White House Summit Highlights Issues Facing Working Families

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


Danielle Marse-Kapr

Earlier this week, 10 representatives from the YWCA joined over 1,000 attendees at the White House Summit on Working Families. As anticipated, the summit highlighted issues facing working parents – particularly mothers who do paid work. There was no shortage of clout in the room as President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Biden, and Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden all delivered remarks. They were joined by House Leader Nancy Pelosi, Department of Labor Secretary Tom Perez, and White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett and the First Lady’s Chief Of Staff Tina Tchen, both of The White House Council on Women and Girls. Prominent business leaders and celebrities also attended to show their support for an agenda of public policy and cultural change that helps working families.

When Women Succeed

By Matt King
Director of Employment & Regional Services, YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish

“When women succeed, America succeeds.” It’s not just common sense; it was also the theme of the White House Summit on Working Families on June 23.

President of the Center for American Progress Neera Tanden spoke at the White House Summit on Working Families. Photo via US Department of Labor on Flickr.

A Clear Message at YWCA USA Annual Conference: More Women Need to Run for Political Office

by Amberlie Phillips
Chief Development Officer, YWCA Utah

The YWCA USA conference a few weeks ago was full of inspiring speakers, great networking, and wonderful educational opportunities. I learned so much during each portion of the conference – from watching my CEO and a YWCA USA Board Member gracefully navigate an advocacy day meeting with an unsympathetic legislator, to getting insights into how different generations approach their philanthropy. It was three days of reinvigorating immersion into the power of persimmon!

Recap: YWCA NCA Capitol Hill Day

By Tamika L. Gittens
Contributing Blogger, YWCA NCA

Did you know that 85% of domestic violence victims are women? (Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief, Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, February 2003)

The YWCA National Capital Area recently participated with several other YWCA associations across the nation for Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill to talk about domestic violence, an issue plaguing local and national communities. In an effort to demonstrate the damaging and permanent effects that domestic violence has on women and children, we engaged Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.), and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) in discussions on gun violence and its impact on domestic violence. We shared statistics to help them reexamine current laws pertaining to ownership of firearms, and the need for more policies and programs to safeguard and support victims.

The Golden Rule: An Educator’s Solution to Eliminating Racism

By Rob Green
Director of Aquatics at St. Albans School for Boys

Rob Green

Rob Green

I was in the 9th grade at Benjamin Banneker Junior High School in Washington, D.C. when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Riots were breaking out one block away from my house, which was located at the intersection of 14th and U Street. I remember hearing Stokely Carmichael telling the crowds to burn the store fronts (run by white suburbanites) down, and so they did. I thought the world was coming to an end. I really thought it was going to be World War III. The National Guard troops barricaded the neighborhood, tear gas was thrown into the crowds and fires broke out. People were putting signs in their windows that said, “Soul Brothers Live Here,” in order to keep the looters out.  Even white people were putting signs in their windows. In just a matter of hours, I saw my neighborhood burn down.

When I think back to what caused the residents of the 14th Street Corridor to react in the way they did, the only logical reason I can think of is economic disparity. Racism, in my opinion, is born out of economic disparity. Limited resources always create tension. Access to capital – a necessity for starting a business – needs to be available to everyone, not just a select few, in order for peace to exist among the masses. Racism is born when this access is given to only a chosen few. When Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot, the black residents in the 14th Street Corridor turned on the shopkeepers, who were predominantly white, and they looted the shopkeepers in an act of revenge.

Coming Together for Worldwide Advocacy against Violence: the World YWCA International Training Institute

By Desiree Hoffman, Director of Advocacy

November 6, 2012 will always be a memorable day in my book. It was the day I took my longest international trip – 18 hours from my home city of Washington, D.C., with pit stops in Dallas, T.X. and Tokyo. My final destination was Seoul, Korea, where I was chosen by the World YWCA to attend an International Training Institute (ITI) on Violence Against Women and Peacebuilding.

November 6 is also the same day that President Obama won a second term in the White House, winning battleground states like Ohio, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. When I landed in Tokyo, I ran to the nearest TV and, although I couldn’t understand Japanese, it was clear by the electoral map shaded in red and blue who had won.

The next day, I woke up feeling desperate for a cup of coffee. But that need slowly dissipated when I met women at breakfast from New Zealand, Great Britain, Zambia, Lebanon, Columbia and other countries. We made small talk about our journeys to Seoul as we ate a traditional Korean breakfast, which included rice and kimchee.

In Her Shoes: Zillah Wesley, YWCA National Capital Area

by Rhonda Bishop

In Her Shoes is a series that profiles young women working in YWCAs across the country.

In Her Shoes - Zillah Wesley

Zillah Wesley

Zillah Wesley currently serves as a Board Member for the YWCA of the National Capitol Area in Washington, D.C. Zillah has served as a board member for five years and is an active chair of Communications for the YWCA USA Young Women’s Committee. Zillah works as a teacher for the non-profit New Community for Children, which provides children and youth with learning experiences that build their academic, social and creative skills.

YWCA: Describe your normal day from your first morning coffee and on…

ZW: Well, it depends on what day of the week it is for me. As the communications chair of the YWCA USA Young Women’s Committee, I am responsible for threading young women’s voices into the national mission of the YWCA. We meet once a month to discuss innovative communication campaigns that will engage young women. Then, I turn my focus to my job that pays the bills: I work for a non-profit called New Community for Children in Washington, D.C.

Our Vote is Our Voice: 19th Amendment Anniversary and Women’s Vote

by LeAnn Harley
Marketing Communications Manager
YWCA National Capital Area, Washington, D.C.

LeAnn Harley

LeAnn Harley

August 26 – What a glorious day to celebrate the 92nd anniversary of the day the women’s suffrage battle was won. On August 26, 1920, the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect, guaranteeing women the right to vote.

Just imagine as a woman, not being able to vote in this year’s election. With all the issues concerning health care, employment, national debt, gas prices and most importantly women’s rights, it would be truly devastating to sit back and hope for the best without being allowed to properly voice our concerns on issues that directly impact women and families. That is why it is especially important to register and to vote in this year’s election.

Roundup: World YWCA at AIDS 2012

by Sidney Kimball

A delegation of 21 young women from across the globe represented the World YWCA at AIDS 2012, the 19th Annual International AIDS Conference, in Washington, D.C., July 22 to 27. These leaders, all united by the common goal of finding effective solutions and approaches to HIV and AIDS that affirm and protect the rights of women, blogged about their reflections on their experience:

AIDS 2012: Reflections on the First Day
by Brenda Martinez, YWCA USA

Brenda MartinezBrenda Martinez (far left) of the YWCA USA expressed her reflections on the first day of the gathering. Martinez began the day at 5:30 a.m. and was soon reminded of the great diversity of the World YWCA after her first encounter with a few of the other delegates. “I was quickly exposed to different cultural customs… and quickly reminded that I did not know much of the world,” she expressed. However, the gathering presented a rewarding opportunity to overcome language and cultural barriers as they united around YWCA’s mission and work.

A Whole New World: My Advocacy Fellowship with the YWCA USA

by Margaret Pence
Advocacy Fellow, YWCA USA

From left: Maggie Pence; Desiree Hoffman, YWCA USA director of advocacy and policy; and Lauren Cichock, development intern, at the U.S. Supreme Court for the historic ruling on the Affordable Care Act.

This summer, I had the opportunity to be on fellowship with the YWCA USA.  Not having a YWCA in my hometown, I had little idea what the mission of the YWCA was before accepting this fellowship.

I come from a sheltered, Midwestern background.  I was born and raised in South Dakota, where I have had little exposure to ethnic diversity; my friends in Minnesota are constantly educating me on stereotypes so I won’t offend others.  Back home, the only thing that seems to matter is whether there is a drought or a blizzard; what happened in the rest of the United States or around the globe didn’t really seem to matter or impact what was going on in my world.  My exposure to the rest of the world was based solely upon what I read in the Economist or Christian Science Monitor.