Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 2011 Y's Words

Being involved with ywca clark county’s mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all is something I find incredibly powerful. Only after volunteering with the ywca for several years, and at various levels of involvement, have I begun to understand what a positive impact the ywca really has on our community. As a transgender person, being involved with ywca policies and policy making has a direct influence in my community as well as other minority communities in Southwest Washington. As a result of my participation in ywca seminars, I have grown in areas of social change that previously felt adequate to me.

Working with the ywca is more than just taking an individual stand. The involvement and dedication of the staff and community volunteers is what truly gives the job meaning. It is unique to see individual staff and volunteers so passionate about the goals of the organization they belong to. This has only happened once before in my working career, and I’m proud to be able to work with such an involved and dedicated group of people.

As a result of this drive and enthusiasm, the ywca has opened paths into the community with both the Hate Incidents and Hate Crimes workgroup and the Women’s Economic Justice workgroup. Both workgroups are composed of community members, board members and ywca employees working in a grass roots effort to educate the community at large on social problems and means to eliminate them. The ywca has responded to hate crimes and incidents, assisting victims in obtaining relief and cleanup of graffiti. It was my privilege to join other community members in speaking at last years ywca sponsored rally for inclusion, which was a direct response to a national hate group visiting Vancouver. The ywca also works to educate youth in areas of bullying. We work with WA State government to help create safer schools for youth, enhancing their ability to learn. We’ve taken a positive stance on Domestic Partnership laws, supported inclusive sex education in the community school systems and actively participate in the struggle to retain laws that support women’s right to choose.

Many other citizen groups within the community share these efforts. ywca clark county’s allies include the National Association for Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Planned Parenthood to name a few. Additionally, the staff routinely works with local and state professional organizations to raise awareness of issues affecting Clark County residents. We also participate in various lobby days in Olympia, ensuring our state legislators are aware of the personal side of issues they vote on.

We are always looking for assistance in helping to transform exciting ideas into realities that assist the community. Please contact us at 360 696 0167 or by email at info@ywcaclarkcounty.org if you are interested in participating in ywca’s public policy programs.

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