Top Five on Friday – November 1

By Katie Stanton
Social Media & Online Engagement Manager, YWCA USA

This week, there were several great updates from YWCA local associations, who are working hard in their communities to empower women and put an end to racism. From New York to Seattle, association staff and volunteers worked on domestic violence awareness, provided shelter for victims of violence, started a dialogue on racial stereotypes and Halloween costumes, and showed their resilience through natural disasters.

Find your nearest local association and get involved: visit ywca.org/FindaYW. And check out the latest activities on our Twitter list!

1. The YWCA National Capital Area celebrated Domestic Violence Awareness Month by interviewing men and women from Washington, D.C. to ask why they are speaking up to end violence.

YWCA NCA’s “I Speak Up Because…” Domestic Violence Campaign, by YWCA National Capital Area

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“During this month-long campaign we have photographed some amazing people in the Washington DC area who were all passionate about putting an end to domestic violence!”

2. The YWCA Madison has a program called Third Street, which provides affordable apartments, support services and safety for single mothers who are pregnant or with young children. It emphasizes self-reliance and a stable nurturing environment.

Best Night’s Sleep Ever, by YWCA Madison

“LeAnn applied for the Third Street program with hopes of finally having a safe and stable place to call home for her daughter and herself. She moved in with only what she could carry but was so excited when she entered her furnished apartment. Third Street donations provided her with new sheets, towels, and household items. She chose food, diapers, and personal items from the YWCA pantry to help until she had funds to purchase things herself. The next day she told staff, “That was the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had.”

3. YWCA Firesteel interviewed a survivor of domestic violence, Sue, who became homeless after leaving her abusive partner. Violence is a key reason why women and children end up living on the street.

Domestic Violence: Sue’s Story, by YWCA Firesteel

“When Sue did escape, she became homeless. In the 1980s, when Sue left her partner, there weren’t many domestic violence programs. After Sue and her young son reached the limit of how long they could stay at homeless shelters, they would spend nights riding around on buses to stay warm.

Though we now have more resources for victims, domestic violence is still a leading cause of homelessness for women and their children. On a single day in 2012 in Washington state, domestic violence programs served 1,825 survivors. But 377 requests were unmet that day because programs didn’t have enough resources. Ninety percent of those unmet needs were for housing.”

4. Although Halloween was yesterday, the YWCA of Greater Portland wrote some great reminders on cultural appropriation and hyper-sexualization that we can use all year, and how you can talk to your peers about cultural competency.

Halloween Reminder: A Holiday Is No Excuse, by YWCA of Greater Portland

“Every Halloween (and other events that involve costumes), people dress up in costumes that degrade, mock, dehumanize, and tokenize groups of people. Typically, the two identities that are most commonly attacked are race and gender. Racial and cultural caricatures continue to plague costume catalogues. To make matters worse, the ever-present hyper-sexualization of costumes makes living at the intersection of race and gender identities even more difficult during Halloween. Sexy “dream catcher” or “geisha” costumes appear each year. It’s bad enough when we see these costumes in stores, but even worse when we see it on someone we know (and it will happen).”

5.  This last post isn’t exactly a blog post, but a Tweet by the YWCA of the City of New York one year after Hurricane Sandy destroyed their community garden In Coney Island. We’re glad to see that they’ve recovered!

If you have a story that needs to be shared, let us know! Leave a link in the comments or send us a Tweet at @YWCAUSA.

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