Anti-Racism 101

23 Empower Women


“Women-led strategies are key to ending hunger and poverty….The vast majority of the world’s poor are women….Studies show that when women are supported and empowered, all of society benefits….In short, communities become more resilient.”

–The Hunger Project, echoed by other successful organizations like Dining for Women, etc.

“Most of my comments relate to the horrific abuses of the very dear families I care for as a nurse-home visitor. We live in a country that accepts poverty as the status quo, and comments on policies and programs to support low-income families place so much blame on vulnerable women for needing assistance. I am a single mom. When E was small I used food stamps and medical assistance. I qualified for WIC and childcare assistance but felt guilty, like I was somehow abusing the system because other people needed it more than me. Funny, I needed welfare but didn’t want to use it.

No one wants to be on welfare, it’s really hard to navigate that system and so many pitfalls are built into it. For example if you get cash assistance you are mandated to take a job offered to you, even if its minimum wage, part-time with no benefits and requires you to be available at all times, preventing you from being able to get another job or attend the welfare meetings required to continue getting the benefits that allow you to keep the job. The lottery of life has provided me so much. Family, a community, white privilege, excellent education, the belief that the world is a fair place and I deserve basic rights and comforts. The more awareness I gain about the inequity and bias in our society the harder I want to fight for change. I feel so lucky to have a career that I love that affords me an education in the challenges of poverty and white supremacy. I’m still learning every day just how deep my superiority complex is.

What I struggle with deeply is the people I know who defend the current administration, who seem to think they are experts on why struggling families are the problem and not a casualty of the capitalist war for profit waged against them daily. I know the laws, I know the policies and I nurse the casualties every single day. I am sad, and I am angry and I am tired of watching human beings be chewed up and spit out by a system that relies on their being abused and then blames them for existing.

Can you imagine living on minimum wage? Can you imagine living on $316 dollars per month? Can you imagine graduating high school reading at a third grade level thinking you’re prepared for college? Can you imagine losing all your income because you are having a baby and becoming homeless? Can you imagine being homeless with a baby? These are things I see every day. These are the things people I know tell me are the result of laziness, criminality, or poor life decisions. These are the things I know are due to government policies that line the pockets of the rich. If you are interested in learning about the actual policies that screw the middle class, let’s talk. If you want to defend bigots and blame vulnerable people we’re done. Change is possible, but only if we fight for it. Changing minds is possible but only if we truly try to learn and support each other.

Please call out your friends and neighbors. Have tough conversations. Try to understand and help others understand and for the love of all humanity STOP defending racism and bigotry, even if someone you know to be a good person said it!” –Erin Blair

“Fifteen Real Ways to Thank Black Women for Carrying the Country on Their Backs:”

#4–Help fund and build a political pipeline filled with black women.

There are three black people currently serving in the U.S. Senate, including Kamala Harris, the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants. We can and must do better, not just at the highest offices, but on city councils, school boards, and municipal positions. Groups like Higher Heights and the National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women work to promote the presence of black women in all levels of government.” –Erin Canty

The number of businesses owned by African American women grew 322% since 1997, making black females the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.”

–Amy Heimerl

“By 2020, caregiving will be the biggest occupation in the U.S., yet the women doing this work are among the most exploited with the fewest labor protections in the country. By taking care of children, the elderly, disabled people and homes, domestic workers enable so many others to work outside the home. Despite its importance to society, women who do this feminized, caregiving work are often undervalued and unseen.

Domestic workers–the vast majority of whom are women–are engaged in unregulated, unprotected workplaces that are systemically excluded from protections such as paid sick time, overtime, and retirement benefits. Domestic workers in Philadelphia report that working in individual homes, and having nowhere to turn when exploitation occurs, is highly isolating. Low wage women of color and immigrant women are particularly susceptible to wage theft, sexual harassment and assault, and dangerous working conditions. These challenges are compounded by lack of labor protections, racism, gender, immigration status, language barriers, and poverty. In addition, undocumented workers often fear that reporting an abusive employer could result in deportation.

These women report having nowhere to turn to address workplace exploitation and abuses or come together with other women to fight for better policies.

Angela, an immigrant mother from Honduras, says: ‘It’s important to have more security in our jobs. When we’re falsely blamed for something at work, we need a way to fight back. One of my clients accused me of stealing a $30,000 ring. She called the police and took me to court. I was undocumented and could have been deported. In the end, the ring was in her bag the whole time.

Business owners who contract house cleaners take advantage of us. They’ve stolen money and made me work so much that I wasn’t given time to eat or go to the bathroom.’

The 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA), the federal labor policy that establishes minimum wage, overtime, and child labor standards, explicitly excludes most domestic workers because of the systemic devaluing of Black women’s labor who were the primary domestic workers at the time. In 2015, the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) celebrated a landmark ruling expanding the FLSA right to overtime to include home care workers. Yet to this day, domestic workers do not have the legal rights to collectively bargain for workplace protections and better pay, have limited ability to form a union, and have limited legal recourse when exploitation occurs.”

–Pennsylvania Domestic Workers Alliance

“Many of the women I work with receive their work schedules with less than a week’s notice—and some of them get just one day’s notice before they need to be at work. Their weekly schedules fluctuate—they might be assigned to 30 hours one week, and just 15 the next. For many women, in practice, this amounts to a permanent state of unpaid on-call duty, where their one low-wage, part-time job rules their lives. When women have so little control over their lives at work, it makes it extremely hard to find reliable childcare. Neither family members or day care facilities are able to consistently provide child care to meet these erratic schedules.” –Public health nurse at a Philadelphia city council hearing

“Women caregivers face separation from their children when they are subject to or try to escape domestic violence. While statistics in Philadelphia relating to child removal because of domestic violence are hard to come by, we know that domestic violence as a factor in child removal is widely prevalent across the US. A 2002 New York City class-action lawsuit, in which one expert called such practices ‘tantamount to pouring salt into an open wound,’ resulted in a consent decree making it unlawful to remove a child because the mother was a victim of domestic violence. In Arizona a report found that 25% of all removals for neglect were from victims of domestic violence. In Utah the single biggest category of “substantiated” child maltreatment is witnessing domestic violence. In England studies showed domestic abuse featuring in 70-90% of cases going to family court and in 70% of child welfare cases. Given that Philadelphia removes children from their homes at the highest rate in the country for any city its size, and from our own casework, we have no doubt that domestic violence is a large factor here.

Women are faulted for ‘exposing their children to domestic violence,’ or for ‘failing to protect them from witnessing domestic violence,’ the blame being placed on the woman rather than on the abuser. Women know this, and are wary of reporting abuse, suggesting that even when statistics are collected, much goes unreported. Sometimes mothers fighting to stop court-ordered visits from abusive fathers are punished by having the children removed. All too often, custody is awarded to a manipulative abuser who may appear calm and reasonable while the mother may be upset and ‘emotional.’

Additionally when women leave domestic partners they often face insurmountable economic hurdles obtaining housing and money to survive, increasing their likelihood of losing their children because of the poverty they have been forced into. Yet instead of using resources to help families, they are used to remove children – it costs $38,000 a year to keep a child in foster care when $15,000 could cover rent for the woman escaping violence and her children. In the current climate of executive orders shredding an already inadequate safety net, this is a serious concern.” –Phoebe Jones

The fearless woman who secretly fed and funded the Civil Rights movement:

Likely increased risk to sex workers and trafficked victims resulting from FOSTA/SESTA