Supporting Survivors, Building Thriving Futures

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Supporting Survivors, Building Thriving Futures

Over the past year, our nation has been in the midst of multiple, intersecting crises that exacerbate disparities and endanger survivors of gender-based, domestic, and sexual violence. Facing increasing demand for gender-based violence services, we have weathered the ongoing challenges faced during the pandemic and continued supporting survivors as they work to build thriving futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.

As the largest network of domestic and sexual violence service providers in the nation, more than 150 YWCAs across 44 states provide gender-based violence services. In a typical year, YWCAs get up and do the work to provide safe and secure housing, crisis hotlines, counseling, court assistance, financial empowerment, and other community and safety programs to more than 535,000 women, children, and families.

That is why for more than 20 years, we have set aside one week in October as a Week Without Violence – a week to raise awareness and engage action to end the broad spectrum of violence – as part of a global movement to end violence against women and girls. This year, we invite you to join us as we center on the theme, Beyond Resilience: From Surviving to Thriving! Through this year’s theme, we aim to move the conversation about gender-based violence past the focus on survivors’ endurance and instead focus on supporting survivors as they build thriving futures for themselves.

During this year’s campaign, we recognize the limits and honor the significance of resilience in surviving violence but aim to collectively work towards centering healing in future conversations, service, and advocacy work. We hope that you are able to join with us for our Week of Action as we hold events, which include a Capitol Hill day of action and a virtual town hall event Reimagining the Role of Resilience with powerful speakers from Esperanza United, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence, and Ujima, Inc., all with the common goal to create a world free of violence.

This legacy is exemplified by the work of local associations like YWCA Evanston/North Shore who have implemented ground-breaking relationship violence programs on college campuses and YWCA Walla Walla whose support allowed survivors to thrive and eventually become powerful community leaders themselves.

As we work to create a world free of violence, we continue to call on Congress to take bold action to support survivors and meet their housing, economic, and other needs by investing in strategies and legislation like the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA) and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), to help create and support comprehensive responses that advance access to safety, justice, and economic stability for survivors.

We hope that you will join is in the quest to end gender-based and domestic violence and to declare racism a public health crisis. Our collective efforts to create a world where the safety of women, girls, and communities of color is a priority, wouldn’t be possible without the allies, advocates, and changemakers like you! Together, we can build a world where survivors are empowered and supported to move beyond resilience, from surviving to thriving!

For safety and peace,

Elisha Rhodes
Interim CEO and COO, YWCA USA

YWCA USA Welcomes Margaret Mitchell as our next Chief Executive Officer

After an intensive and highly competitive national executive search, we are excited to announce that the YWCA USA Board of Directors has elected Margaret Mitchell as its next CEO, effective January 3, 2022. Margaret currently serves as the President and CEO of YWCA of Greater Cleveland, a position she has held for the past 10 years.

Margaret is known throughout our network as a collaborative, innovative and passionate leader. Her reputation as a tireless advocate for social justice and women’s rights has underscored the important work of the YWCA across the nation and served to raise our profile as a leader for racial justice and gender equity.

Elisha Rhodes will continue as Interim CEO until Margaret officially assumes her position in January, when she will will resume her critical leadership role as Chief Operating Officer. We are forever indebted to Elisha, who has successfully served during this transition as both interim CEO and COO.

We are excited to welcome Margaret in the new year and look forward to this next chapter in serving our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women under her leadership. Learn more by reading the official announcement.


YWCA USA Welcomes Margaret Mitchell as our next Chief Executive Officer
Join YWCA USA for 2021 Week Without Violence

Join YWCA USA for 2021 Week Without Violence

Next week, YWCA USA invites you to join us during our 2021 Week Without Violence as we move Beyond Resilience: From Surviving to Thriving! This campaign is part of the ongoing global movement to end violence against women and girls. As always, our goal is to invite people across the country and around the globe to take a stand against all forms of violence.

Help us reach this goal by:

  • Participating in our Week of Action which includes a social media storm, day of action, virtual town hall, and so much more! Check out the full schedule of activities and RSVP today!
  • Sharing photos using one of our customizable signs, and being sure to tag @YWCAUSA on socials, use #WWV21, and then tag 5 friends and challenge them to do the same!
  • Encouraging your networks to donate so that a YWCA near you can continue to provide services to more than 535,000 survivors and 2.3 million women, children, and families across the country.
  • Engaging with your local legislators and urging your Member of Congress to take action to end gender-based violence and declare racism a public health crisis.

Our collective efforts to help survivors build thriving futures wouldn’t be possible without the allies, advocates, and changemakers like you! So join us, and register today!


Virtual Town Hall Event: Reimagining the Role of Resilience

Join YWCA USA for a dynamic discussion on Reimagining the Role of Resilience for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, happening on October 21 from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. ET. By centering healing – including replenishment, rest, and recovery – and addressing the root causes of trauma and systemic violence, we can disrupt the cycle of harm and open pathways for survivors to build thriving futures for themselves and their families.

This virtual town hall event will include speakers such as:

  • Elisha Rhodes; Interim CEO and COO, YWCA USA
  • Vernisha Crawford; Founder and CEO, B.Y.E./Community Resilience Project
  • Olivia Garcia; Public Policy and Training Manager, Esperanza United
  • Monica Khant; Executive Director, Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence
  • Ayana Wallace; Training Manager, Ujima, Inc.
  • Carole Warshaw, M.D.; Director, National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health

This event wouldn’t be complete without you, so don’t delay and register today!


Virtual Town Hall Event: Reimagining the Role of Resilience

Act Now! Advocate for FVSPA & VAWA Passage to Help Survivors Thrive

After fleeing her abusive husband, Maria took her four small children and ran to a small rural town where she had family. Her husband followed her, but thankfully she was already placed in a safe, undisclosed housing location. After he left, Maria was finally free to begin a new life in safety and peace. With the help of YWCA Walla Walla, she was on the pathway to citizenship, became a community advocate, and ultimately, began to thrive. It’s because of stories like Maria’s, that we must double down on our mobilization efforts telling Congress to take action and support survivors.

In observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, help us take action to empower women and uplift survivors by urging your Member of Congress to:

Become a YWCA Advocate and help us change the future for survivors today!

The Allstate Foundation: Moving Ahead Curriculum for DV Survivors

The Allstate Foundation: Moving Ahead Curriculum for DV Survivors

Financial planning and management is a life-long process, and for domestic violence survivors, the journey to gain control of their financial future is even more difficult. This is why The Allstate Foundation has partnered with us during #WWV21 Week of Action on #FeelGoodFriday to share the stories of of survivors who moved from surviving financial and domestic abuse to thriving with the Moving Ahead curriculum.

This program was designed to provide domestic violence survivors the guidance and tools they need to make important financial decisions and work toward gaining long-term financial security. This curriculum helps survivors who are rebuilding their lives and healing from trauma by going over essential topics like financial abuse, learning financial fundamentals, mastering credit basics, building financial foundations, and long-term planning.

Learn more by checking out Episode #56 of Organize Your Butterflies in which Madeline Gregory, Philanthropy Manger of the Allstate Foundation discusses how their Moving Ahead Curriculum has made significant strides to serve survivors of gender-based violence who need support when it comes to financial empowerment.


YWCA Defends Abortion Rights in Amicus Brief for Supreme Court Case

For more than fifty years, YWCA has supported the reproductive freedom of all people to make fundamental decisions about whether and when to have children. Right now, the state of Mississippi is working diligently to overturn Roe v. Wade and with it, the reproductive freedom of every person in this country. If successful, this generation would be the nation’s first in almost 50 years to come of age without the constitutional right to abortion care.

To stand up for young women and women of color, YWCA USA, Girls Inc., Supermajority Education Fund, and United States of Women signed onto an Amicus Brief for Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization to advocate for abortion rights and ensure the experiences and voices of our communities are heard by the Supreme Court. Read the full amicus brief. YWCA USA also marched in Washington, D.C. and alongside people across the nation at the Rally for Abortion Rights on October 2 to take a stand for the rights of the young women and women of color in the communities we serve.

You can join us in this historic push for women’s equality and reproductive justice by:

  • Tagging @YWCAUSA in your posts on defending abortion, empowering women, and eliminating racism in our health care system and using hashtags such as #ReproductiveJustice, #DefendAbortion, and #MyBodyMyChoice to show your support and help us unify our collective voice!
  • Add your voice to YWCA USA’s call for action, by urging your Member of Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act which protects the right to access abortion services.

During this fight to protect abortion rights, we need allies like you to speak out. Join us!


YWCA Spotlight: YWCA Evanston/North Shore

In September we observed National Campus Safety Awareness Month to encourage conversations about awareness and prevention of violence on colleges campuses across the country. As the nation’s largest provider of domestic violence services, we know that addressing the cycle of gender-based and sexual violence starts with early prevention.

This is why we are proud to spotlight YWCA Evanston/North Shore‘s robust campus safety initiatives which engages youth prior, during, and after college to stop and prevent future violence. Their groundbreaking four-component Relationship Violence Prevention program works to address relationship violence by ensuring youth know what healthy relationships look like, informing college students on how to address and prevent violence, empowering men to take a stand and lead their peers to stop the violence, provide perpetrators a space to be held accountable, and equip abusers with conflict resolution skills so they have alternatives to violence. To learn more about what they are doing to address violence and promote campus safety, check out this blog.

YWCAs will continue providing services such as campus safety, violence prevention, crisis hotlines, and counseling to more than 535,000 survivors across the US despite the challenges from the ongoing pandemic. Learn more about a YWCA near you today.


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