How Mamis Can Make a Difference

Here I am at the end of the year pondering the importance of the work that MomsRising does. And pondering how this organization has changed me in so many ways. I am inspired daily by my colleagues and the work that we do. I never realized how fulfilling this work could be. Never understood the importance of my voice in advocacy work. As we prepare to say goodbye to 2014, I hope that you would consider making a year-end donation to the cause. Can you give $2.01 or $20.14? How about $201.40? Do you have the pockets to throw in $2,014? I'm playing with 2014 but any amount will help.

Despite all the political polarization in the country, moms are bringing people together to make real wins for families. If you are not familiar with MomsRising, I invite you to scroll below and read about the 26 victories that were made possible by the moms from around the country (one of the pictures might look familiar ;-) ).

I'm sure at least one of them will resonate with you. If it does, I hope you will consider clicking this link to make a donation by December 31st to support our efforts as we have a matching grant for this end of year period.

Mamis like us (and those that love us) CAN and DO make a difference. And we are all the better for it.
**********************************************************************************************************
(post originally published on MomsRising.org. Written by Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner)

26 Inspiring Victories YOU Made Possible in 2014!

Wow.

When I step back from the day-to-day campaigning we do here at MomsRising, and look back at all this movement has accomplished in 2014, I am blown away.

Together we achieved historic wins for families, from fair pay and paid sick days to affordable health coverage and gun safety. These wins mean everything to moms struggling to earn enough, to keep our families healthy, to find affordable childcare, to be there after a new baby arrives or a child is sick, and to protect our children from gun violence and racial injustice.

You’re a force for motherhood and families everywhere! You’re a million members strong making real, positive changes for families, from city halls across the nation to Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
 
I hope you feel proud of these 2014 victories. You made it all happen.
 
From the bottom of our hearts, thank you. 

*Scroll down for more details on (and pictures of!) our wins together…

MomsRising_Retreat

 

4 Wins for Fair Pay for Women & Moms

Thanks to the tireless advocacy of MomsRising supporters like you, we won passage of two Executive Orders that advance fair pay for women and people of color. These orders prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who choose to discuss their compensation, and require contractor pay to be more transparent.

These Executive Orders help the 26 million people in America who work for federal contractors—over 20 percent of the entire U.S. workforce!

In an acknowledgement of MomsRising's work on these issues, we were invited to stand with President Obama as he signed these Orders!

More good news on the fair pay front – the voices of MomsRising also helped win an Executive Order raising the minimum wage for federal contractors. PLUS we helped win a raise in the minimum wage for Maryland, Seattle, and other workers across the nation.

13 Wins for Paid Sick Days

Your MomsRising movement continued to win paid sick day victories in states and cities across the nation in 2014. 

MomsRising volunteers were excited to win new paid sick days legislation in the state of Massachusetts;  Eugene, Oregon; Oakland, California; San Diego, California; the state of California; and the New Jersey cities of Trenton, Montclair, Passaic, Paterson, East Orange and Irvington. We also helped win expansion of paid sick days in New York City and Washington, DC.

HUGE Win for Affordable Health Coverage

When decision-makers need to mobilize, activate and educate moms and families throughout the nation, they turn to MomsRising. Our full-court press, powered by thousands of grassroots volunteers, helped us educate more than 1 million people about access to affordable healthcare coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

Our leaders are listening. Your mom healthcare stories were featured at events with President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, Secretary Sebelius, on the news, and more.

Families are finally getting the affordable health coverage they need and deserve – without lifetime limits, without bans for pre-existing conditions, and without steep fees for preventive care.

A Delicious Win for Healthy School Food

You spoke. The USDA heard. Junk food sold in schools is on the way out.

We’re thrilled to report that, thanks to a surge in comments by MomsRising supporters and partner organizations, the USDA finalized much-improved nutritional standards for snack foods and beverages sold in schools.  Plus now more than 90% of elementary, middle, and high schools are in compliance with the new, higher nutrition standards for school lunches.

BONUS: The new rules ban junk food advertising in schools, too!

5 Wins for Common Sense Gun Safety

Gun safety battles are some of the toughest we face.  Thanks to advocates like you, we successfully pressured lawmakers to not be "cowed by the gun lobby" and pass bills that keep guns away from domestic abusers in 3 states - Wisconsin, Washington, and Minnesota.

And in North Carolina, a massive outcry from MomsRising supporters and partner organizations helped uphold a ban on guns in the North Carolina State Fair.

Last but not least, we helped gain the confirmation of Dr. Vivek Murthy as U.S. Surgeon General after the National Rifle Association opposed his nomination simply because Dr. Murthy stated the obvious, along with many other medical associations, by noting that gun violence is a public health issue.

 The work we do to achieve these victories takes enormous resources, and we can’t continue to win without you. In 2015, we’ll need you more than ever. Please consider a year-end contribution to help MomsRising today. The next great victory for moms and families awaits your investment!

Help us keep the victories going in 2015!

Here again is the link to donate.

Thank you!

Mami Mondays: Be the Change

This time last week I was in a tin can above the clouds headed to the MomsRising retreat. As many of you know, I have been working with the organization this year as a fellow. When I stepped into this, I had no idea what I was doing. And let's just be honest, I don't  know if that has changed much. But, I am here for it! To be the change that Gandhi told me about. Because I want my child to be in a better world. And I want my grandchildren to not know of some of the injustices that we face every day.

I am empowered by being around so many incredibly talented, smart and committed people. Mostly women. And can I just tell you something? I was nervous as to how things would play out in an organization with so many women. I've worked in a mostly-female environment in the past and while we had good rapport, there were always little offshoots of pettiness and passive aggressiveness that did not sit well with me.

MR_Team

The way that all of these women interact, listen, lend support and get along makes me want to create a commune for all of us to move into! I have seen what women working together can create and MAN it's good! I loved finally meeting everyone face to face and really connecting with them. I think it has further bonded us and solidified my resolve to continue working for all the issues that affect moms and families in this country.

If you haven't already, you need to check out MomsRising. And if you will be voting tomorrow, I encourage you to take the voting pledge and check out the cool graphic you can share on social media to remind others to do the same.

The future looks brighter to me because I have skin in the game and have a very clear understanding that my voice counts and matters. And you know what the best thing about it is? Yours does too! I hope you will join the million moms across the country who believe that together their voices can change the world. Don't ever doubt it: we can. And we will.

Mead_Quote

The Accidental Activist

ac·ci·den·tal [ak-si-den-tl]: (a) 1. happening by chance or accident; not planned; unexpected. ac·tiv·ist [ak-tuh-vist]: (n) 1. an especially active, vigorous advocate of a cause, especially a political cause. (a) 2. of or pertaining to activism or activists. 3. advocating or opposing a cause or issue vigorously, especially a political cause.

I never thought the word activist described me. Passionate? Hell yes. Determined? I think so. But an activist?

Those people march and protest. They burn bras (and I can't afford to do that, though my bras are probably totally burn worthy at this point in time). They know facts and figures, can name all the senators and tell you where they sit on the senate floor. That's just not me.

Then I became a Mami. And though I had always taken up issues, things changed. Because I was looking at things through different eyes. All kids were my kids (except for the rowdy ones at restaurants).

The frog princess and I last week at the SHRM conference checking out the lactation room that EveryMother.org put up for HR managers to visualize so they can go back to their organizations and implement. Awesomeness!

I've told you about my issues with breastfeeding. About how I was made to feel when I nursed past the time that society thought I should (she self-weaned at 16 months, by the way). I saw how my friends suffered in silence if they were unable to nurse because no one had given them all of the facts. So I made it my point to talk to anyone that would listen. That's when I first heard someone call me a lactavist.

If you have been pregnant around me, there's a chance that part of your shower gift included compresses, nipple gel pads and the like. I'm not trying to force anything on anyone but I want to ensure that people are informed and feel cared for and like it's okay to ask questions.

Fast forward to now. Not sure if  you know but, I am fellow at MomsRising. After working with them on what went from a short-term project to this fellowship, my eyes were open to so much.

The biggest thing? Confirmation that I really am an activist. Even if I stumbled upon the work accidentally. I have so much to learn. This is such a new and cool experience and I feel extra blessed to be able to take it all in. But it doesn't negate my passion and willingness to take up any cause that I feel is well served with the addition of my voice.

I didn't start talking about my innermost thoughts on politics, women's issues and all that I used to keep to myself until the last presidential election. Then, I blew the lid wide open because I found my voice by hearing other voices around me. It gave me the courage to stand up, to get informed, to learn. I have a desire to leave my child with a better landscape than what we currently have.

It's my responsibility to ensure that we work towards a place where she will be seen as equal. Truly equal. As a black woman, as a Latina, as a person with ovaries. When we look at our children, I think we understand equality a little better. She is no less than you, no less than anyone else's child. And so, I strive to ensure that her social and cultural landscape will reflect that. Equality. For all.

Being an activist to me, means standing up for what's right, lending your voice to a cause. It could be the smallest thing in your community but that ripple can empower the wave. In this day and age, I think we have forgotten about the power of our voice. And the strength of our collective voices.

Yes, I might've started this journey as an accidental activist but with every passing moment, I'm becoming an intentional one. 

in·ten·tion·al [in-ten-shuh-nl] (a): 1. done with intention or on purpose; intended. 2. of or pertaining to intention or purpose.

Check out MomsRising.org, our Facebook page and Twitter handle. Also, be sure to peek in to Mamas Con Poder and that Twitter handle. Because around these parts, we rock our awesome in TWO languages.

What issues do you have a passion for? 

Accidental_Activist_Slider

PS: concerned about the decision SCOTUS just made affecting women? Be sure to lend your voice and sign this petition letting congress know we make our birth control decisions.