The YWCA remains at the forefront of addressing issues of racial and gender inequities. We are a member of a regional and national movement working together to strengthen our voice in the local, state and national governments. YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts strives daily to continue to provide opportunities to help women and their families reach their fullest potential. We will continue to take social action towards racial justice, women’s economic advancement and the empowerment of women and girls. With your help, we can continue to make a difference. Below are three ways you can support the people of your community.

The VOTES Act

Change starts at the local level—and we know how crucial it is to support women, in particular women and girls of color, every election season and beyond. As one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the country, YWCA is especially committed to doing our part to make sure women get to the polls, and that our experiences and needs are valued, represented and made a priority to those we elect to public office. YWCA SEMA is proud to endorse the VOTES Act, an antiracist policy that will remove barriers to civic participation and ensure an equitable democracy for all residents in the Commonwealth.

The VOTES Act (HD1536/SD1002) is a comprehensive piece of election reform legislation to ensure that those reforms that worked last fall for voters like you — mail-in voting and expanded early voting — are not taken away, and to dismantle remaining barriers to voter participation, like our voter registration deadline.

If passed, the VOTES Act would make Same Day Registration the law in Massachusetts; it would ensure that Bay Staters who are incarcerated but eligible to vote can actually exercise that right; it would strengthen post-election audits to bolster voter confidence – and much more.

Please urge your legislators to support this important bill today. It is critical that our elected officials hear from their constituents that they care about the right to vote and want to do so safely in the fall. Your participation makes a difference.

Endorse the VOTES Act: https://forms.gle/MV7gv8wnzhmwJibB8

Call for Cosponsors: http://bit.ly/cosponsorVOTES

Write/submit an LTE: https://www.commoncause.org/votesact/

Affordable, Accessible, High-Quality Early Education and Care

Without access to affordable, high-quality early education and child care, parents and other caregivers struggle to balance work and caring for their children, and children miss out on the learning environments, structure, and stability that sets them up to thrive. It’s clear – Massachusetts needs universal access to affordable, high-quality early education and care.

YWCA Southeastern MA is a proud member of the Common Start Coalition, a statewide partnership of organizations, providers, parents, early educators and advocates working together to make high-quality early education and child care affordable and accessible to all Massachusetts families.

In order to make our goal a reality, the Common Start Coalition has developed the Common Start legislation filed by Representatives Gordon and Madaro and Senators Lewis and Moran (HD 1960 / SD 1307), which creates a 5-year pathway to universal, high-quality early education and care and increases public investment in a crucial part of our economy. It would provide bedrock funding for providers (helping to increase early educator salaries and offer stable funding for operating costs) and provide subsidies for families in need of more affordable early education and child care.

Our elected officials need to hear from their constituents directly email your state rep and state senator directly to cosponsor this crucial piece of legislation! While we have a template email about the Common Start legislation, please feel free to include your own personal story – let’s make our voices heard on Beacon Hill. https://bit.ly/commonstartcosponsor

Increased Access to Disposable Menstrual Hygiene Products in Prisons, Homeless Shelters, and Public Schools (HD 2272/SD1381).

YWCA Southeastern MA is on a mission to END PERIOD POVERTY. No one should have to choose between food, a roof over their head, their education, and access to menstrual products and yet every day in Massachusetts, menstruators are forced to make exactly that choice.

YWCA Southeastern MA is a proud member of the Massachusetts Menstrual Equity Coalition, which consists of over 200 community organizations and menstrual activists working to pass the I AM bill to increase access to menstrual products in schools, prisons & shelters. As legislators are deciding their priorities, we need them to both co-sponsor and champion the I AM bill in the 193rd legislative session. You can share this action alert to tell state legislators to prioritize period poverty in the pandemic recovery plan.

In 2020, we know that period poverty looks different and is even more dire. Our 2020 State of Menstrual Access Survey aims to hear from student menstruators, homeless menstruators and currently or formerly incarcerated menstruators directly. Responses will help inform the coalition’s advocacy in the 2021-2023 legislative session. Participants will be eligible to receive free menstrual products too!