For Immediate Release: April 23, 2020
Contact: Courtney Holsworth, email@example.com, (989) 572-8162
Janelle Monae gave opening remarks, national leaders discussed voting rights, census participation and racial justice amid COVID-19 pandemic
Washington, D.C. —Today, YWCA USA convened national leaders for a virtual town hall to discuss why voting rights, census participation, and civic engagement are, and have always been, essential to racial justice. The singer, songwriter and actor, Janelle Monae, gave opening remarks at the town hall, which is part of YWCA USA’s annual Stand Against Racism campaign to educate, advocate, and promote racial justice.
YWCA USA was joined at their town hall by Supermajority, When We All Vote, the United State of Women, the National Domestic Workers Alliance, the League of Women Voters, The National Education Association, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Black Women’s Roundtable, and the Voto Latino Foundation. These national leaders in the movement for racial justice and gender equity discussed the impact of systemic and structural racism on communities of color, and shared strategies and tactics for effective civic engagement amidst social distancing.
“We are honored to have Janelle Monae and several incredible organizations participate in today’s town hall on voting rights, census participation and racial justice, “ said Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO, YWCA USA. “Our collective efforts to secure full access at the ballot box, to ensure a fair and complete Census count, and to stand against racism are more important than ever. With a national election, the decennial Census, and the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, 2020 is a momentous year for civic engagement and action, and the stakes could not be any higher.”
“When We All Vote is on a mission to increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, said Valerie Jarrett, Co-Chair, United State of Women, Board Chair, When We All Vote. “We are proud to partner with the YWCA USA, who has been on the forefront of vital social movements such as voting and civil rights for decades. We are thrilled to collaborate with the YWCA USA on the Stand Against Racism National Tele-Town Hall to train and promote effective safe civic engagement especially as we continue to face the impact COVID-19 is having on our country. We know that our democracy is stronger when we all vote and we must ensure that our elections are fair, safe and accessible for all Americans.”
“Thank you to the YWCA for convening such an incredible panel of women for their Stand Against Racism campaign,” said Cecile Richards, Co-Founder, Supermajority. “Discussing the issues and injustices that people of color face every day is not something we can put on the backburner. During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever that we discuss how the lack of access to quality healthcare, affordable child care, and equal pay affects women, particularly women of color, many of whom are on the frontlines. Women and marginalized communities had to fight for the right to vote, and that work must continue today. Along with partners like the YWCA, Supermajority is committed to protecting our elections and voting rights, as we run the largest woman-to-woman voter engagement program this year and ensure that women have the tools and resources they need to vote—and vote safely—come November.”
“Domestic workers, like so many women of color working in our low-wage economy, lacked any security or safety net to protect them from the impact of this crisis,” said Ai-jen Poo, Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance. “The COVID-19 crisis has compounded every dimension of inequality and injustice they face, exponentially. We must prioritize those with the least in our solutions, and we must come together in ways we never have, to ensure we care for all who need it. The cost of this crisis is too great, not to lead to long term change for workers, especially workers of color and women in our economy.”
“The census and our elections are inherently about justice and both determine the shape and course of our democracy,” said Vanita Gupta, President & CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “That is why we, along with partners from around the country, are working so hard to ensure everyone participates in the census and that every voter can cast a ballot and make sure it is counted. Racism and systemic inequality have been woven into laws and policies across America, creating barriers that have prevented people from voting or getting counted in the census. Full participation in the census and our elections will help ensure that those who have been denied the political power and community resources they deserve can claim both. But we all must do our part and act.”
“As COVID-19 shows the terrible toll that systemic and structural racism takes on communities of color, the fight for racial justice will require deeper engagement,” said Virginia Kase, CEO, League of Women Voters. “Those already in the fight and new allies must step into this moment and stand up for what is right. Most importantly, we must listen to those most deeply affected and support their leadership. We must be their human bullhorns. The League of Women Voters is working with people in communities across the country to ensure their vote is protected and that every person’s voice is heard at the ballot box this election season. I’m proud to stand in solidarity with the YWCA and the powerful women leading the charge in the fight against racism.”
“Alejandra has assembled a group of leaders who are at the frontlines who are actively seeking solutions in the midst of crisis,” said Maria Teresa Kumar, CEO, Voto Latino Foundation. “It’s not surprising that we just happen to be women! Coming together with one voice today, gives us the opportunity to address the needs of women, communities of color –and the work that is left to be done. I’m looking forward to the collaborations this conversation has sparked.”
“The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Black Women’s Roundtable are pleased to have participated in the YWCA USA’s Tele-Town Hall today, along with other civil rights, women’s rights and social justice women leaders—to share strategies to fight against systemic racism, sexism and discrimination in all its forms, as well as to advocate for voting rights; engage and mobilize communities of color to own their power by being counted in the 2020 Decennial Census and vote in the 2020 Election,” said Melanie Campbell, President & CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation and Black Women’s Roundtable. “Our collective work is critically important now more than ever as our country faces the unprecedented challenges of the coronavirus pandemic that is illuminating the economic and health disparities that have plagued Black people and other underserved communities across the nation for far too long. We are encouraged by the shared efforts of the YWCA, and the other organizations represented in today’s tele-town hall, to advance civic engagement, racial and gender justice and equality for all.”
“The 3 million NEA members (educators and support professionals) are asking to not allow anyone to divide and distract us from what we know really matters,” said Becky Pringle, Vice President, National Education Association. “What matters is that we work to make our communities diverse and healthy and full of opportunity. What matters is that we treat the most vulnerable among us with the same dignity, respect, and support as any other among us. What matters is justice – in our schools, our communities, in our country.”
For interviews, please contact Courtney Holsworth at firstname.lastname@example.org or (989) 572-8162.
About YWCA USA
YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. We are one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the nation, serving over 2 million women, girls, and their families.
YWCA has been at the forefront of the most pressing social movements for over 160 years — from voting rights to civil rights, from affordable housing to pay equity, from violence prevention to health care reform. Today, we combine programming and advocacy in order to generate institutional change in three key areas: racial justice and civil rights, empowerment and economic advancement of women and girls, and health and safety of women and girls. Learn more at www.ywca.org