Advocacy Agenda

Advocacy Agenda 2022

As a social justice organization, YWCA Central Alabama works to address inequities in access to child care, domestic violence services, and affordable housing that persist in our community as social indicators. We are dedicated to eliminating the systemic barriers that cause a need for these services. We demand a world of equity and human decency. 

As we carry on our tradition of social action and advocacy to advance our mission, we urge you to join us! Your voice is critical as we advocate for legislation, policies, and issues that bring us closer to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

We ask that you stand with us as we Commit, Communicate, Educate, and Advocate. Learn more about our policy and advocacy agenda below.

Health & Safety

Ensure health care for women, girls, and marginalized people

Quality, affordable, culturally competent health care is critical for everyone. But for many women, children, people of color, and trauma survivors, getting the medical care and insurance coverage they need is a struggle. The lack of access to quality health care for rural and high-poverty communities threatens the lives of Alabamians every day. YWCA Central Alabama advocates for improved health care for all women, girls, and marginalized people.

What we support:

  • Protection and expansion of health care coverage for women
  • Trauma-informed care in all human/social services
  • Expansion of access to quality health care in rural and high-poverty communities
  • Elimination of racial and ethnic disparities in health care
  • Improved maternal health outcomes for marginalized women
  • Investing in holistically health families and communities

Prevent gender-based violence and support survivors

No woman or girl should ever experience violence in any form, including domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, stalking, and trafficking. This violence has no regard for age, income level, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religious affiliation. As the sole state-certified domestic violence services provider in Jefferson, Blount, and St. Clair counties, YWCA Central Alabama advocates for practical solutions to protect survivors, hold perpetrators accountable, and eradicate all forms of gender-based violence.

What we support:

  • Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
  • Reauthorization of the Family Violence Prevention and Services Improvement Act (FVPSA)
  • Trauma-informed care for children and families exposed to violence and abuse
  • Safe, inclusive school and work environments that are free from gender-based violence, are supportive of survivors, and that respect and affirm gender identity and expression

Empowerment and Economic Advancement

Expand opportunities for women’s successful workplace participation

Equal pay, workplace fairness, and access to high-skill and high-wage jobs are essential to women’s economic advancement in the 21st century. The “She-cession” saw 3 million American women – representing the majority of job loss in 2020 – leave the workforce during the pandemic.  As breadwinners, caretakers, and essential drivers of our nation’s economy, women should not have to choose between their livelihood and health, family, or safety. Yet far too many women and families, particularly those of color, must make this choice every day.

What we support:

  • Fair wages and equal pay
  • Safe, fair, and inclusive workplaces free of discrimination and harassment
  • Paid family leave, paid sick leave, and job-protected safe leave
  • Access to training, career development, and educational opportunities in high-skilled, high wage, STEM, and other 21st century work opportunities

Quality Education for All

Increase access to quality, equitable, and inclusive education experiences for ALL

Child care and early learning programs are essential for working women and for our nation’s economic future. The COVID-19 pandemic escalated already-existing barriers to women’s economic participation, inequities for women and families of color, and the capacity challenges that have plagued child care providers for generations. Our nation’s post-COVID recovery requires that we build an equitable, sustainable child care infrastructure that meets the needs of all women, families, and child care providers. 

The intersection of race, gender, and violence is often unexplored in mainstream discussions of criminalization and racial profiling. Across the country, the education of Black and brown students is often disrupted as a result of discriminatory and punitive discipline policies that criminalize and push them out of school. We advocate for systemic reforms and policy solutions that promote the safety, well-being, and academic success of all students, from early education to higher education.

What we support:

  • Quality, affordable child care and early education programs
  • Strengthening early learning access for low-income families 
  • Training, professional development, and a fair wage for child care workforce
  • Funding and support to safely reopen and expand child care services impacted by the COVID-19 crisis
  • Efforts to end the criminalization of Black and brown girls in school and disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline, particularly as related to trauma-informed care training for school staff and school resource officers

Racial Justice and Civil Rights

Eliminate policies and practices that criminalize people of color

YWCA Central Alabama is committed to ensuring that everyone is afforded equal opportunity and equal protection under the law. Too often, however, stereotypes, biases, and racial power dynamics are embedded in our laws and public policies. They are also reflected in the use of racial profiling, heightened surveillance tactics, targeted enforcement strategies, and other practices that increase policing of certain racial and ethnic communities (but not others) and criminalize people of color.

What we support:

  • Ending racial and religious profiling
  • Creating safe, equitable educational environments that support learning for all students, especially those most impacted by school discipline and sexual harassment policies and practices
  • Reforming laws, policies, and practices to safeguard people of color from law enforcement violence

Protect the rights and safety of marginalized communities

YWCA Central Alabama’s intersectional mission to eliminate racism and empower women demands that we show up to advocate against the oppression that historically marginalized groups and individuals endure. We recognize the interconnected experiences of discrimination and disadvantage that women face from their overlapping identities.

What we support:

  • Restoration of the full protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • Voting rights restoration efforts
  • Citizen engagement and voter education efforts
  • A full, fair, and transparent redistricting process
  • Removal of racist language from the Alabama State Constitution
  • Legal protections for LGTBQ+ people
  • Ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment