Public Health in the US - Stay Informed & Take Action

"Health is the First of All Liberties" - Henri Frederic Amiel


No doubt we are all frustrated by the constant barrage of news alerts and updates threatening to repeal, replace, revoke or rebuke some issue we hold near and dear to us. What may not be immediately apparent is how many of the proposed changes by this administration impact our health. Some are very apparent, like repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and defunding Planned Parenthood, but others may be less so, like climate change denial and slashing funding for education.

The World Health Organization defines health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity," and "the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition." 

Health is created in the conditions in which we are born, live, work, play, worship, and age. When those conditions are non-optimal and disparities exist, our health suffers. 

Ways to Take Action
Please forward!


Last week was National Public Health Week, one component of which was for public health professionals to come together to advocate for healthy and fair policies. So many of the conditions that contribute to our health and well-being are under threat by this administration. Here are some ways to stay up-to-date and take action:

National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO)

American Public Health Association (APHA)
(Partial List)

Tell me something good... 🙏🏽

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has been made the youngest ever UN Messenger of Peace

 

Equal Pay - Unalternative Facts & Ways to Take Action

WHAT IS EQUAL PAY DAY?

Amidst the history-in-the-making Supreme Court seat battle and appointment this week, you might have missed that Tuesday was Equal Pay Day in the United States. Equal Pay Day illustrates how far into the year the women of a given country must work in order to make the same amount as men in the previous year, and it’s meant to bring awareness to the lack of wage equity. 

Got 10 minutes? CALL YOUR REPS

SAMPLE SCRIPT (For both Senators and Representatives)
 
Got 10 bucks? DONATE WHAT YOU CAN

National Organization for Women (NOW): Also a champion of female reproductive rights and freedom from violence or gender discrimination in all areas, NOW considers economic equality and equal rights for women, ideally through an amendment to the Constitution, to be one of its central tenets.
 
American Association of University Women (AAUW): Founded in 1881, AAUW has historically focused on education equality for women, but has also been a strong voice in the fight for the Paycheck Fairness Act. Their current campaign, #StandUptoSexism, draws awareness to how everyday sexism can make women doubt themselves, and encourages them to respond differently to feeling undervalued.  
 
American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU): Everyone’s hero organization since the day after the election and/or the day it was founded in 1920, the ACLU is committed to fighting for the Paycheck Fairness Act.

Unalternative Facts on Equal Pay


FACT: American women must work 44 days into 2017 in order to make as much as men made in 2016.
 
FACT: The gap for working moms on average is $0.70 to the dollar. They have to work an extra 6 months to make what fathers earn in a year.
 
FACT: The pay gap for women of color is even worse. Black women make just $0.63 for every dollar a white man earns, Hispanic/Latina women earn $0.54.
 
FACT: At the current rate of wage equality improvement, American women as a whole will have to wait until 2059 to achieve pay parity, while black women will have to wait until 2124, and Hispanic/Latina women will have to wait until 2248.
 
FACT: The Paycheck Fairness Act was first introduced to Congress in 1997. That means that it has been stymied for 20 whole years, generally by Republican elected officials. The 2010 version of the bill had no Republican co-sponsors, and since then has been filibustered by Republicans on three separate occasions.
 
Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research

WANT SOME MORE INFO?

Check out this Fact Sheet on Five Ways to Win an Argument about the Gender Wage Gap.

Or, for more information on the Paycheck Fairness Act, check out this super-useful Fact Sheet from the National Partnership for Women and Families.

Tell me something good... 🙏🏽

Devin Nunes has recused himself from the Russia probe! Steve Bannon was removed from the National Security Council! Pressure works. Activism works.
Keep it up!

Nunes & Russia - WTF is Going On & Actions to Take

Devin Nunes & The Russia Investigation
 

FACTS BEFORE ACTS

We want to provide you with a review of some key facts about the connections with the Tr*mp campaign and Russia, and decided to start with Devin Nunes scandal because we wanted to link it to our action items. 
 
Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, is supposed to be investigating whether or not the Tr*mp campaign colluded with Russia, but has instead been spending time investigating the claim that Tr*mp transition team was wiretapped—a claim already debunked by the FBI’s James Comey (of Opening-a-new-investigation-of-Clinton-10-days-before-election fame). Democrats and some Republicans have been asking for Nunes’ recusal on both of these issues on the grounds that he is too close to the President to be impartial. Here’s a breakdown of the reasons why, all sourced from the NY Times, the LA Times, and NPR.
 

FACT: Nunes was on the Executive Committee of Trump’s transition team. Not does this signal that he might be too close to be impartial, it also means that the alleged claims about the Trump transition team being wiretapped could literally be about him. 
FACT: Nunes met with someone on the White House grounds the day BEFORE he made public claims about surveillance that appeared to defend the Trump administration. 
FACT: Nunes also made his trip to the White House the day AFTER Comey and the FBI refuted the claim on Fox News, retweeted by Tr*mp, that transition team phones had been wiretapped.
FACT: That same day, Comey also testified that his investigators were looking into the possibility of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
FACT: Nunes did all of this without telling anyone on the Intelligence Committee, which is a breach in protocol.
FACT: Nunes did, however, immediately make a trip to tell Tr*mp about the information he had allegedly seen about the surveillance of the transition team. 
FACT: Nunes was described by the Washington Post as having “swapped cars and slipped away from his staff,” according to congressional officials, in order to view the classified documents.
FACT: Nunes claims that his source was not on the White House staff, but that they merely met on the grounds because it was the only secure enough location.
FACT: Even if you buy Nunes' story, consider that he went to the White House to get the material, didn’t share it with his own Committee, and then went back to the White House to disclose this information to the President. Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee concludes: “You know, it just doesn’t add up.” (NPR)
FACT: Schiff also points out that the NSA and CIA had already been asked to provide any surveillance they had done on US citizens months ago, at the time of the alleged wiretapping. They complied, and at the time Nunes believed that they had complied. If this is the case, what could be the need for a late-night trip to the White House grounds in the name of the security of the information?
FACT: Nunes has indefinitely scrapped all meetings and open hearings of the House Intelligence Committee, including a public hearing planned for Tuesday with Obama’s former director of national intelligence, James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates. According to Democratic member Jim Himes, “The Committee has been put into suspended animation.”
FACT: Nunes has refused to name his source: “You can ask me every single name that exists on the planet, and I’m still not going to tell you who our sources are.” (NY Times) The Tr*mp administration has been extremely upset with anonymous sources leaking information, but are of course championing this one in the name of transparency.
FACT: The day after Nunes announced to reporters that people on the transition team had been the subject of surveillance, his spokesman admitted that Nunes didn’t know “for sure” (LA Times) that any Trump aides had actually been surveilled. All that we know is that their names had appeared in intelligence reports, which could have happened because other people were talking about them.

PUTTING IT TOGETHER

Given that Nunes’ surveillance revelation could very easily mean nothing, it seems like very conveniently timed media exercise meant to distract from the real revelation of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump-Russia alliance. This kind of distraction tactic is, of course, business as usual with Tr*mp—but it’s doubly a problem if the person Tr*mp is using to distract us is the one who is supposed to be investigating his ties to Russia.

Taking Action

Even if you’ve already called your reps asking for an independent investigation, here’s another way to call them about it linking it to the current Nunes scandal. Think of it like being able to kill two birds with one stone specifically because the two birds are stuck together with packing tape.

CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVE
      -Sample Script
CALL YOUR SENATOR
      -Sample Script
CALL THE HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEES ON INTELLIGENCE
      -Sample Script & Contact Information

BEFORE/AFTER YOU CALL

Check out this tracking sheet before you call to see if your Representative/Senator supports an independent investigation. If they’re listed, this will arm you with more information for your call! If they’re not listed, be sure to put the information that you learn in the call into the document. Note: This tracking sheet was found through our friends at Wall-of-us, and it’s not about Nunes specifically.

Community Chapter Highlights

New York City

The NYC Chapter is working with other groups to help pass the Reproductive Health Act in the State of New York. Here is a link to the Manhattan Young Democrats call to action on the RHA. Courtesy of our last speaker, Floriane Borel from the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Join Women Working for Women at the Rally to Save the Arts!! This coming Monday April 3rd, at 12 noon at New York City Hall. If you want to meet up, please email chapter leader Sara at info@womenworking4women.com

The AHCA - Call to Action & Unalternative Facts

There’s even more going on this week than the 2017-brand of “usual,” but while tuning in to the Neil Gorsuch Supreme Court hearings, the “skinny” budget ramifications, and the for-God’s-sake-pay-attention unfolding story about Russia’s connection to the Tr*mp campaign/administration, we’ve reached a critical moment with the repealing of the Affordable Care Act. Congress is voting on the American Health Care Act (AHCA)—which we will not call Tr*mpcare because it’s an oxymoron—on Thursday, and it is crucial that you call your Congressperson and tell them to vote ‘NO’ on the AHCA.
 
ACTION
 
Call Your Congressperson (Not Your Senator), Sample Script:

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [CITY, ZIP]. I'm calling to take a stand against the American Health Care Act. A health care plan that would leave 24 million more people uninsured by 2026 and drive up healthcare costs for poorer Americans is an unacceptable replacement for the ACA. [If the ACA has helped you or someone you know, feel free to add this story here.] Can I count on my Representative to vote against this on Thursday?
IF YES: Please let my Representative know that I support the stand that she/he is making against the AHCA. Thank you for your time!
IF NO: Please pass along my disappointment that the Representative appears not to have the interest of their constituents in mind, and that I would be in favor of them voting ‘NO’ on Thursday. Thank you for your time!

Your call may be more valuable if you do 60 seconds of research to find out where your Representative stands on this issue. For example, there are a number of Republican Congresspeople who are leaning on voting ‘NO’ at this moment, because they don’t think the ACHA goes far enough—but it’s extra important that you call them to tell them you support their ‘NO’ vote, and it may be more beneficial if you don’t go into why! They will need as much strength as they can get to avoid the Tr*mp “charm” offensive. This leads us to our next important action point…
Target the ‘NO’-Leaning Republican Congresspeople

THIS INCREDIBLE TOOLKIT, which we found through To-Do Tuesday, was made to help coordinate the efforts of the constituents in these districts. Check to see if your Congressperson is on the list, and know that the first and most important thing you can do is call them and support their ‘NO’ vote. Then tell all of your nearby friends and neighbors to call. If you don’t live in these districts, consider offering this toolkit to those who may be constituents, and you can also use the suggested Tweets and Facebook messages to add your support to the important constituent calls and rallies. 

Healthcare is important to everyone. It shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Reach out to people of any political persuasion to see if they might be convinced to support this issue.

UNALTERNATIVE FACTS

THE VOTE

FACT: Speaker Paul Ryan can only lose about 20-22 Republican votes and still win passage of this bill. Currently, an estimated 26 Republican Congresspeople have signaled opposition. SOURCE: Reuters 

This is a slim margin, and Tr*mp and Ryan are doing everything they can to corral the opposing Republicans to their side. Supporting any Congressperson who is planning to vote ‘NO’ couldn’t be more important!

WHAT WOULD THE AHCA DO?

Clearing up what the AHCA does would require a 455 page document, because that’s exactly the length of the memo from the Democratic staff of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. But here are a few general findings about the impact of the potential ACA repeal on each of the 435 congressional districts and the District of Columbia. Source.

FACT: “Repealing the ACA and reversing the Medicaid expansion would harm lower and middle class Americans in every congressional district.” The tax-credit approach will place a disproportionate burden on lower-income Americans, while giving the wealthy a tax break.

FACT: “Repeal of the ACA’s market reforms and Republican proposals to tax employer-based coverage would harm Americans in every congressional district who receive health insurance through their employer.” (Not just people on the ACA!)

FACT: “On average, 396,200 individuals with employer-sponsored insurance in each congressional district are at risk of losing important consumer protections if the ACA is repealed, and could be subject to a new tax on employer-sponsored insurance that would amount to the largest middle-class tax hike in the last 50 years."

FACT: “On average, 360,200 individuals in each congressional district stand to lose access to free preventive care if the ACA is repealed.”

THE ACHA & WOMEN

Much has also been written about how the AHCA will be particularly detrimental for women. This great article from Think Progress outlines a number of those. 

FACT: The AHCA has a provision to defund Planned Parenthood. The Hyde Amendment already prevents Planned Parenthood from using any of its federal funding for abortions, so this provision actually affects the preventative care, cancer screenings and STD testing that PP makes available to low-income women.

FACT: The AHCA would prohibits people for using their tax credits towards any plan that covers abortion services, making abortion far more expensive and separating it from any other medical issue.

FACT: The AHCA will cut off Obama’s Medicaid Expansion in 2020, and further cap Medicaid spending which will mean even fewer people will be covered. 69 percent of adult Medicaid enrollees are women, so this disproportionally affects women.

FACT: Because women are also a larger percentage of the senior population, more women will also be affected by the increases in premium cost for seniors. Health care companies will be allowed to charge elderly patients as much as five times as much as their younger counterparts.

Tell me something good... 🙏🏽

John Oliver is a (non-native born) National Treasure. On “Last Week Tonight,” He shares a lot of great facts on the AHCA that we weren’t able to fit into this tome of an email. The facts may not be GOOD, but he will coat them in a lot of funny for you. 
WATCH HERE!

The Equal Rights Amendment

WHAT IS THE ERA?


If you have seen any documentary on the history of the Feminist movement, you likely know that the Equal Rights Amendment was a “thing” in the ‘70s that women involved in NOW (the National Organization of Women) were working on getting ratified. It was written by Alice Paul and Crystal Eastman, and first introduced to Congress in 1923. 

The ERA was a proposed amendment to the US constitution that would guarantee equal rights for women. Unlike any other proposed amendment, congress set a deadline for ratification, forcing supporters to garner the ratification of 38 states by March 22, 1979. Even with an extension to June 1982, only 35 states supported the proposal, so to this day, women's rights remain unrepresented in the US constitution.

You might be surprised to learn that the ERA is literally one sentence in length. While the rights it affords women may encompass everything from federally protected rights to equal pay and freedom to make our own decisions about our bodies. The language is simple and elegant:

“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

That’s it.

Women Working for Women LA co-hosted a meet-up in March with The Feminist Majority, the foundation that publishes Ms. Magazine and is currently spearheading the new wave of ERA supporters. 

Unalternative Facts on the ERA


FACT: After the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, suffragist leader Alice Paulintroduced the ERA in 1923 as the next step in bringing "equal justice under law" to all citizens.

FACT: In 1972, the ERA was finally passed by Congress and sent to the states for ratification.

FACT: The ERA has been introduced into every Congress since the deadline, and beginning in 1994, ERA advocates have been pursuing two different routes to ratification:
     
     1.) The traditional process described in Article V of the Constitution (passage by a two-thirds majority in both the Senate and the House of Representative, followed by ratification by three quarters of the states)

     2.) The innovative "three-state strategy" (ratification in three more of the 15 state legislatures that did not ratify the ERA in 1972-82, based on legal analysis that when three more states vote yes, this process could withstand legal challenge and accomplish ratification of the ERA).

All Facts sourced from The Equal Rights Amendment Org.

Community Chapter Highlights

-This past week our D.C. chapter launched with their first event! 

-Our LA chapter had it's second event co-hosted by the Feminist Majority Foundation!

-Maui will be launching their chapter in April with guest speaker Maui Councilwoman Elle Cochran! Details to follow!

-New York has it's second event this coming Saturday with guest speaker Floriane from the Center for Reproductive Rights!

----------

Tell me something good... 🙏🏽

Humor will save us. Check out The Make it Fair Project's hilarious video on gender equality!

https://www.facebook.com/makeitfairproject/videos/1579135212336730/

The #MakeitFair Project is a call for gender equality in the stories we tell, the wages we earn, and the future we shape. 

Sign up for our Newsletter here!

 

The Travel Ban - Unalternative Facts & Actions to Take

Muslim Ban 2.0 // Taking Action

This week, the Tr*mp administration has signed a new executive order revising the earlier Muslim Ban that was struck down by the courts—but don’t be fooled, it’s still a Muslim Ban, and it’s still unconstitutional. As we all know, unless something was planned as a trilogy, the sequel is rarely better. If you felt outraged by the first one, don’t let the fact that this has happened before, or that it’s on a more attenuated timeline, make it any more “normal” and any less horrifying. Here are some actions to take. Pick any that work for you!

CALLING YOUR REPS ABOUT THE MUSLIM BAN

Click here for a Sample Scripts for Senators/Congresspeople who have spoken out against the order, those who have not issued a statement, and those who have issued a statement in support of all or part of the new Executive Order. 

SIGN UP FOR REGISTER ME FIRST

On Monday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) launched a website called “Register Me First,” which aims to challenge all of the Islamophobic policies coming out of the Tr*mp administration, including the Muslim Ban and the proposed Muslim registry. If you sign up, you will be updated on any ways to express solidarity with American Muslims, oppose the Tr*mp administration’s restriction of civil liberties, and become a part of the broader movement.

DONATE

Donations to CAIRACLU and the International Rescue Committee are a great place to start! Unless you’re already a monthly donor, know that making a donation to any of these organizations—even $5 or $10--in the wake of an event like this is a way of making your voice heard and showing your support.

Unalternative Facts on the Muslim Ban


FACT: This travel ban applies to six countries: Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya. Iraq was included in the previous ban, but is omitted from this one. Source: NYTimes
FACT: Provisions for religious minorities (ie. non-Muslims) from those countries, which was part of the original bill, have been scrapped. Source: NYTimes
FACT: This ban does not affect visa holders or green card holders. Source: NYTimes
FACT: The policy will be rolled out over a ten day period from Monday, unlike the first ban which was to take immediate effect. Source: NYTimes
FACT: There is a four month hold on refugees from anywhere in the world. This means that refugees who have already undergone months or years of vetting and are in the very late stages of their processing are stranded with serious medical conditions requiring care, or in very dangerous conditions. Source: NYTimes, The Daily (Podcast)
FACT: This order, like the previous order, has a lower cap on the number of refugees that can be admitted to the country this year. Instead of 110,000 refugees admitted during the fiscal year that ends September 30th, this order will only allow 50,000, and we’ve already taken in more than 37,000. SOURCE: NPR

Does it make us safer?

FACT: The majority of terrorist attacks committed on US soil since 9/11 are by native-born citizens who have become radicalized, not by refugees. And none of them were carried out by a citizen from any of the countries that are on this revised travel ban. Source: NPR
FACT: Iraq was removed from this executive order at the request of Secretary of Defense James Mattis and State Department officials. They had been in contact with Iraqi security officials, who were worried that the ban would turn public sentiment against the US and endanger the efforts to defeat the Islamic state. Source: NYTimes

For a few opinions on whether or not this ban makes us safer see links below. 

-Michael Hayden, former director of NSA and the CIA under President George W. Bush. Global News & Washington Post
-William Owens, the father of William “Ryan” Owens, the Navy Seal who was killed in the operation in Yemen in January. Miami Herald
-Neal Katyal, former acting US solicitor general under President Barack Obama. The Rachel Maddow Show 

For summaries on these opinions click here.

Please subscribe to our newsletter here! And if there are any topics you'd be interested in hearing more about, please contact us, we'd love to hear from you!

-The Women of WW4W

Join the Resistance! - Laying the Groundwork

Take Action: Laying the Groundwork

If you’re part of our network, you may already know a lot of these things! We wanted to start our first blog post with ideas for laying the activist groundwork for yourself to most effectively channel your energy toward tangible steps of action and activism.


KEEPING YOURSELF INFORMED

These are recommendations for dealing with the constant barrage of information and action in ways that are sane and sustainable. Find the methods that work best for you, and remember that part of being a force for good in your community includes caring for yourself and knowing when you need to unplug.

  • Want it sent to your email? We recommend The Daily Skimm Receive a concise daily briefing with a good dose of humor. Started by two badass women of action.                                
  • Want a news update on your phone? We recommend the NPR One App. You can listen to 5 minutes of your national and local news cast (even while doing something else) anytime. No spin, click baity headlines or big league, HUGE, tremendous spray tans. 
  • Want to listen to a great podcast? Of course you do. We recommend Pod Save America a self-described “No-bullshit conversation about politics.” A political podcast for people not yet ready to give up or go insane hosted by some former Obama administration employees. Another great one is the Rachel Maddow Show Podcast.
  • Want to save time knowing what your reps are up to? For smart phone users, you can get notifications through twitter every time your representatives tweet, saving you time and keeping you up to date on their actions and stances.

CONTACTING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES

  • Find their information here, or text your zip code to (520) 200-2223 and it will send you your representatives’ contact information.
  • Add their contact information to your cell phone. We recommend doing this to make it easier to call them any time an issue grabs your attention.
  • For senators who are dealing with a higher call volume you may want to also save their district and local phone numbers in case you meet with busy signals or full voicemail boxes.                                                                                                                                                 
  • Follow your reps on twitter, to keep up to date on what issues they’re focusing on. If you want your voice to be heard, Twitter is most effectively used for keeping your local and city representatives. Your voice, approval & disapproval is counted!

PUTTING YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS

  • For even just 10 dollars a month, you can set up a recurring monthly donation and know that your money is going towards causes you are passionate about.
  • For many organizations becoming a member means they can allocate your funds differently and in ways that are most useful for them. For example, a minimum yearly contribution of only $35 can make you a proud freedom-fighting, card-carrying member of the ACLU.

PROTESTS, MARCHES & TOWN HALL MEETINGS

With so much going on that there will always be protests you will miss, but if you're free, showing up to a protest is a very meaningful action. You can also plan in advance to make it to a march that speaks to your passion. Please see our site wide and local chapter calendars for more detailed information and check your rep's website to know their schedule. If there are specific actions and causes you'd like to see more events on please contact us and we will do our best to add them to our calendar.

These are suggested ways to take action, figure out which ones will work best for you and what you feel you have to offer. If you have any suggestions you'd care to share, please contact us, we'd love to hear from you!

Most Sincerely,
The Women of WW4W