Tuesday, July 3, 2012

YWCA's Join Forces and Become Fearless Together

“Strong alone, fearless together” is a phrase that you will often hear from Executive Director, Sherri Bennett. She, like many executives and staff throughout the region recognized a need for regional YWCAs to come together and become fearless with our work in public policy.

Over the past several months, the Public Policy Committee has begun collaborating with YWCAs throughout the state of Washington. This collaborative is called Firesteel – an online endeavor to join the voices of YWCAs across the state in our policy efforts. Together with YWCAs across the country, we are dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

The Washington State partnership team consists of liaisons from eight YWCAs in different areas throughout the state – Clark County, Wenatchee, Walla Walla, Yakima, Kitsap County, Pierce County, Bellingham, and Seattle-King-Snohomish.

On the Firesteel website each organization maintains an association page that focuses on local activity. You can see our page highlighting our ILS Program here.

This year, the overarching goal of statewide policy efforts is focused on housing and homelessness. The YWCAs of Washington State not only provide direct service to those vulnerable or experiencing homelessness, but proactively engage in policy advocacy through Firesteel to address the policies that can either limit or improve our services and resources for those that are vulnerable to homelessness. Similarly, we maintain programming, like the Family Unification Program highlighted on our association page, which works to prevent homelessness locally.

In our work with Firesteel, we aim to connect the policy dots. We will share the complexity and humanity behind institutional barriers and show the impact of these institutional barriers on our community.

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