We’ve been asked why we’re focusing on girls of color this year for our annual Stand Against Racism campaign. In short, this is why. The above video shows a San Antonio school district police officer violently lifting a 12-year-old girl into the air and slamming her to the ground. To be clear, the job of a police officer in schools is to help keep students safe – but that can’t happen when students are cast as criminals on the basis of skin color.
The annual federal budget process kicked off on February 9 when President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2017 (FY 2017) federal funding proposal. The “president’s budget,” as it is commonly referred to, is the opening step in an annual federal budget process that typically also involves passage of budget resolutions in the House and Senate, budget hearings in House and Senate appropriations committees, and ultimately the passage of an operating budget by the October 1 start of the federal government’s fiscal year.
YWCA helps over 2 million of women and families each year in a variety of community programs including youth services. Below, Blessings Hill, who participated in the Teen Services Program at YWCA Rochester & Monroe County, shares her story.
I have been involved in YWCA’s Teen Services Program since I was 15 years old, when I became pregnant with my first child. More than 7 years later, YWCA is still an important part of my life.
By Casey Harden
Lady Gaga’s performance at the Oscars elevated the experiences of victims of sexual assault and moved millions to tears — including me. I immediately posted a link to the performance on Facebook, with the caption “Sexual abuse and violence is an epidemic — mostly silent and always sinister.”
But as I wrote those words, I became aware that sexual abuse only seems “silent” to me because I have spent the majority of my life in the United States — in other parts of the world the sexual victimization of women and girls is spoken of as easily as the weather, and often taken no more seriously.
YWCA helps over 500,000 survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault every year.
In February of 2002, I had left my abusive partner and was living on my own with my two teenage daughters in a motel. I was working overnights for the Department of Transportation and struggling to do it all on my own. It was hard, it was isolating, and it was a scary time. My ex-partner was stalking me, and I had to lock my daughters in the hotel room at night, instructing them to call 911 if he ever came there.
YWCA USA is now accepting blog submissions from young women and girls of color under 21 as part of our 2016 Stand Against Racism campaign. Throughout the campaign, which is themed “On a Mission for Girls of Color,” we will highlight issues that impact girls of color such as racial profiling in school, access to safe play, and healthcare.
Want to share your story? Send submissions of 700 words or less by March 31 to email@example.com. If your submission is selected, we’ll feature it on YWCA USA’s blog and share it on our social media channels.
We hope to hear from you!
by Qudsia Raja
YWCA USA Advocacy and Policy Manager
Growing up, I remember playing the association game with my friends — the premise is exactly what it sounds like: name the first thing that comes to mind when you hear a particular word. Banana. Pajamas. Clouds. Care Bears. They all may seem like random, disconnected words at first glance, but dig a bit deeper into my 8-year-old brain and the connection will probably become more apparent.
Youth Ambassador, Center for Native American Youth
“I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” ―Malala Yousafzai
The relevancy of this quote continues and will not soon shake. Being a young female itself can be difficult; being a young native female can be even more challenging. We’re constantly forced to believe we shouldn’t be in leadership positions; that we aren’t the face of strength and brilliance. Time and time again, we’re not taken seriously because of our gender.
Chair, YWCA Scotland — The Young Women’s Movement
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.