Y WE ACT
Many of the issues addressed by YWCA Greater Cleveland – homelessness, addiction, poverty, mental illness – are founded upon and fueled by racism and social injustice. YWCA is committed to advocating for policies that acknowledge structural racism and sexism are at the heart of many of our current crises and must be addressed directly if prospects for women and girls are to improve.
To learn how the YWCA network is making an impact on the national level, visit YWCA USA’s Action Center. You can learn about our federal policy goals and make your voice heard by signing a letter to your Representative or Senator. The 117th Congress represents a critical opportunity to address core issues that impact the needs of women, girls, and marginalized communities.
Your voice matters and your voice counts! Visit YWCA USA’s #YWomenVote Portal for voting registration and planning resources to prepare for this year’s monumental midterm election season.
YWCA is working with Congress and coalition partners to ensure that Congress passes legislation in the following areas:
- Racial justice
- Women’s economic security
- Safety from gender-based violence
- Strengthening the nonprofit sector
- Civil rights
Click below for federal legislation to watch:
SUPPORTED: Expand The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)
- We are urging our Congress members to provide $900 million in additional funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) food purchases.
- Millions of Ohioans depend on food banks for staples like fresh vegetables, milk, and protein items. TEFAP makes it possible to meet the demand and is a win-win, helping both growers and producers and our neighbors in need.
SUPPORTED: Women’s Health Protection Act (S.4132)
- The Women’s Health Protection Act (S. 4132/H.R 8296) protects the right to access abortion, free from burdensome and often medically unnecessary restrictions, including mandatory ultrasounds, waiting periods, biased counseling, and irrelevant medical testing. The bill also protects providers offering abortion services to ensure abortions remain safe and accessible.
Equal access to safe, legal abortion care is the right of all persons to determine their own lives. Abortion access is also essential to the social and economic equality and women’s reproductive autonomy. Every person experiencing pregnancy deserves to be protected, to receive accurate, unbiased medical information so they can make the best medical decisions for themselves, and to make decisions about whether to continue a pregnancy or to access abortion care.
The decision in Dobbs and subsequent punitive abortion bans disproportionately affect women of color, LGBTQ persons, young women, immigrants, low-income people, and others who have difficulty accessing reproductive health services.
Click below for current Ohio legislation to watch:
OPPOSED: Ohio House Bill 322
- Prohibits public schools and state agencies from:
- Requiring the discussion of current events
- Requiring or awarding course credit for lobbying or other work surrounding social or public policy advocacy
- Prohibits state agencies or public schools from teaching any employee these “divisive concepts”.
- Prohibits the State Board of Education from adopting any model curriculum regarding “divisive concepts”.
- Prohibits any teacher or school administrator or any employee of a public school or state agency from accepting funding for, approving, making use of, or carrying out standards, curricula, lesson plans, textbooks, instructional materials, or instructional practices regarding “divisive concepts”
OPPOSED: Ohio House Bill 327
- Prohibits school districts, community schools, STEM schools, state agencies, and state institutions of higher education from teaching “divisive concepts” or accepting private funding to further promotion of “divisive concepts.”
- Requires the Department of Education to withhold funding from a school district or school that violates the bill.
OPPOSED: Ohio House Bill 616
- Prohibits public schools, and private schools accepting state funding, from providing instruction or materials on sexual orientation or gender identity to
- students in grades K-3 or
- students in grades 4-12 that is not “developmentally or age-appropriate.”
- Allows individuals to file complaints against a teacher, school, administrator, or school district superintendent alleged to be promoting “divisive concepts”
- Requires the Department of Education to take legal action against a teacher, school administrator, or school district superintendent who is found to have been promoting “divisive concepts.”
OPPOSED: House Bill 151
- Originally constructed as a revision to teachers mentorship programs, a last minute addition tacked on the transphobic “Save Women’s Sports Act”
- Requires school and college sports teams to be separated by gender.
- Requires medical proof of “internal and external reproductive anatomy,” testosterone levels, and analysis of “genetic makeup” to be eligible.
- Allow individuals to file complaints against schools if “deprived of athletic opportunity” of playing on a sports team separated by gender.
Phone Call Script
Use the draft script when you call your representative, but be sure to make it personal!
Hello, I’m a constituent of Representative____________. I live in [City/Town].
I’m calling to urge [Representative] to vote against House Bill(s)____. These bills are a distraction from the real issues that matter to students and educators. They would have a serious chilling effect on student learning and Ohio’s education profession, which is facing a growing recruitment crisis. With these bills, Ohio lawmakers are sending exactly the wrong message to students and to businesses looking to recruit a diverse workforce.
Use this draft to help start your letter but be sure to include any relevant personal experience.
I live in [City/Town] and I am writing to urge you to vote against House Bill(s) ___. These bills are a distraction from the real issues that matter to students and educators. They would have a serious chilling effect on student learning and Ohio’s education profession, which is facing a growing recruitment crisis. With these bills, Ohio lawmakers are sending exactly the wrong message to students and to businesses looking to recruit a diverse workforce.
First Name Last Name
OPPOSED: Ohio House Bill 598
- Bans all abortions in Ohio except for those performed to “save the life of the mother.”
- This bill is a “trigger ban,” meaning it will take effect the instant the U.S. Supreme Court officially strikes down Roe v. Wade.
OPPOSED: Ohio House Bill 454
- Counselors and educators from concealing or encouraging adolescents to conceal their feelings of gender dysphoria from their parents.
- Referrals for medicalized treatments for minors with Gender Dysphoria
- Hormone blockers for Gender Dysphoria prior to the age of 18.
- Cross-sex hormones for youth experiencing gender dysphoria prior to the age of 18.
- Surgical interventions or Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) for minors.
- Threatens to:
- Remove the licensure of physicians who provide this care and threatens them with civil lawsuits.
- Withdraw public funds from any hospital at which gender affirming care occurs
We need your voice to support and protect critical programs that provide nutritious food to children and families, including child nutrition waivers and TEFAP. Millions of children in the United States are facing hunger and access to nourishing food is critical for the long-term success of YWCA’s Early Learning Center students. To learn more, read the 2022 State of Hunger in Ohio Report.
SUPPORTED: Ohio Association of Foodbanks Petition
- Click HERE to sign the Ohio Association of Foodbanks petition urging Governor DeWine and members of the Ohio General Assembly to invest $183 million in ARPA state fiscal recovery funds into Ohio’s food banks.
- This investment would allow food banks to purchase desperately needed food and personal care items, while also building the network’s capacity in the long-term to ensure it is well-equipped for ongoing and future food and economic crises
- Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis
- In November of 2019, YWCA Greater Cleveland partnered with First Year Cleveland to host “400 Years of Inequity: A Call to Action” a national summit commemorating the start of chattel slavery in 1619 and its enduring impact on health, economic and educational inequities in America. The summit closed with a call to action – declare racism a public health crisis. With the support of YWCA and other community organizations, in summer 2020, the city of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County officials declared racism a public health crisis and committed to making real systemic change. These declarations represent an important governmental acknowledgment of racism and its continued impact.
- We are now serving on a working group made up of leaders from several community organizations in Cleveland, including the NAACP, infant mortality activist groups Birthing Beautiful Communities and First Year Cleveland and the Urban League of Greater Cleveland to make recommendations and advise policymakers and city officials on improving racial disparities in Cleveland.
- Ending Youth Homelessness
- A Place 4 Me – AP4M is a collective impact initiative of 30 partner organizations that coordinates the planning and implementation of local efforts to improve outcomes for young adults aging out of foster care or experiencing homelessness. We achieve these goals through convening, system assessment, planning, using data to drive decision-making, and by partnering with young adults to lead our advocacy efforts. We work to promote racial equity in the youth homeless system.
- Talk about these bills with your family, friends, and co-workers
- Host a letter or postcard-writing party and send the letters/postcards to your State Representative
- Support or volunteer with organizations working to register voters and increase turnout
- Attend local school board meetings and share your concerns
- Call your State Representative
- If you have a personal connection with a state representative, reach out and see if they have time for a phone call or meeting with you.
- Share information YWCA posts on social media about these bills
- Submit a letter to the editor to your local or regional news outlet
- Visit the YWCA USA Action Center