Earlier this week, on August 8, 2018, YWCA Princeton joined hundreds of YWCAs across the nation in our biennial In-District Advocacy Day; a day for YWCA’s to collectively focus on legislative policies with local representatives to raise the volume on our concerns for working women and families. YWCA Princeton was joined by YWCA Union County and YWCA Bergen County, as we met with New Jersey legislators, calling for support crucial to the economic empowerment and security of women and families.
YWCA Princeton’s In-District Advocacy Day began with a site-visit from U.S. Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman’s District Director and Director of Outreach and Programming. Along with Jennifer Vriens, Director of Development at YWCA Union County, we led the Congresswoman’s team through a quick tour of the YWCA Princeton’s facilities and programs. The team then continued their discussion at YWCA Princeton’s Bramwell House. As a representative of New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman’s stances on legislature impact the work that we do within our community.
Following the discussion, YWCA members continued In-District Advocacy Day by meeting with the staff of New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez and Senator Cory Booker at 1 Gateway Center, in Newark, NJ. We were joined in these discussions by our sister YWCA’s from Bergen County and Union County.
During all three of these meetings, YWCA Princeton and our sister YWCA’s stressed the importance of legislation for furthering our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women to promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. YWCA’s comprehensive policy and legislative priorities include racial justice and civil rights, empowerment and economic advancement of women and girls, and the health and safety of women and girls. Specific acts and bills we advocated for included the passage of the Dream Act, the passage of the End Racial (and Religious) Profiling Act, and the passage of the Child Care for Working Families Act. Additional priorities included the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and full FY2019 funding of the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). YWCA Princeton also expressed its concerns about the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court, urging the representatives to vote against his confirmation as his record and judicial philosophy are at odds with the principled pragmatism required to make decisions that protect the people and communities it serves. The representatives were also urged to oppose the proposed citizenship question on the 2020 Census form in order to ensure fair and accurate representation of the communities we exist to serve.
“We would like to sincerely thank our officials on their support for crucial policies that promote the economic empowerment and safety of women and families. Thank you for helping New Jersey YWCA’s in our mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. We consider ourselves lucky to have support from our representatives, and we will continue to work alongside them to ensure stronger legislation for our communities,” said Judy Hutton, CEO of YWCA Princeton.
YWCA has been at the forefront of the most critical social movements for more than 160 years — from women’s empowerment and civil rights, to affordable housing and pay equity, to violence prevention and health care. This year will mark 160 years of action, service, and impact and YWCA USA will be hosting an October gala celebrating 160 years of action, service, and impact at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington D.C. For more information, please visit www.ywca.org.