By the time she’d reached the refugee camp where I was working the nightshift, she’d walked 17 kilometres from the Serbian border. Carrying her 4-month old in her arms, her shoes were sodden and caked in mud. There had been heavy rain in Croatia that week and the ground in Opatovac Refugee Camp was flooded. A heavy fog had descended, cloaking much of the camp and limiting visibility. It was also freezing. That was the night she’d become separated from her husband in the crowd.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Over the years this month has provided us all the opportunity to reflect and refocus on the experiences of survivors of domestic violence and untangle the issue from the tired public debate: the NFL responses, the Chris Browns, and the persistent question, “why does she stay?”
By Tralonne Shorter Senior Advocacy & Policy Associate for Racial Justice and Civil Rights
Without question, immigration reform is one of the most pivotal civil rights issues of our day. Women are increasingly becoming the face of the immigrant population in the United States. They now make up 51% of the immigrant population; 100 immigrant women arrive in the United States for every 96 men. Unaccompanied child migrants fleeing violence in Central America are expected to reach 96,000 by the end of the year.
By Donte Hilliard Director of Mission Impact, YWCA USA
What would it take for us to experience just ONE Week Without Violence? What practice and policy changes would need to be implemented to make one Week Without Violence possible?
We know that not all violence is physical or visible. The YWCA seeks to educate the public about the full spectrum of violence that impacts the lives of women, girls, people of color and their communities. By referring to the “spectrum of violence,” we acknowledge that there are many types of violence in the world, and not all of these types of violence are acknowledged or responded to equally—especially as these forms of violence impact the lives of women, girls and people of color.
By Katie Stanton Social Media & Online Engagement Manager, YWCA USA
The YWCA Week Without Violence™, held annually every third week in October, is a signature initiative created by YWCA USA nearly 20 years ago to mobilize people in communities across the United States to take action against all forms of violence, wherever it occurs. Each year, YWCAs all around the country host local Week Without Violence™events and create a public dialogue about violence, in all of its forms.
For our blog carnival this year, we asked: How we can come together to #workagainstviolence?
Is racism holding up immigration reform? We will ask that question today, April 25, in Princeton, N.J., when we join 350,000 people in 1,400 cities and towns and publicly pledge to stand against racism! To think this grassroots initiative started with the women of the YWCA Trenton and Princeton! Its nationwide replication further empowers our voices!
In Princeton, we will remind our constituency to always ask WHY? Why is immigration reform being stalled? And why is affirmative action also being challenged?
As an Asian American, I have grown up learning the game of silence very well. Asian Americans have historically been labeled in the United States media as the “model minority,” lauded for a strong work ethic and strong family unit. This stereotype lumps all Asian groups as one and does not account for the diversity in the community with regards to ethnicity, socio-economic status, immigration history, barriers to acculturation, and much more. Many Asian Americans, including myself, have internalized this stereotype. There is a great deal of pressure to always present and perform well in school and in the workplace, and to be loyal to one’s family by not revealing any secrets that would bring about perceived shame and weakness. As a consequence, many of us suffer in silence, thus perpetuating the stereotype that Asians don’t need assistance.
Eliminating racism is at the center of the YWCA’s mission. That’s why each year local associations participate in Stand Against Racism, a campaign and ongoing public conversation about race and equality. On April 25, the YWCA USA will support our local associations and their activities to unite to Stand Against Racism.
Get involved! Participate in YWCA USA’s Stand Against Racism blog carnival.
This year, we want to know: How are the lives of women impacted by racism?
By Katie Stanton
Social Media & Online Engagement Manager, YWCA USA
What does the YWCA want the most this holiday season? We’re got five things we’re hoping for — policy decisions that will help empower women, reform that will truly support racial equality, and your continued support for our local associations who are working hard in communities all over the country.
1. Although there have been considerable setbacks, passing comprehensive immigration reform that protects women and keeps families together is still possible, and there are still many activists who are continuing to beat the drum for a vote. We’d like to make sure that the momentum isn’t lost by next year, and that there’s a real chance for reform in 2014.