
Welcome back Alicia! You were recently in Taiwan for a World YWCA meeting. Can you tell us a little bit about that gathering?
In partnership with allies, colleagues, and supporters from across the country,* the National Network to End Domestic Violence and WomensLaw convened a bilingual Twitter chat as part of the national Week of Action. Together, we discussed how to “tie-in” each other’s work and address the varied needs of survivors and their families. Advocates shared ways that their organizations work to end domestic violence, as well as multiple barriers that survivors face.
Qudsia Raja, Policy Director, National Domestic Violence Hotline
In cases of domestic violence where guns are involved, whether they are being used as a form of coercive control or to physically hurt a partner, the risk of fatality increases exponentially. Every day at the National Domestic Violence Hotline, we hear stories from survivors involving abusive partners with access to guns. Some survivors have shared that their partners silently sit in the living room polishing their guns as a way to threaten them into staying. In other cases, abusive partners threaten to hurt children or pets with firearms. We also hear about abusive partners who have shot at survivors or held guns to their heads to intimidate and control them.
By Katie Singh, Advocacy Intern, YWCA of Greater Atlanta
Ending gender-based violence requires work on multiple fronts, including public policy. Having laws in place that support victims of violence can empower them to obtain justice, health, and safety. Including women in the legislative process is crucial to ensure that these types of policies are put into place. Policies are stronger when they reflect our voices, experiences, and perspectives. When women’s voices are part of the narrative, incredible change can happen.
By Marissa Young, Outreach and Training Coordinator, Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project (DVRP)
Domestic violence is a taboo subject in many cultures. Though domestic violence is common in all communities, it is especially difficult to promote an ongoing conversation in communities of color. In the Asian/Pacific Islander (A/PI) community, 21-55% of women experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Additionally, many in the A/PI community believe domestic violence to be only physical abuse. Many domestic violence service providers are aware that emotional and psychological abuse can lead to damage to a survivor’s well-being. Physical abuse leaves bruises and scars, but the psychological trauma from domestic violence has long-lasting effects on a survivor’s mental health.
By Catherine Beane, Vice President of Public Policy & Advocacy, YWCA USA
On a cold morning in February, just over the Potomac River from where I live, a young mom helped her three-year-old daughter into the car as she headed to the elementary school where she worked. NeShante Davis had worked hard to earn her college degree and become a teacher. But she and her daughter, Chloe, never made it to school that day. Angry that he’d been ordered by the court to pay $600 a month in child support, Chloe’s father shot and killed them both. A gun in the hands of an intimate partner ended NeShante and Chloe’s lives.