Women Working for Women began as a Facebook group in response to the election as a place for women to connect to each other and inform one another. It has since turned into “IRL” groups in cities across the country. I attended the inaugural meeting of the New York City chapter on February 18th.
The event took place in a cool Chinatown loft and featured wine donated by Vinfluence, a company that supports various nonprofits.
“I was drawn to help build Women Working for Women because I believe in the power of women united,” says Sara Kubida, Co-Founder of Women Working For Women and the NYC Chapter leader. “I seek to foster community among women and for all women to feel supported and fought for. I want to help facilitate real, respectful discussion and create channels of action to better our communities, our nation and to protect our rights. I believe this is imperative in our ever tumultuous, fast-paced, information-saturated world.”
For the first meeting, Johanna Miller, Advocacy Director of the NYCLU (the New York affiliate of the ACLU), spoke to the group. She discussed the hot-button issues the ACLU is currently working on, including the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) which extends civil rights to Trans* individuals; defending digital privacy with amendments to the Electronics Communications Privacy Act; and protecting democracy by opening up voting access including absentee ballots and early voting.
Miller also discussed simple ways we could all get involved. She suggests these three ways:
1. Join your state ACLU affiliate as a member. Membership costs $20 a year and that money is truly what sustains our lobbying efforts.
2. Sign up for ACLU e-alerts so you can take quick actions when they are the most impactful. When you get an email that says, “click here to contact the governor,” that is a message that has been carefully timed and calibrated to have the biggest impact. It feels easy but it is so effective!
3. Find out who your elected officials are and tell them what you care about. All politics is local. Your U.S. Senator may represent several million people, but your city council member or your state senator only represents a fraction of that. Figure out what issues are happening in your own backyard, then connect with neighborhood organizations or leaders to tackle them.
“Just coming out to a training or event like the one sponsored by Women Working for Women is an enormous step in the right direction! Sharing information and opinions is the backbone of a functioning democracy,” Miller says. “Learn something new about an issue that fires you up and then tell that story to other people—and voila! You’re an activist.”
Photographs by Liz Clayman
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Rafaella is a graduate of The New School, where she majored in journalism and minored in gender studies. She's passionate about feminism, LGBTQ+ rights, combatting online harassment, and ending herpes stigma. Visit her website: ellagunz.com