Wins - November 2013
By working across multiple policy areas at the same time, within a core framework of economic justice for women, mothers, and families, MomsRising has made major advances:
The membership of MomsRising, which is currently a million strong, is continuing to grow. A commissioned analysis revealed that the racial and ethnic composition of our membership reflects that of the U.S. Census.
MomsRising is making important policy gains for women in our nation. (Scroll down this page to see details.)
The readership of our blog and social media outlets now have a combined estimated reach of over 3 million readers, and the readership is continuing to rapidly expand. We now have over 1,200 MomsRising bloggers, and Forbes has named MomsRising a top website for women for the past four years.
MomsRising now has a commercial radio program, Breaking Through with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner (Powered by MomsRising), which is broadcast in the Washington D.C. area, as well as in Oklahoma and Michigan, and is available via podcast on iTunes.
In the past 18 months alone, working with our over 200 aligned organizations to maximize the impact of the movement as a whole, the multicultural grassroots members of MomsRising have played a key role in an impressive array of economic justice policy wins and voter engagement efforts at the state and federal levels, including the below (Scroll down this page to find out more!):
State and Local Victories
New York City, NY
MomsRising just helped win paid sick days for all who work in New York City, giving an additional estimated 1 million people access to sick days (We were delighted that MomsRising was one of five organizations that the lead sponsor thanked in the floor speech just prior to the vote). We are continuing our work in New York City by currently pushing for minimum wage increases.
MomsRising recently helped repeal the death penalty, and won protections for pregnant workers. We are currently pushing for paid sick days in Maryland.
This state recently became the third state to pass paid family leave.
MomsRising just helped pass paid sick days in Portland. We are ramping up to win paid sick days statewide.
Jersey City, NJ
The City Council recently voted 7-1 to pass earned paid sick days. Our campaign for earned sick days is headed to Newark next.
MomsRising helped get paid sick days passed through the Philadelphia City Council for the second time.
MomsRising has a successful and very active test chapter, and has many active members working on the state budget, early learning, toxics, and more.
MomsRising helped pass sick days in Seattle, helped pass several early learning and child care bills, and is actively working on state paid leave and sick days policies.
Additional Paid Sick Days Cities and States
MomsRising is also currently actively engaged in efforts to advance earned sick days in Maryland and Washington, D.C. (with Vermont and Oregon likely coming soon).
MomsRising is also hard at work advancing healthcare for children in the KidsWell states, including the following target areas: New Mexico, California, Texas, Mississippi, New York, Maryland, and Florida.
Paid Sick Days
MomsRising members continue to work hard at the local, state, and federal levels to make access to earned paid sick days a reality for all employees.
And it's working: In the past two years MomsRising members helped push paid sick days across the finish line in New York City, Connecticut, Seattle, and Jersey City, NJ. MomsRising members helped ensure that the Portland, Oregon City Commission voted unanimously to pass paid sick days. We pushed for paid sick days for years in New York City, which recently became the largest city in the U.S. to pass a paid sick days bill. We're closer than ever to victory in Philadelphia and we've gained impressive ground in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Oregon.
MomsRising members build the MOMentum for victory by sending letters and Tweets, making personal calls, sharing stories with policymakers and media, and educating their communities about the importance of earned paid sick days. MomsRising also helps raise the profile of this issue by covering it on our radio show and regularly pushing for the passage of the federal Healthy Families Act.
Further, we’re working to educate our members, the media, and leaders about the importance of paid sick days in additional areas across the country in order to build momentum for federal paid sick days and paid family leave legislation.
MomsRising launched a major education and engagement campaign with the long term goal of educating parents about the components of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), building support for the full implementation of ACA, supporting full enrollment of CHIP and Medicaid, and supporting the creation of state exchanges that meet the needs of children and families.
MomsRising launched a major campaign to educate our membership about the impact of the federal budget on their lives.
Through this effort MomsRising generated tens of thousands of member contacts via e-mail, phone, and in-person meetings with leaders to further educate them that moms are paying attention to the federal budget process, including to food and nutrition, child care, education, and Medicaid funding. As a result of this powerful campaign, many national media outlets covered MomsRising’s work, tens of thousands of people were engaged, and our Executive Director/ CEO Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner was invited to not one, but two small group meetings with President Obama. She spoke passionately about the needs of children and families. Another result is that MomsRising played a major role in keeping Medicaid from being subjected to automatic cuts in the sequestration.
MomsRising collected tens of thousands of signatures from parents around the country supporting a budget agreement that supports children and families and calls on wealthy individuals and corporations to pay their fair share. In the lead up to the government shutdown we educated our members on the real world consequences of budget cuts, not raising the debt ceiling, and shutting down the government through social media memes, blog posts, and fact sheets.
Throughout the shutdown we collected over 500 stories, which were shared with Congressional and Budget leadership. We have also directly targeted the Budget Conference Committee with an action alert and by delivering stories from moms from their states on the positive impact of government funded programs.
Leading up to the House Farm Bill vote that cut $40 billion from SNAP, MomsRising delivered a petition with over 10,000 signatures to Members of Congress calling for no cuts to SNAP.
In partnership with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), MomsRising created a meme highlighting a Top 5 list of reasons SNAP should not be cut. A personal story from MomsRising member Lorraine was read on the floor of the House of Representatives and submitted into the Congressional record. After the massive cut to SNAP passed, outrage from our members was felt across social media and a MomsRising blog post was picked up and featured on Ms. Magazine's blog. We also educated our membership on the November 1st SNAP cliff (automatic reduction in benefits), lending support to our policy partners on social media and our blog.
Early Learning/Child care
Since our campaign launch in 2009, the MomsRising Early Learning Campaign has been extremely successful, winning eight out of nine legislative priorities—and MomsRising helped get a significant boost for early learning funding and programs in the President’s budget.
In Washington State, our members helped pass WaKIDS (a groundbreaking kindergarten transition program), protected Working Connections Child Care, protected the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), and led the charge for a statewide citizen petition that helped Washington State receive the Early Learning Challenge Grant.
Nationally, MomsRising members helped to make the Early Learning Challenge Grants (federal grants to improve critical state early child care and education systems) possible, protected key programs like child care and Head Start, and helped update the federal nutrition standards for child care centers. We are working hard to make the President’s commitment to universal pre-K education a reality for all families.
Paid Family Leave
For years MomsRising members have been advocating for more federal funding for state paid family leave programs.
This summer, for the first time ever, the United States Senate Appropriations Committee approved a budget bill that included $5 million to help states develop paid leave programs. Just hours before the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to include the State Paid Leave Fund in their budget, Rhode Island became the third state to pass a paid family leave law, joining California and New Jersey. MomsRising members sent many messages to legislators in Rhode Island ahead of this victory.
MomsRising members are now taking action to support the upcoming FAMILY Act, a federal paid family leave insurance program.
Credit Access for Full-Time Parents
MomsRising members reached out to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and are credited with helping to pass a new rule that removed an unanticipated roadblock for any full-time parent getting credit, which was a result of the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD Act).
The CARD Act required credit card companies to consider a person’s “independent” ability to pay – based on his/her individual income or assets – when evaluating their application for a new account. This was meant to protect students and young adults from getting deep into debt. However, when the Federal Reserve wrote the rules to implement the law, it made independent ability to pay the standard for all credit card applications.
The CFPB’s new rule revises the CARD Act and allows credit card companies to consider the household income for any applicant 21 years or older who can show they have “access” to that shared money. That “reasonable expectation of access” would be satisfied if the working partner’s salary is deposited into a joint bank account or there are regular transfers to the non-working partner’s account.
Healthy Food in Schools
After a social media backlash against new nutritional standards for school meals, there was substantial doubt about whether the USDA would take additional steps to improve nutritional standards for snack foods and beverages sold in schools.
MomsRising built a strong and diverse social media community to create public pressure for additional nutritional standards for food and beverages sold in school snack lines, vending machines, and school stores. We published more than 40 blogs posts that earned 8.6 million impressions, hosted a series of Twitter events that earned more than 5.3 million impressions, and launched a Facebook campaign that reached 60,250 accounts.
We worked with partner organizations to help collect 200,0000 comments in support of these proposed regulations, and shared stories about junk food in schools from moms on the ground with high level policymakers at the White House. We were thrilled when these strategies resulted in the USDA announcement of new nutritional standards for snack foods and beverages sold in schools.
After consumer pressure, including strategic pressure from MomsRising members, major supermarkets stopped selling meat products containing “pink slime.”
The USDA decided to allow school districts to reject pink slime as part of their meal programs.
Protecting Kids from Toxic Chemicals
MomsRising played a key role in the passage and implementation of the Consumer Product Safety Protection Act.
We again played an important role in the successful push to have the Consumer Product Safety Commission increase the safety standard for lead and phthalates in products intended for children aged 12 and under.
Since 2009, MomsRising has been part of a mom outcry against harmful yellow dyes in Kraft’s instant macaroni and cheese. We’ve sent more than 30,000 messages to Kraft, and recently expressed our concerns to Kraft executives at the White House. In October 2013, Kraft announced that it would begin removing artificial dye from its macaroni and cheese products, starting in 2014 with their lines of SpongeBob Squarepants, Halloween, and winter-shaped macaroni.
In coalition with the Breast Cancer Fund and the Campaign for Safer Cosmetics, MomsRising members called on box retailer Target to begin removing toxic cosmetics and beauty products from its shelves. Shortly thereafter, Target announced its new sustainability standard and began instituting a new process for identifying toxic products in their stores. Target has invited MomsRising to provide feedback as they create nontoxic and sustainability standards for their products.
MomsRising launched our gun safety campaign in the wake of the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut in December 2012 and the heartbreaking death of Hadiya Pendleton in Chicago, Illinois several months later.
We helped to bring the first meaningful gun policy reform vote in the Senate in almost 30 years. The vote on background checks for gun purchases failed to reach the necessary filibuster-proof 60 votes by only four votes.
Shining a spotlight on corporate promotion of irresponsible gun culture, MomsRising, in coalition with CREDO and the Gun Truth Project, protested LivingSocial’s event offerings that combined alcohol with recreational shooting. LivingSocial subsequently said it is no longer offering such event packages.
MomsRising members worked on a successful campaign to extend the federal unemployment insurance program.
MomsRising mobilized tens of thousands of members to successfully pressure Congress to fully extend Unemployment Insurance for 2012, impacting over two million families.
Fair Treatment for Immigrant Women, Children and Communities
MomsRising's members sent more than 43,000 messages educating leaders about the importance of comprehensive immigration policy reform and also addressing the concerns of DREAMers.
Our team helped raise the voices of immigrant women by promoting press releases with their stories and by publishing blog posts. We provided over a dozen Senators and Representatives, as well as leaders of national immigrant advocacy organizations, with an opportunity to educate the “mom community” on immigration policy matters by writing for our blog.
Tony Award-winning playwright Eve Ensler headlined one of our online publications, "Strengthening Our Culture, Communities and Economy With the Contributions of Immigrant Women: A Blog Carnival on Women and Immigration Reform." MomsRising staff members placed op-eds and were interviewed in the traditional press; placements included ABC News-Univisión, Miami Herald, MetroLatino USA, San Francisco Examiner, and Huffington Post Live.
Our staff also organized our membership to participate in national days of action in Washington, D.C., which included meetings with leaders, attending media-generating rallies, and inviting our network of influential women bloggers (who, combined, have over 40 million social media followers) to these events.
MomsRising joined forces with the public health and environment communities to protect life-giving air from industrial pollutants.
In December 2011, moms across the country celebrated President Obama’s historic signing of the Mercury and Air Toxics Rule, part of the 1970 Clean Air Act, which finally imposed standards on the amount of mercury and other toxins that coal–fired power plants can release into the air.
Additionally, in December 2012, President Obama finalized the Soot Rule, his first piece of major legislation after his re-election. Soot is one of our deadliest pollutants; it can provoke asthma attacks, stunt lung growth, and even cause cancer. The rule tightens the amount of soot diesel trucks, smoke stacks, and other sources are permitted to emit by 20%.
Advancing the Rights of Home Care Workers
MomsRising worked with the National Domestic Workers Alliance and others on this campaign, and our members were thrilled when the White House and the Department of Labor announced in September that the U.S. Department of Labor's long-awaited regulations were finalized, extending federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) protections--including minimum wage and overtime pay--to home care workers nationwide.
MomsRising members sent nearly 10,000 letters in support of this regulation.
Ending Housing Discrimination Against Mothers and Families
MomsRising launched a large-scale public education campaign to shed light on and to help end housing discrimination against mothers.
In collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, MomsRising created a first-ever resource on mother’s housing rights and collected stories from mothers across the country who had been denied home loans or turned away from rental apartments. The campaign generated extensive media coverage, and information from this campaign was widely shared on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. The scores of newspapers and online news sites that covered this campaign have a combined circulation of over 30 million people. They include the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, LatinaLista, and the Wall Street Journal Online, among others.
On the White House Blog, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, John Trasviña, stated that: “With the help of MomsRising....we are uncovering [maternal housing discrimination] cases around the country.” HUD began investigating multiple cases against mortgage companies and property owners and is achieving settlements for mothers who have been discriminated against. The Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity also wrote on the Huffington Post that HUD’s effectiveness “would not have been possible without community leaders and organizations like MomsRising.”
MomsRising’s campaign helped put maternal housing discrimination into the national dialogue and helped pregnant women and mothers know their rights and how to seek redress if these rights are violated.
Making Breast Pumps Tax Deductible
MomsRising members played a key role in a successful campaign this year to pressure the IRS to make breast pumps a deductible medical expense, and reimbursable under flexible spending and health savings accounts.
Working for Justice
MomsRising members also took up a number of causes for individual moms.
Our members successfully demanded that the Governor of Ohio review a draconian sentence against a low-income mother of color who sent her child to an out-of-district public school.
Another example of a specific win is that, as a result of the partnership between MomsRising and the ACLU, the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) – the organization that administers the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) – recently announced a new lactation policy for nursing mothers. The new policy allows nursing mothers, for up to one year following childbirth, to request extended or additional breaks to pump during the LSAT. The LSAC reversed its previous policy after MomsRising member Ashley Foxx was told by the LSAC that she would not be eligible for additional breaks – telling her that she would have to “choose between taking the LSAT and nursing her daughter.”
Ashley approached MomsRising for help, and together we partnered with the ACLU to raise the visibility of this harmful policy and begin legal action.
MomsRising was deeply engaged in voter education in the last election.
Our activities included: registering moms to vote; writing blog posts, op-eds, Tweets, and Facebook posts, and creating images that got the word out about the top issues for women and families; a "Pledge to Vote" program for our members; Candidate Bingo; asking our members to "Register 4 More" and having people share "Why I'm voting" stories to inspire others to vote; hosting a “text to find your polling location” program; running a calling program to get out the mom vote; working with leaders to share what messaging works with moms and educating reporters; creating radio programs that got the word out and generating other traditional media outreach and coverage. MomsRising was active in ensuring family and women’s economic security issues were covered at the debates, and several articles and op-eds by Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, MomsRising’s Executive Director and CEO, were published in news outlets about the matter.
In addition, MomsRising, along with our allies, pushed the debate commission to have a female moderator. When you put it all together, combined with our large membership and readers, it's safe to say that MomsRising was a big part of moving mountains and turning out educated voters in this cycle.
MomsRising now has a commercial radio program, Breaking Through with Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner (Powered by MomsRising) that is broadcast in the Washington, D.C. area, by additional stations around the country, and is also available via podcast on iTunes.
The show highlights the top political and public policy issues facing our country -- how they impact you, your pocketbook, your way of life. We cover these issues with a goal of raising the voices of those too seldom heard from in the mainstream media. Tune in to listen to lively conversation with inspiring experts, real moms, insightful women, and elected leaders as they share the inside scoop on the topics that everyone’s talking about right now.
Stories - Bringing The Voices of Women Straight To Our Nation’s Leaders
Using real stories from real constituents, MomsRising has been able to garner the attention of political leaders about the critical concerns of mothers and families.
While the din created by budget numbers, research, and political posturing can get overwhelming in our nation's Capitol, a real life story told by a mother with emotion and in her own words always rises above the cacophony and captures the attention and hearts of our nation's leaders and the media. MomsRising has collected thousands of stories from our members in many issue areas, including Healthcare, Paid Sick Days, Early Learning and Child Care, Pay Discrimination, Economic Security, Environmental Health, Flexible Work Options, Unemployment, Breastfeeding, Paid Family Leave, Housing Discrimination, National Budget Priorities, Medicaid, School Food, and Clean Air.
Diversity and Inclusion Campaign Initiatives
MomsRising has built a multicultural grassroots constituency for child and family economic security.
The racial and ethnic demographics of our MomsRising membership reflects that of the U.S. Census, and the majority of our staff and the board of the MomsRising Education Fund are women of color. Our campaign staff weave an analysis of social and racial injustice into all our programs and highlights data on how each of our issue areas impact low-income families and communities of color. MomsRising is now regularly invited to present at grassroots organizing and blogging conferences discussing issues of importance to marginalized communities. We have a significant following of mothers of color on Facebook and 40% of the participants in recent Twitter actions were African Americans and Latinas.
In the winter of 2013, MomsRising will be unveiling our Spanish-language website called "MamásConPoder," or, "Moms With Power." Requests for bilingual campaign actions have been increasing and we now regularly engage with our members in Spanish on our blog, Facebook, and Twitter. We've been asked to give interviews for Spanish language press and radio, and our team has placed op-eds in Spanish. In 2012, we developed and launched the MomsRising Fellowship Program, which is designed to provide young women of color with opportunities to learn cutting edge online and on-the-ground organizing strategies.
In short, we’re delighted to share that moms are helping make real wins for real people happen. Moving forward, MomsRising fully expects to continue making real change for real people possible.