The following e-newsletter is a joint communication from the Maine Women’s Policy Center and our sister organization, the Maine Women’s Lobby.
“People ask me all the time, what kind of stories do you want to tell, Viola? And I say, exhume those bodies, exhume those stories, the stories of the people who dreamed.”
―Viola Davis, first African-American actress to win an Oscar, Tony, and Emmy Award
THIS MONTH IN REVIEW
The snow is melted and it’s full speed ahead! But before we spring forward, let’s review all of February’s highlights.
Andrew Puzder has withdrawn as the nominee to lead the Department of Labor! However, our work is far from over. We’re focused on Supreme Court nominee, Judge Gorsuch. Decisions by the Supreme Court affect women’s daily lives. Whether striking down discrimination, as the court did in Windsor v. the United States and Obergefell v. Hodges; upholding access to health care, as the court did in National Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius and again in King v. Burwell and most recently in Whole Women’s Health Care v. Texas; or making decisions that undermine a woman’s ability to earn a living and support herself and her family, as the court did in the cases of Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber and Dukes v. Wal-Mart, actions of the Supreme Court have a powerful and broad impact on the lives of women. Join us tomorrow for our second edition of our “Rights at Risk” panel (see events below). Read our full remarks from our original event and learn more about how the Supreme Court impacts women and girls.
This past Saturday, with help from our partners at the Alliance for Justice, we had an in-depth conversation with Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) regarding the Judge Gorsuch nomination. In 2015, Mary successfully argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in the caseObergefell v. Hodges, establishing the freedom to marry for same-sex couples nationwide. Weren’t able to attend the event in-person? Not to worry! We recorded the discussion and will post it on our social media sites soon!
Recently, the governor released his proposed two year budget, and more frequent public hearings will begin shortly. We will keep a sharp eye on the process and work to oppose budget cuts and policies that unfairly single outwomen and children. We also continue to oppose cuts and policies meant to target immigrants. The budget process is a long and complicated one, stretching over many months. We’ll continue to update you about it as it unfolds. Read this overview of the governor’s proposal by our colleagues at the Maine Center for Economic Policy.
This past November, Mainers voted on Question 4, a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage by a dollar per year until it reaches $12 in 2020 and sub-tipped minimum wage from $3.75 to $5 in 2017, then a dollar per year until it matches the full minimum wage. This provision would especially benefit women, who make up 72% of the sub-tipped minimum wage workers in Maine. Over 400,000 Mainers voted to pass the ballot measure. Now, the sub-tipped minimum wage portion of the bill may be in jeopardy. A meaningful increase in the minimum wage and sub-tipped minimum wage for workers is an important part of protecting economic security for minimum wage and sub-tipped minimum wage earners. Stay tuned for future action alerts!
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Our Rights at Risk: Why the Courts Matter
March 1 from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM @ Bangor Public Library
Join the Maine Women’s Lobby and Mabel Wadsworth Center for round two of our “Rights at Risk” discussion panel! We will discuss the importance of the Supreme Court, the impact it has on our everyday lives, and the current nominee in question, Judge Gorsuch. Our panel will feature experts in constitutional law, reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights and other issues that impact women, women’s health, and our economic security. Learn more here!
Maine Resistance Summit
March 5 from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM @ Augusta Civic Center
Over 100 organizations from across the state have been invited to share with the broader activist community the work they are currently doing, and explain how people can get involved with their organization. Trainings and workshops will be offered on a variety of topics and skills. Learn more here!
21st Annual Girls’ Day at the State House
March 24 from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Girls’ Day at the State House is just around the corner! Volunteer and sponsorship opportunities are available for this unique educational event for eighth grade girls. Contact Victoria at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Women’s Day at the State House
May 10, more details to be announced soon
Save the date for this opportunity to connect with organizations that work on issues affecting the lives of Maine women and to talk with your legislators about the policies that matter to you. We’ll share more details in future newsletters.
Maine Women’s Summit on Economic Security
October 13, more details to be announced soon
Find more events on our events calendar!
YOUR STORY IS IMPORTANT
One of the most powerful actions you can take is to share your story. That’s why we’re collecting stories for key policy areas this year. Time and again we hear from women who are struggling because they don’t have access to paid leave. Women who are pregnant, have recently given birth, or are adopting a child struggle financially if they take the time they need to care for a new child without a paycheck. Women who are trying to care for an aging spouse or parent face similar financial challenges. The majority of workers don’t have access to paid leave through their workplaces. We’ll be looking to support legislation to address this problem in 2017. Share your story about the need for all workers to be able to access paid family and medical leave.
We’ll also be facing attacks on our reproductive rights, access to health care, people living in poverty, immigrants, and our new minimum wage law. If you would like to share your experiences with any of those issues, we would love to hear from you, too. Please contact Victoria email@example.com or 207.622.0851 x5.
SUPPORT MAINE WOMEN AND GIRLS
We love our work, and we are able to achieve great things with support from Mainers like you! To make a donation to support our mission, visit our donation page. Another way to support our work is to become a Loyal Lobbyist with a monthly gift that sustains our work all year long. Become aLoyal Lobbyist today!
If you prefer to make your gift through the mail, send your check to MaineWomen’s Lobby, 124 Sewall Street, Augusta, ME 04330. If you have any questions, contact Sarah at 207-622-0851 x2.
News travels fast on our social media sites. Be sure to like our Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Stay tuned for March’s Activist Update blog post dropping early next week!
We appreciate you!
Eliza, Kathy, Danna, Victoria and Sarah