Together, We Can End Gender-Based Violence

elise-m-skolnickBy Elise Skolnick, Communications Coordinator, YWCA of Youngstown

The term “gender-based violence” is just three little words, but those three words encompass a lot.

They describe the experiences of the 15-year-old girl who was kidnapped from her own driveway, and forced into the sex trade.

They describe the death of a woman whose husband tortured her for 11 days and, released on bond, followed through on his threat to kill her.

They describe the rape of an unconscious college student who should have been safe on her campus.

Shining A Light on Girls’ Education

This past Tuesday, October 11, was International Day of the Girl, a day dedicated to celebrating and empowering girls around the world. To commemorate the day, the White House’s Let Girls Learn initiative and Glamour magazine hosted an incredible event to discuss the importance of empowerment and education (you can check out the video here). The event, featuring First Lady Michelle Obama, actress Yara Shahidi, and girls from all over the world, reminded us immediately of another remarkable Let Girls Learn event last month, when FLOTUS, Broadway stars, spouses of heads of state and government, and girls from a number of groups got together to highlight the importance of educating girls worldwide. A number of representatives from different local YWCAs had the opportunity to attend Broadway Shines A Light On Girls’ Education, including Mitzi Cierra Walker from YWCA Yonkers. Here, Mitzi shares her thoughts on the event:

When Back To School Feels Like Back To The Hunting Ground

helen-archontou-web-xs-11-13By Helen Archontou, Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Bergen County

Week Without Violence 2016

We already know the numbers are staggering. One in four women will become a victim of domestic violence. Every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted. Moreover, women of color, immigrant women, transgender women, women with disabilities, and other people with multiple marginalized identities are at even greater risk for gender-based violence and face increased barriers to safety. At YWCA, we know that not all violence is acknowledged or responded to equally and that some victims go unrecognized altogether.not-all-violence-acknowledged-equally_brand

Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s powerful dissent in Utah v. Strieff

by Tiffany Wang, YWCA USA Digital Communications Coordinator

In a powerful, scathing dissent yesterday in an illegal-stop-and-search case, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote passionately on police authority and harassment, individual rights, racial profiling, and unconstitutional searches. The case, Utah v. Strieff, weighed whether evidence uncovered during an unlawful police stop could be used in court against the person in possession of it. In a 5-3 vote, the court decided that an arrest warrant discovered during the stop legitimized it, making the evidence admissible despite the initial stop. Sotomayer, clearly, did not agree with this, warning, 

Remembering Glendora Putnam

We are saddened by the passing of extraordinary leader and true trailblazer Glendora Putnam. A former president of the boards of YWCA USA and of YWCA Boston, Ms. Putnam dedicated her career to civil rights and justice.

Glendora Putnam and YWCA USA CEO Dara Richardson-Heron at at YW Boston's "Academy of Women Achievers" luncheon in 2013

Glendora Putnam and YWCA USA CEO Dara Richardson-Heron at at YW Boston’s “Academy of Women Achievers” luncheon in 2013

In 2013, Glendora was honored at YWCA Boston’s Academy of Women Achievers Luncheon, where current YWCA USA CEO Dara Richardson-Heron presented her with the Sandra B. Henriquez Racial Justice Award. As Dr. Richardson-Heron noted then, “Ms. Glendora Putnam’s actions speak volumes and at very high decibels. Truly her strength of character and determination to enhance the lives of others and pass her brilliant torch on to the next generation is exemplary.” You can watch Ms. Putnam’s full acceptance speech here.

Lessons from Our Moms

On Mother’s Day, we celebrate and show appreciation for our moms, and for moms everywhere. We thank our moms for all that they do, and for their love, encouragement, and support. In honor of these women who have shaped our lives, YWCA USA asked our staff to share some of the important lessons learned from their moms. Here are a few:

Reflecting on Stand Against Racism: 6 Questions with Judy Hutton

Last week marked the annual Stand Against Racism, our signature campaign to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness about institutional and structural racism in our communities and in our country. This campaign was founded by YWCA Trenton and YWCA Princeton in 2007, and has since grown into a national presence, involving numerous YWCAs and other organizations across the country. To get some insight into Stand Against Racism’s origins and growth, we spoke with Judy Hutton, CEO of YWCA Princeton, who has been a key part of the campaign from the very beginning:

Judy Hutton Head Shot1

The Drums of Change

By Janine Fiasconaro, YWCA USA intern


Pounding drums echoed across the campus of American University (AU) on April 11. I ran towards the sound with a friend and a few signs in hand, scrambling to get to the source, the Take Back the Night drummers. In just a few moments, I was marching and chanting in a crowd of at least 100 students as we followed a group of women expertly pounding out catchy rhythms on their drums. Flashing blue lights bathed the group every few minutes from a police cruiser that was leading us in our circular path around campus. I danced and chanted until I was hoarse and tired, feeling like there was nothing that couldn’t be accomplished with a well-organized group of determined women.