We’re inspired by all the people who organized their community for the United Day of Women on December 3rd! Thank you to everyone who shared their photos, ideas, and suggestions – we love seeing individual passion turn into collective action.
Here’s what inspired us:
We kicked off our day of action with a strategy call led by Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards, Co-Founder of Campaign Zero and #BlackLivesMatter activist Brittany Packnett, CEO and Founder of MomsRising Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, President and CEO of Voto Latino María Teresa Kumar, and special guests Valerie Jarrett and Tina Tchen from the White House Council on Women and Girls.
Our Director, Taylor Barnes, kicked off the conversation by reminding us that real and deep cultural change begins in spaces like the ones we all organized in on Saturday, “All movements in this country have been started and fueled around dinner tables, community centers, and college campuses.”
Valerie Jarrett began by highlighting some of the accomplishments of the White House Council on Women and Girls, such as the 57 companies who have signed on to the Equal Pay Pledge, the improvements made for trauma informed school discipline, and the releasing of a report that addresses the issues that women and girls of color face. She then went on to empower us all to create change for women and girls across the country, “Create a network and keep engaging new women and allies to create equity for all women and girls.”
MomsRising’s Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner addressed the importance of communication in order to make real progress, “Doing something can include starting conversations with people who might not agree with you. By talking and trying to understand different perspectives we can bridge divides.” She reminded us that beginning a conversation by calling people racist, xenophobic, or sexist shuts down the conversation before any type of discussion can even begin. Instead, she encouraged us to open dialogue with an experience where you’ve struggled with addressing your own bias, or discussing a time when you realized that your actions had a negative impact.
As the CEO of Voto Latino, María Teresa Kumar spoke to the importance of protecting immigrants and voting rights in this country, and how we can all be active allies, “All of us on here must commit to protecting our immigrant communities and ensuring that they have strong allies and sanctuaries.” More than 16 million Americans living in a mixed-status family and 750,000 immigrant youth currently have work permits and deportation protection because of DACA – and standing in solidarity with them is more important than ever.
Brittany Packnett, Co-Founder of Campaign Zero and #BlackLivesMatter activist, reminded us that anyone can contribute to the movement – we are the activists we have been waiting for. And now is time to stand up: “It is critical that we recognize the wealth of our diversity, the various perspectives, experiences and assets that all different kinds of women bring that make us stronger in every area from politics to business to activism.”
Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America emphasized that “This is our moment,” and our fight is just beginning, “America is at a crossroads. And what we do in the days, months, and years ahead won’t just determine what happens next – it will define who we are.” Over the last century, Planned Parenthood has never given up on us, and now, we can’t give up on the fight for reproductive rights.
Tina Tchen wrapped up the call by highlighting the progress the White House Council on Women and Girls has made towards ending campus sexual assault, reminding us that collective organizing can bring about real change, “We are part of a national movement. All of us support each other.”
But the organizing can’t just stop here! That’s why we’ve created the United State of Women Action Network to help you continue to take action in your community and beyond by connecting you with resources and organizations that are fighting for the causes most important to you. Don’t see your favorite cause or organization? We’re relying on you to help crowdsource this network – check it out and let us know what else should be included!
Check out some photos from events across the country and don’t forget to tweet us pics from your next strategy session at @USWomen2016. → http://bit.ly/UDOWphotos
Be on the lookout for the full transcription of the kickoff call recording later this week!