The 2020 Washington State Legislative session starts this week, with legislators convening to begin tackling the issues facing our state. YWCA will be working hard to pass strong policies to improve the lives of women and communities of color across three areas of focus: housing, justice system reform, and economic empowerment.

When legislators meet in Olympia this week, on January 13, to begin a 60-day session, we’ll need your help as advocates to pass these bills to make our society fairer and more inclusive! Click the name of any bill you'd like to support to take action by sending a quick message to the lawmakers that represent you.

A young Black girl looking up a staircase

 

Housing Justice

 To build stability and prevent homelessness for families, we're supporting:

Fair Move-in Fees

As the cost of living has ballooned across Washington State, the upfront cost to rent, including first months, last months, and security deposit, has also sharply risen. This is especially damaging for women with children fleeing domestic violence, who sometimes must leave their unsafe homes immediately without extensive savings.

YWCA is fighting to give all renters the right to pay these deposits and fees in installments. It would also protect families from possible retaliation from landlords, which could prevent tenants from falling into homelessness just because of a one-time financial break.

A woman makes coffee in a cafe

 

Economic Empowerment

The best way to ensure that children can succeed in school, women can protect themselves from abusers, and communities can maintain stability is to make sure that every woman has a livable income. To ensure that all Washingtonians can support their families and thrive, we’re fighting for:

Secure Scheduling

Giving women certainty and stability in their work schedules is critical to helping them thrive. This is especially important for retail and restaurant workers, who are largely black women and women of color, and are frequently denied the right to fair hours that let them plan childcare and make rent.

Working Families Tax Credit

People who work for a living ought to earn a living. But for millions of women in Washington State that isn't the case, thanks to Washington’s upside-down tax code. People who make more should pay their fair share in taxes. Right now, low-income households in Washington are taxed at 18% of their income while the rich pay only 3%. The Working Families Tax Credit is the best way to rebalance our tax code and to target tax breaks to help working people keep more of what they earn

A Black woman stands next to her car

 

Justice System Reform

Our legal system shouldn’t treat people differently based on their wealth, but Washington State still has statutes that penalize residents living in poverty while giving breaks to the rich. To build a fairer system that doesn’t discriminate, YWCA is supporting three bills:

License Suspension Reform

Ending the criminalization of poverty, such as when people have their driver’s license taken away because they can’t afford a parking ticket, is hugely important to YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism. Treating poor defendants differently than rich ones is a key way that our justice system traps black women and communities of color into cycles of poverty and mass incarceration.

Sentencing Reform

Sentencing reform is an important first step to undoing the injustices of mandatory minimum sentences, which have locked up generations of young black men for victimless crimes like selling cannabis, which is now a legal industry dominated largely by white men. Beginning to right this institutional wrong by creating a Post-Conviction Review Board can unlock great potential for young people currently forced into the prison pipeline.

Restore Voting Rights to People on Parole

Equal representation is the foundation of our democracy, and it functions best when all voices are included. We're fighting to restore the right to vote to the almost 20,000 Washingtonian on parole who are currently denied that right. This would bolster the shared value of Washingtonians to expand, not restrict, access to the ballot box in our state.

Join The Fight!

Want to join YWCA to fight for housing, economic fairness, and justice reform in Washington State? Scroll through the feed below to take action on the issues that matter to you!

 
Eric Bronson

Eric Bronson is the Digital Advocacy and Engagement Manager at YWCA. He manages the Firesteel blog in addition to its social media streams and action initiatives. A graduate of Oberlin College, Eric focuses on the intersection of race and gender within the American political economy.

Firesteel

We tell the stories of those with lived experiences of racism and sexism and invite supporters to take concrete actions to correct the root causes of disparity in our communities.

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Tue, 01/14/2020 - 10:28
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