Our YWCA association took part in YWCA USA’s 2019 National Conference this June in Washington, D.C. This year’s conference theme of “Dare To Be Powerful”—derived from Audre Lorde’s commanding words—not only paid homage to YWCA’s rich history, but also issued a call to action for the challenges we continue to face.
To put our mission into practice, the YWCA Seattle | King | Snohomish delegation, led by CEO Maria Chavez Wilcox, joined 109 other associations from 38 states for the 2019 Capitol Hill Day. The group met with Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, as well as Congress Members Derek Kilmer and Pramila Jayapal to press for needed investments and policies to help all women and girls thrive.
Maria Cantwell even wore one of the pins celebrating our association’s 125th anniversary, stamped with the words "All in for Washington Women."
Maria Chavez Wilcox was also joined by a number of women from the YWCA Board of Directors, including Akila Somasegar, who is also an Advisory Council member of Girl Up, a program of the United Nations Foundation. Akila said, "This trip gave me a clear understanding on some of our legislative priorities and how each of those affect our clients and how important the partnership is."
Her favorite part of the trip? "Meeting so many amazing women with clear passion to make this world a better place, spending time with our legislators and our amazing team members."
Finally, when asked what she would tell other women who are interested in meeting their legislators, either in D.C. or their home state, Akila replied:
If you get the opportunity, please make use of it. It is very important for each one of us in this mission to understand how the different laws affect our clients and what changes we need to advocate for. Doing it in person and having a face to face conversation makes such a big difference.
If you want to be part of future YWCA advocacy meetings with lawmakers, both in D.C. and in Washington State, sign up for our advocacy newsletter. We'll keep you informed of all the opportunities to meet your elected officials and advocate to eliminate racism and empower women!
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.
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