by Rhonda Bishop
YWCA USA Advocacy Associate
I watched President Obama lay out his framework for putting Americans back to work last Thursday and thought if I could write one personal letter to Congress—what would I say?
So here it goes…
I pay my taxes, make timely payments to all three of my student loans, respect my elders, pay my parking tickets, kind to animals, and graduated with honors.
I have done everything you have asked of me and yet, I stand by as you question my reproductive rights, strip more and more taxes out of my meager pay checks and eliminate subsidized loans for graduate programs after I decide to pursue grad school.
Yet, my struggles sheepishly pale in comparison to the millions of women, children and families that are served by the YWCA every day.
The struggling economy has alarmingly increased domestic violence occurrences, women are being laid off in thousands, mothers struggle to provide childcare for their children, and one in six Americans struggle with hunger.
Intently, I watched President Obama lay out his framework for putting people back to work. Congress, you are fully aware that we are in an economic crisis of epic proportions! I am counting on you to decrease the bickering, increase employment opportunities and advocate for fair, progressive tax policies that benefit everyone.
YWCA providers save thousands of lives through successful programs and rehabilitation services—and we invite you to tour our facilities, speak to our clients and learn just what “Persimmon Power” really means.
I love the YWCA. As one of the women it represents, I am proud of its history and hopeful for its future. We won’t sit idle and let a handful of people determine the direction of this country.
We are the voices for women who need jobs and have jobs, women seeking childcare, women seeking shelters from abusive partners.
We are the voices for women across the country and you will hear from us.
We will stand together in support of funding for programs that include VOCA, childcare, housing and workforce training for those who need it most.
Congress, I respectfully give you notice that the YWCA is 2 million strong…and counting. We will write. We will call. We will vote. We may even meet with you.
But I promise–you will hear from us.
* The opinions and views expressed by the author in this letter are her own and do not necessarily reflect the views of YWCA USA, YWCA associations, affiliates, or employees.
Rhonda Bishop, a native of East Lansing, Mich., is an advocacy associate at YWCA USA. A graduate of Howard University in Washington, D.C., Rhonda majored in journalism and has been navigating the post-graduate voyage ever since.