Tag Archives: advocacy

Bold Mission, Bright Future

21 Jun

YWCANationalConference2017Delegates from our YW in Asheville recently attended the YWCA National Conference in Washington D.C. where we convened with fellow leaders from associations across the country to share, discuss, advocate, and collaborate together. The energy was high and the intention clear. From workshops to powerhouse keynote speakers the YWCA held up the significance of embracing the intersectionality of our work throughout social justice movements and the imperative to uplift the leadership of young women and women of color.

CapitalHillDay2017_BethMaczka_LaurenWeldishoferWe turned Capitol Hill persimmon as hundreds of YWCA delegates met with their respective representatives in Washington to advocate for our mission, programs, and communities.Thank you to everyone who signed our petition and wrote postcards about potential Federal Budget cuts. YWCA of Asheville proudly delivered over 560 signatures to the offices of Congressman McHenry and Meadows and Senators Burr and Tillis. Our message was to highlight the importance of federal funds in programs that serve women, children and families and what a great job we do in leveraging additional funding to provide high-quality services to our community. The petition and postcards were well received. The general response from legislative staff is that the budget will be significantly re-written before it is finalized and that we should continue to stay in touch during the process – so stay tuned for more advocacy opportunities.

20170616_201132Also during the conference, YWCA of Asheville was recognized as one of three finalists for the YWCA Association of Excellence Award for Racial Justice. We were nominated – out of more than 220 associations nationwide – for the development of our racial justice workshops, our robust Stand Against Racism campaign, and our leadership with our local Racial Justice Coalition. Although we did not win, we congratulate our friends at YWCA of Rochester for their exceptional achievement and are inspired to work even harder for racial justice. Congratulations also to YWCA Greater Atlanta for excellence in advocacy and YWCA Brooklyn for excellence in women’s empowerment. 

Throughout the conference, YWCA of Asheville was posting quotes, insights, and photos in real-time to the YWCA audience nationwide. Read our Social Media Ambassador’s reflections on the YWCA USA Blog.

 

Racial Justice Advocacy & Action in Times of Tragedy

12 Jul

We at the YWCA of Asheville are deeply saddened by the local tragedy of events resulting in the death of Jai “Jerry” Lateef Solveig Williams. We grieve with our community for the loss of another young African-American man.

RacismHurtsEveryone_BlackThis, compounded with the appalling deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the hands of law enforcement, deepens our resolve to work towards dismantling systemic racism that undermines our society and threatens us all.
The mission of the YWCA is eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. While details are still emerging through the ongoing investigation of local events, the YWCA of Asheville is committed to working with our community as part of the Racial Justice Coalition to eliminate any and all forms of institutional and structural racism.
Read this statement documenting a meeting with Asheville Police Department Chief Hooper and members of community organizations including the Racial Justice Coalition. As leaders within the Racial Justice Coalition, the YWCA will continue to work closely with APD to ensure truth and accountability emerge from this investigation. Stay connected with us for further updates and dialogue through this Blog and our Facebook and Twitter.

We Stand with Orlando

16 Jun

The mission of the YWCA is Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women and Promoting Peace, Justice, Freedom and Dignity for all.  Powerful, meaningful words and the last two words are the most germane, given the evil that occurred in Orlando – “For All.”

…for people of all races and skin color,
…for people of all gender identities,
…for people of all sexual orientations,
…for people of all ages,
…for people of all religions,

That is why the Orlando shooting is so truly tragic on so many levels.  The shooter professed to be Muslim, the victims were mainly gay, and many were Latino and African American.

The intersectionality of race, religion, gender and sexual orientation can be difficult under the best of circumstances. And early Sunday morning became the worst of circumstances – the single largest act of gun violence in our Country’s modern history.

As we try to move forward in this country under the shadow of gun violence, systemic and institutional racism, and the irrational fear that is homophobia, it is our commitment to make substantive changes, to join with the YWCA USA in advocating for stronger gun laws, to stay strong for one another, and to be our best selves with each other.

We at the YWCA of Asheville stand firmly with our brothers and sisters in Orlando. We mourn the loss of their loved ones and family members. We want all of our staff and members to feel safe and supported, particularly as we navigate events so tragic, so incomprehensible, so horrific as the mass shooting in Orlando.  The YWCA of Asheville, its leadership, and staff, are committed to living into our mission, especially in these times of great sorrow.

 

Advocacy Alert for New Choices

3 Jun
Dear friends,
I am writing to ask you to spend 5 minutes calling in support of the YWCA’s New Choices Program and the Drop-in Child Care Center. As most of you know, the New Choices Program removes the barrier of access to childcare for women who are working to improve their work skills and gain employment. Additional support such as credit classes, resume writing, job seeking and job keeping skills help women improve their economic stability.
8313985151_388b14bd17_b
The proposed senate budget has zeroed out the funding for these services which would mean a significant reduction in work force development services available to women trying to become more economically secure. It could also mean a reduction in the hours of free drop-in childcare which is a major obstacle to parents trying to return to school or work. The YW currently receives $55,000 of combined Displaced Homemaker Funds and Divorce Filing Fees. This is the base annual income for the New Choices program which is supplemented by grants and contracts when we can get them.
Please call all of the key representatives of the House Appropriations Committee:

Nelson Dollar    (919) 715-0795     Nelson.Dollar@ncleg.net
Justin Burr          (919) 733-5908    Justin.Burr@ncleg.net
Bryan Holloway   (919) 733-5609   Bryan.Holloway@ncleg.net
Linda Johnson   (919) 733-5861    Linda.Johnson2@ncleg.net
Susan Fisher      (919) 715-2013   Susan.Fisher@ncleg.net

Background information:

*  The NC Senate’s budget elimination of funding for displaced homemaker programs will have a devastating impact on the ability of the YW’s New Choices Program and 34 other programs across NC to provide services that help participants get reintegrated into our economy.
*  Last year, 5,790 individuals received training through NC’s Displaced Homemaker Programs. That training helped them learn job skills, achieve financial literacy, and work toward community college certification, all skills necessary to move them from dependence to independence. They include the persistently underemployed, a category where NC has the sad distinction of ranking fourth in the nation.
*  The Senate’s budget redirects monies from Divorce Filing Fees, which has funded Displaced Homemaker Programs, to the Domestic Violence Fund. The new legislation does not require workforce development services be provided by domestic violence programs.

The main points to make are:
If the house does not move to reinstate the monies, the impact will be stark:

*  35 Existing Displaced Homemaker programs will be eliminated
*  Unemployed and dislocated workers will have far fewer workforce development programs to help them access the skills and support needed to reenter the workforce
*  Domestic violence services, while very important, are targeted to victim assistance and awareness programs
*  By definition, not all displaced homemakers are domestic violence victims, thus many “displaced homemakers” will lose vital workforce development services with the elimination of DH programs.

beth maczka blueThank you for your time and attention to this important issue!
Beth Maczka
YWCA Executive Director