A sea of persimmon power will sweep the halls of Congress during Capitol Hill Day kicking off the YWCA’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. YWCA executive directors, local board members and staff are lobbying their Congressional delegation on YWCA national advocacy priorities for the 114th Congress.
This year’s theme, “Our Collective Power,” is appropriate for so many reasons. Our power as a racial justice and women’s rights movement is rooted in our shared history, our mission to eliminate racism and empower women, and our commitment to the women and families we help on a daily basis. Our power is also rooted in numbers and influence. Local leaders from across the country are respected, influential spokespeople who bring an on-the ground perspective to Members of Congress. YWCA advocates share stories about how legislation will impact the lives of the communities they serve. And who can forget, as we move high-gear into election season, the power of the vote. As powerhouses across the country invested in our mission to eliminate racism and empower women, YWCA’s continue to register marginalized and under-represented voters. As a movement, we continue to stay apprised of how elected officials are voting on issues that matter to us and we vote!
Members of Congress are persuaded by YWCA’s collective power and today is an opportunity for us in Washington, D.C. and around the country to advocate for legislation to create a national standard guaranteeing paid sick days; common-sense gun violence prevention legislation to reduce domestic violence homicides; and a critical bill that would end racial profiling in communities.
If you are not attending Capitol Hill Day, there are plenty of ways to take action on these advocacy issues A newly elected Congress convened in January 2015 and their agenda is still being defined. A series of bills have been recently reintroduced that align with YWCA legislative priorities. Our goal is to educate a new generation of elected officials as well as remind incumbent Members to co-sponsor the following bills: the Healthy Families Act (S. 497/ H.R. 932), the End Racial Profiling Act of 2015 (S.1056/HR 1933) and the Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act (H.R. 2216).
Healthy Families Act– Eighty percent of low-wage workers across the country do not have a single paid sick day. Women and people of color are disproportionately impacted by the lack of paid sick days, particularly those employed in low-wage jobs. In fact, more than half of Latina workers and more than four in ten African American women workers do not have this basic benefit. In absence of this workplace protection, workers are often forced to choose between losing wages, even losing their jobs, and taking time off of work to care for oneself or a family member. When workers have to take unpaid sick time to stay home to get well or care for a loved one, the lost wages threaten the family’s economic stability. YWCA supports the Healthy Families Act (S. 497/H.R. 932) which creates a national standard for paid sick days. The Healthy Families Act would allow workers to earn up to seven days of paid sick days annually to recover from a sickness or take time off to care for a family member without penalty. Additionally, we strongly support the provision in the bill that would allow survivors of domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault to use these paid sick days to obtain legal, housing, and health services. We urge you to co-sponsor the Healthy Families Act.
Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act– YWCA remains committed to addressing violence against women through a continued focus on preventing domestic violence murders by closing key gaps in federal firearms legislation. In the U.S., more than three times as many women are killed by their abusers with guns than by any other weapon. In fact, a woman is five times more likely to be killed by her intimate partner in households with guns. YWCA supports H.R. 2216, the Protecting Victims of Domestic Violence and Stalking Victims Act, which will effectively reduce domestic violence murders and save the lives of millions of domestic violence victims by closing three key loopholes such as: allowing for the seizure of firearms when temporary protective orders are issued, expanding the definition of “intimate partner” to include dating partners and convicted stalkers, and prohibiting convicted stalkers from having access to guns.
End Racial Profiling Act of 2015– Racial and religious profiling is a human rights violation that uniquely affects women of color. Congress must pass the End Racial Profiling Act (S. 1056/S. 1933) to ensure that policing of all communities is done fairly using methods that respect the full humanity and rights of all regardless of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, ability or citizenship status. As a leading organization devoted to racial and gender justice, YWCA believes that all individuals should be ensured justice and protected equally under the law.?
Join the YWCA’s collective power on Capitol Hill today by following these easy steps.
- Forward this message to your networks– Friends, Board Members, Co-Workers and Leaders in your community.
- On June 4, send an email message to your Members of Congress urging them to co-sponsor these bills by clicking on each of the links above.
- Sign-Up on the YWCA USA website to receive legislative alerts and updates.
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