National Voter Registration Day is Here!

By Desiree Hoffman
Director of Advocacy and Policy

Desiree Hoffman

Desiree Hoffman

The YWCA USA is excited to partner with Nonprofit VOTE for National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) 2014 on September 23!

Close to 50 local YWCAs across the country are engaged in this day of democracy, and have pledged to register their own staff, or partner with allied organizations such as the League of Women Voters, to vote in the upcoming midterm elections. The stakes are high, with the entire House of Representatives up for grabs and one-third of the Senate up for re-election. And there’s a chance that the House of Representatives could be made up of 20% female Representatives for the first time in its history if key races are won.

Why I (Will) Vote: To Make A Difference

Voting for leaders and policies that will put us on a path toward ending homelessness is essential. Registering to vote is the first step in creating change through the democratic process, but about a quarter of Washingtonians who are eligible to vote aren’t registered! To inspire our readers to register (or to update your registered address if you’ve moved), we invited a variety of people to tell us their thoughts on the importance of voting. We’re sharing their responses in the lead-up to National Voter Registration Day, which is tomorrow!

Commemorating Women’s Equality Day

By Samantha Plotino
Mission Based Coordinator, YWCA Bergen County 

Samantha Plotino

Samantha Plotino

Historically, women in the United States have grappled with the perceived notion that they are not equal to men. It’s easy to forget that until 1920, women were not allowed to vote: they were, essentially, rendered voiceless.

Often subjected to a lesser status in society, women continue to fight for equality; a battle that has waged on for centuries. Thanks to some truly incredible women leaders – past and present – today’s women are graduating from college at increased rates, earning higher wages, and are better represented in all levels of government.

Our #BringBackOurGirls Rally Demands Action

By Laura Speer
Marketing & Fund Development Coordinator, YWCA Rockford

As I rushed to prepare myself for work and my kids, ages one to seven, for daycare and school on Tuesday morning, the morning news played mostly unnoticed in the background. An update on the Nigerian girls abducted by the anti-Western Boko Haram terrorist group cycled in and I paused to ask my husband, “Have you heard about this… the 300 girls taken from their school in Nigeria?” He hadn’t.

I had, but just a mention of it weeks before as a flabbergasted media panelist asked, “What about the 300 Nigerian girls kidnapped from their school?” I hadn’t heard anything since; I assumed this meant they had been rescued.

3 Questions to Ask About the FY2015 Budget

By Danielle Marse-Kapr
Senior Advocacy and Policy Associate for Economic Empowerment
YWCA USA

Danielle

Danielle Marse-Kapr

It’s that time of year again: Congress and the White House are producing federal budget proposals. The President, and House Republican and Democratic committees, have all released their budgets. Senate proposals from each party will likely come out later this month. Appropriators are working to allot funds to various budget lines.

Our job as advocates is to remind legislators to pass a fair and responsible budget that protects women and families. Here are three questions to ask when interpreting the federal budget and advocating for what women and children need the most:

Stand Against Racism… What is Racism?

By Sonya Burnham-Collins, MSc
YWCA Bergen County Board Member 

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
– Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream, 1963

Sonya Collins

Sonya Collins

Is Racism Holding Up Immigration Reform?

By Judy Hutton
CEO, YWCA Princeton

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?

Breaking the Silence: Understanding Asian American Mental Health

By Sonia Kotecha, LCSW

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.

Take a Stand Against Racism on April 25!

By Katie Stanton
YWCA USA Social Media Manager

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?

Join the YWCA Rochester & Monroe County to Stand Against Racism

By Jean Carroll, President & CEO
YWCA Rochester & Monroe County

Jean Carroll

Jean Carroll

This is the fourth year the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County has participated in the Stand Against Racism and we’ve got some pretty big plans this year. As you know, the Stand is an annual community-wide event to build awareness about racism. We reach out to businesses, higher education, houses of worship and government agencies to create greater awareness and to encourage conversations about race.