YW Boston Advocacy Committee welcomes 11 new members committed to equity
On February 12, 2020, YW Boston held Orientation for the eleven incoming volunteer members to its Advocacy Committee. Going into the fourth year, the Advocacy Committee is excited to welcome this incoming group who will bring exceptional knowledge and enthusiasm to the organization. During Orientation, new and returning members met for the first time. Christine Batista, YW Boston’s Public Policy and Advocacy Manager, provided an overview of YW Boston’s work, background information on the policy areas the organization supports, and a preview of the committee’s work for the year.
The YW Boston Advocacy Committee is currently comprised of fifteen volunteers, two members of the YW Boston Board of Directors, and five YW Boston staff members. Members sign on to serve a two-year term during which they will participate in monthly advocacy meetings, engage in out-of-meeting advocacy actions, and work towards greater equity in Boston. For instance, committee members have advocated at the Massachusetts State House in support of Paid Family Leave, represented YW Boston on committees such as Citizens for Juvenile Justice, and participated in phone banks for Yes on 3.
To prepare new members for their ongoing work, Christine Batista introduced the committee to our three main advocacy focus areas. These include:
- Dismantling the School to Prison Pipeline: Since 2017, YW Boston has supported legislation to end the school to prison pipeline. Massachusetts is the fourth worst state in the United States in terms of racial inequality and juvenile incarceration, which disproportionally affects youth of color. Currently, the committee is most involved in advocating for An Act improving juvenile justice data collection (1386/H.2141) which will ensure that more clear and consistent data is collected on juvenile justice, as there is currently no oversight on analyzing the effectiveness of the system. Passing this legislation is a step to ensure all reforms are based on sound data. YW Boston supports this bill in conjunction with the Citizens for Juvenile Justice Coalition.
- Access to Affordable Childcare: The Advocacy Committee has focused on improving access to childcare since 2019. We are a major supporter of An Act Supporting Working Parents who Choose to Run for Public Office (386/H.2898) which will allow candidates for Massachusetts state office to use campaign funds to cover childcare costs. Massachusetts is one of the few states that disallows this allocation, which makes it nearly impossible for working parents (and particularly women of color) to run for office. YW Boston supports this bill in conjunction with the Campaign Funds for Childcare Coalition.
- Parity on Massachusetts Boards and Commissions: YW Boston is currently leading the Parity on Board Coalition which seeks to achieve diversity on Massachusetts public boards and commissions. In Massachusetts, women and people of color account for 52% and 28% respectively, of the state’s population yet are significantly underrepresented in leadership positions. An Act to Ensure Gender Parity and Racial and Ethnic Diversity on Public Boards and Commissions (4153) would promote diversity in leadership and governance that broadly reflects the demographics of our Commonwealth.
We are thrilled to welcome our new members (and welcome back those who are returning) to the committee. Keep up to date with our committee’s actions and successes by following YW Boston’s newsletter, blog, and social media @ywboston.
About YW Boston
As the first YWCA in the nation, YW Boston has been at the forefront of advancing equity for over 150 years. Through our DE&I services—InclusionBoston and LeadBoston—as well as our advocacy work and F.Y.R.E. Initiative, we help individuals and organizations change policies, practices, attitudes, and behaviors with a goal of creating more inclusive environments where women, people of color, and especially women of color can succeed.
YW Boston Advocacy Committee
The Advocacy Committee supports YW Boston’s mission to eliminate racism and empower women by engaging elected officials, organizations and the public through legislative advocacy, coalition building, education, and action. The committee develops and implements the organization’s two-year advocacy agenda in order to rectify structural barriers to equity and opportunity for women, girls, and people of color.