By Alicia Sanchez Gill with Luz Maria Marquez Benbow and Lori Robinson
This piece was adapted from an op-ed originally published in NBC BLK.
Photo Credit: William Perrigen
People worldwide know and recognize March 8th as International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate women and girls, to inspire and remind them of their power and capabilities, and to raise awareness of the issues they face everyday in society. Little known to most, there is a similar day set aside specifically for Afro-Latinx women that is celebrated throughout the Caribbean and Americas. July 25th is El Dia Internacional de la Mujer Afrolatinoamericana, Afrocaribeña y de la Diáspora, or the International Afro-Latin American, Afro-Caribbean, and Diaspora Women’s Day.
We are saddened by the passing of Joy T. Hashimoto (1927-2017), a YWCA leader and an inspiration.
Born in California to Dr. George Y. and Mary Takeyama, she and her younger brother George had happy childhoods in Los Angeles, and spent summers at her grandparents’ farm. During World War II, her entire family was sent to the Amache Japanese-American Internment Camp in Colorado.
Like many women and families across the U.S., I was overjoyed when the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed. So excited, in fact, that I spent my first wedding anniversary having a picnic on my living room floor watching the votes being cast for the bill.
YWCA USA’s recent 2017 National Conference was a busy, inspiring few days filled with advocacy, discussion, and inspiration. From pre-conference sessions and deep-dive workshops, to Capitol Hill Day and the Women of Distinction gala, this year’s conference was a way for YWCA leaders across the country to gather, inspire each other, learn and strategize, and nurture the “Bold Mission, Bright Future” of the YWCA movement. During the conference, we were excited to utilize the fantastic skills of two social media ambassadors, Molly Toth from YWCA Warren and Lauren Weldishofer from YWCA of Asheville. Their work was invaluable to YWCA USA’s social media presence during the conference, and to engaging our audience with interesting quotes, valuable insight, and more! Here, Molly and Lauren share some thoughts about their experience at this year’s conference:
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.