One way we work to achieve our mission of racial, gender, and social equity is through Advocacy.
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. The 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.
A New Director of Mission Impact
Welcoming David Guadalupe as our new Director of Mission Impact. Coming from a background in Art and Education, he has been working hard creating workshop content and getting connected with those in our community, complimenting Leimary’s skills in outreach to create an even stronger Advocacy department.
Navigating a Post-Roe America
Advocacy Coordinator Leimary Llopiz has her feet on the ground, helping lead the Southeastern MA Women Alliance’s We Won’t go Back March on July 9th and was a featured panelist on the New Bedford Light’s series The Chat discussing abortion in Southeastern MA and consequences of the SCOTUS decision. Llopiz would like to remind the community that the YWCA is here to offer support, a space to discuss and be heard, and continue to advocate for reproductive rights. Don’t hesitate to reach out! She would also like to kindly ask that if possible, consider a donation to the New Bedford Women’s Fund by checking out this link.
Just as a friendly reminder, this is a quick overview on Massachusetts abortion laws:
Despite the SCOTUS ruling setting off "trigger laws" in other states, abortion is still legal in Massachusetts due to previous laws passed by our state senate and upheld by our governor. Massachusetts law permits those 17+ to have an abortion up to 24 weeks following written and confirmed consent, for those 16 and under to have an abortion with signed parental or guardian and patient consent (if a parent does not consent, the patient can request a judge to sign off), and for those over 24 weeks to have an abortion only in situations where a physician deems medically necessary. The most recent law in MA on the topic of abortion was passed mere weeks ago on June 24, 2022, as Governor Charlie Baker signed an executive order No. 600, which helps protect Massachusetts healthcare facilities serve out of state patients (particularly from states with extreme restrictions or rewards for turning in healthcare facilities) with protection from the MA government so they will not be charged in another state for performing abortions.
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.
Each week packages with menstrual hygiene products and other personal hygiene such as hand sanitizer are created and distributed to women across the Southcoast through Programs such as PACE’s Diapers and Things Program, or given directly to women in our residential program.
This reflects the YWCA’s values of giving women the tools needed to go confidently in the world, not having to worry about affording necessary hygiene products where price has shown to be a barrier in accessing products for about 14% of menstruators in the United States.
The Menstrual Access Project is also a further extension of the YWCA’s work in endorsing the ‘I Am’ Bill, which is “An Act to Increase Access to Disposable Menstrual Products in Prisons, Homeless Shelters and Public Schools”. If passed, disposable menstrual products would be provided for free in these places. Please feel free to reach out if you need menstrual products, know someone who needs menstrual products, or would like to donate menstrual products.
The YWCA's Girls Exclusive program has been advocating for Menstrual Equity and an end to Period Poverty through their self-named initiative, Justice Flow, and you can follow their advocacy work in the news, too! You can read more about YWCA SEMA's Menstrual Access Advocacy Project here!
Thanks to the Manifest Love Project, run by Round the Bend Farm in Dartmouth, Massachusetts, the YWCA Southeastern MA has been able to deliver food each week to families in the community in need of fresh produce. Learn more about the project below, and at Round The Bend Farm's Website.
In March of 2020, in direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, RTB launched Manifest Love — a collaborative endeavor with YWCA Southeastern MA, Youth Opportunities Unlimited (Y.O.U.), and NorthStar Learning Centers which put healthy, local foods on the tables of families in New Bedford. The Executive Directors of these respective organizations – Desa Van Laarhoven, Gail Fortes, Bernadette Souza, and Maria Rosario – decided that RTB would provide free weekly food shares from early March 2020 to mid December to approximately 125 local families directly connected to the New Bedford organizations. Together we grew, gleaned, sourced, and distributed nutritious, organic, local food. We also created new and relevant educational resources, including videos, blogs and letters, which were sent out with the shares each week. Our partners at the YWCA meticulously translated each letter and video into Spanish and Portuguese for accessibility; NorthStar Learning Centers picked up the food shares every week at RTB and delivered them with love; and Y.O.U. provided cooking classes for children whose families receive shares through their program.
Due to the success of Manifest Love in 2020, the project continued into 2021: for 30 weeks from May through December we delivered shares to 100+ families. Since the beginning of the Manifest Love project in 2020, we have donated over 70,000 pounds of produce and local organic products. Looking forward, this project and collaboration will continue to grow and expand. Manifest Love will be starting its third season in the spring of 2022 and in late summer 2022 we will be acquiring a Manifest Love Food Truck. We are very excited about all of the new opportunities that the food truck will bring for the Manifest Love project and for the community!
-Round the Bend Farm
Did you know that almost 2 million of Massachusetts’ population of 6.8 million people are NOT registered to vote?
The YWCA wanted to be a part of changing that, since elections, both national and local, are important to the laws and funding distribution that impact our daily lives. With efforts led by Leimary and the help of two interns, we have partnered with Mass Voter Table to help provide outreach to encourage people to register to vote and make a plan to vote. Mass Voter Table is a non-partisan organization that makes 20,000+ phone calls each year with targeted outreach to help encourage people to register to vote and educate them on the importance of voting.
Remember that the Massachusetts primary election day is September 6th, 2022 and general elections are November 8, 2022. See you at the voting booth!
With the BA.5 COVID-19 variant on the rise this summer, the YWCA has continued outreach on COVID-19 public health information.
Efforts have included the distribution of pamphlets in multiple languages and tabling in public areas to discuss the state of the pandemic. Pamphlets discuss the importance of getting vaccinated to decrease the chances of hospitalization if the virus is contracted, where to get vaccines, and new recommendations about vaccinations for children and the science behind it to help people make empowered decisions. Stay safe and when in doubt, test and wear a mask!
What does our advocacy work look like?
We host free and professional workshops for the public, schools, and businesses across Southeastern Massachusetts on varying topics such as gender and racial equity, menstrual access, maternal health, and more. You can find our free workshops and events Here.
Legislative advocacy refers to efforts to influence legislation, or official laws. We do this through contacting our legislators – city councilors, state legislators, and federal legislators – to share our views on an issue and ask them to vote a specific way on a bill. We used legislative advocacy to help pass An Act to Establish Pay Equity and the Paid Family and Medical Leave Program.
When several groups share a common goal, they can form a coalition to work together to have that goal met. An advocacy coalition may focus on addressing legal, political, or social issues. We used the method of joining a coalition when we joined with the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women and other supporters of pay equity and PFML at Women's Advocacy Day, held each year in the spring at the Massachusetts State House.
Mobilization of public support and action
Mobilizing public support and action includes providing information to our network about legislation, policies, or social or political movements related to our mission, and then providing information about how people can take action. This may include asking people to contact their legislator, participate in a rally, or share information on social media about the importance of an issue.
Questions about our advocacy? Contact Leimary Llopiz, Advocacy Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org or (508) 999-3255.
Please click HERE to view the YWCA USA Advocacy Page!
Partner and Donor Links: