By Katie Stanton
Social Media & Online Engagement Manager, YWCA USA
If you have ever visited our website, ywca.org, and looked at all of the issues we work on, you might think it’s too much. How could we possibly take on immigration reform, budget and tax policy, health care, violence against women AND early childhood education? Why do we work on so many different things?
What it boils down to for the YWCA is that we work for safety, security and freedom from discrimination, for all women. These three principles have guide our work and informed our priorities. So our theme for the Top Five on Friday this week is just that: stories that touch on some different facets of our work, and how you can get involved. Read on to find out more!
Top Five on Friday
1. Early childhood education (ECE) has been popping up in the media ever since President Obama mentioned it in his State of the Union earlier this year. The issue has always been an important one for YWCA moms, who rely on affordable and quality child care at YWCA centers so that they can hold down jobs. We’re glad to see more leaders supporting ECE funding.
No, they’re not on drugs: Business leaders who embrace early childhood education, by Brigid Schulte, The Washington Post
Voters across the country rated ensuring that children get a strong start with early childhood education as second in priority only to increasing jobs and economic growth. Seventy percent favored doing more to make sure children begin kindergarten ready to learn. Nearly 90 percent said it’s important to make early education and child care more affordable – in many states child care costs now outstrip the cost of college.
Seventy-seven percent supported the president’s early education plan as long as it didn’t add to the debt or deficit. The plan is designed to be deficit neutral and funded with a 94-cent per pack increase in the cigarette tax. That support included 84 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of Independents and 60 percent of Republicans.
2. Last year, six people worshipping at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin were murdered by a man tied to white supremacist groups. After this horrific event, the YWCA attended a Senate Subcommittee Hearing on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Human Rights and heard Harpreet Singh Saini’s moving call for better data collection around hate crimes, so that his late mother would “have the dignity of becoming a statistic.” This week, moving posts like this one from Colorlines helped us commemorate Oak Creek.
Dispatch From Oak Creek: Healing Wounds, Stopping Hate, by Deepa Iyer, Colorlines
One of the bullets that invaded the main prayer hall and pierced the door frame is not patched up yet. Around it, as if to counteract its impact, are messages of support and love. Words from other places of worship like the Unitarian Universalist Church in Portsmouth, N.H., cover the walls of the gurdwara, bringing solace and comfort.
The langar hall is by far the largest open space, where food is made every day and served to anyone who chooses to enter. “There are few places to hide,” observes a friend as we walk through the langar hall. “Everything is open.”
Each part of this gurdwara—from parking lot to langar hall—holds a part of the events that transpired on August 5, 2012. Now a year since, they have taken on even greater significance.
3. Economic insecurity can take a toll on families, and many women are limiting the number of children they have in light of the costs of things like daycare, medical bills and schooling. As well as working to provide affordable daycare options, YWCAs also prioritize financial literacy and economic security, so that individuals are better prepared to own homes, pay bills, provide for their children and save for the future.
Worried about finances, some parents opt for ‘one and done’, by Allison Linn, TODAY
The weak economy of the past five years could end up exacerbating a long-term trend toward more one-child families, as the cloud of financial uncertainty causes some parents to fret about the burden of taking on everything from daycare costs to college tuition for more than one child.
4. Race and racial justice have been more present in the public conversation than ever lately, but it doesn’t mean that we live in a post-racial society. This poll does show, however, that there are signs of progress in younger generations. YWCA signature campaigns like Stand Against Racism help carry these important conversations into communities all over the country, so that we can all learn about racism and how to end it once and for all.
Many Americans Have No Friends of Another Race: Poll, Lindsay Dunsmuir, Reuters
About 40 percent of white Americans and about 25 percent of non-white Americans are surrounded exclusively by friends of their own race, according to an ongoing Reuters/Ipsos poll.
The figures highlight how segregated the United States remains in the wake of a debate on race sparked by last month’s acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting of unarmed black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin. President Barack Obama weighed in after the verdict, calling for Americans to do some “soul searching” on whether they harbor racial prejudice.
5. As sexual assault in the military garners even more media attention, the Pentagon is releasing new rules to prevent it as early as next week. In the video below, President Obama said that ending military rape will “uphold the honor and integrity” of the military, and on behalf of female veterans who make up the majority of victims, the YWCA agrees. If you agree too, speak out and support the Military Improvement Act.
Obama To Troops: Sexual Assault In The Military Must Stop, “And That Comes From The Top”, by Evan McMorris-Santoro, BuzzFeed
President Obama told a crowd of Marines Wednesday that sexual assault in the military will not be tolerated.
“It undermines what this military stands for and it undermines what the Marine Corps stands for when sexual assault happens within our units,” Obama said, standing before an audience of Marines at Camp Pendleton in California “And that’s why we are going to work together, all of us, too stop these crimes of sexual assault and uphold the honor and the integrity that defines the finest military on earth.”
If you have a story that needs to be shared, let us know! Leave a link in the comments or send us a Tweet at @YWCAUSA.