Recently, MomsRising’s CEO/Executive Director, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner asked MomsRising staff members to share their favorite wins and innovations of the year. It turned out to be a very long list.
To put it simply, the MomsRising community — which includes you! — CRUSHED it in 2018!
The energy and power of this community is breathtaking. You write. You call. You text. You rally. You demand change...and you bring friends, family, and your kids with you. And most importantly, you WIN! Your work leads to groundbreaking, life-changing victories for women and families in America.
THANK YOU, for everything you do to make our country and our communities better, safer, and more just for women and families. You are the heart of this movement, and we could not be more proud, more grateful and more inspired to #KeepMarching with you.
Please join us in celebrating 10 AMAZING THINGS YOU made possible in 2018. The full list of wins is much, much longer -- we #keepmarching and keep celebrating together!
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Without further ado... MomsRising's top wins of 2018!
1. PASSED: Washington State Equal Pay Opportunity Act
This is a HUGE deal for Washington moms, women and families. Washington State passed the Equal Opportunity Act, which was a key part of our agenda in that state! We were a core part of the organizations that championed the bill all the way across the finish line.
The new law helps women fight wage discrimination by:
Protecting the right of workers to share their wage or salary information with co-workers without fear of retaliation
Creating a new right of action for women who are unfairly passed over for promotions or tracked into lower paying jobs
Allowing women to ask the State to investigate wage discrimination claims without having to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit
MomsRising members made hundreds of calls, hand delivered stories and testified before the State House and Senate.
2. PASSED: Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law
Nearly 3.1 million people in MA will benefit as a result of this win. Lawmakers in Massachusetts approved a paid family and medical leave bill — 12 paid weeks off to care for a family member (including a newly arrived child through birth, adoption or foster care placement), and 20 paid weeks to recover from their own significant illness or injury. It’s the most generous in the nation!
This victory has been many, many years in the making, and the MomsRising community provided critical MOMentum to push the bill over the finish line. MomsRising members shared their stories, reached out to their lawmakers, showed up at regional meetings, and participated in lobby day on Beacon Hill with lawmakers all in support of paid leave for Massachusetts families.
3. PASSED: Maryland Paid Sick Leave Law
A momentous day for Maryland! The Maryland Senate followed the House of Delegates and voted to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to hundreds of thousands of Maryland workers. Years in the making, this new law will give financial security and peace of mind to workers and stability to Maryland businesses.
MomsRising supporters worked tirelessly to drive support for the legislation. Working as part of the powerful Working Matters Coalition, members of the MomsRising community wrote letters, called legislators, visited the State Capitol and shared their personal stories about why they need paid sick days.
4. PASSED: California Invests in Early Learning
Over $900 million in budget wins for California’s youngest learners! At MomsRising, we believe that rallies, activism and raising our voices for change are a family affair. Like in California, where enthusiastic MomsRising members gathered for a Kids’ Day of Action and Kids’ March in Sacramento to urge state officials to invest in early learning, preschool and childcare. These small kids left a BIG impression! Rising together with the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Coalition, these advocates convinced state lawmakers to pass a HUGE funding increase for early education programs, including additional child care and preschool spaces, professional development for childcare workers, programs for young children with special needs, and much more.
5. PASSED: Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorized
A big deal for MILLIONS of children who need this health insurance. Lawmakers allowed funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to lapse for several months, leaving the health insurance of 9 million children in limbo and causing uncertainty for states across the nation. The MomsRising community sprang into action, delivering storybooks and poker chips that read “Don’t Gamble with Our Kids” to every member of Congress to remind them that playing politics with the health care of children is unacceptable. Members shared stories on our #WellnessWed tweetchats, blog and radio show, emphasizing the powerful impact CHIP has on the health of children and families. The intense pressure worked! CHIP was reauthorized for 10 more years, ensuring lifesaving health coverage for children who need it most.
6. YOU HAVE THEIR ATTENTION: Lawmakers Get the Message on Protecting Health Care
Health care was the TOP issue in the November elections. Over the past year, the MomsRising community worked to keep parents’ concerns about health care coverage for their families top of mind for local, state, and federal leaders. Together, we delivered storybooks to lawmakers that demonstrated the positive impact that federal programs like CHIP, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) have on families. MomsRising volunteers shared their stories with national and local print and TV media, and amplified the campaign on social media. As a result, the MomsRising community and partners pressured lawmakers to PROTECT (not cut!) the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid in the federal budget.
7. STOPPED: FedEx Cuts Ties with NRA
Public pressure worked! Last year, the MomsRising community joined the #DroptheNRA coalition calling on FedEx to stop supporting the National Rifle Association’s extreme agenda and cut ties with the organization. Over the course of the campaign, members of the MomsRising community drove thousands of calls to FedEx and gathered close to 50,000 signatures urging FedEx to stop giving NRA members discounts and to drop out of the NRA Business Alliance. In October 2018, Fedex finally did so.
8. STOPPED: North Carolina Ends Shackling of Inmates During Childbirth
Barbaric practice no longer allowed in NC prisons. The MomsRising community joined forces with our partner organization SisterSong to call for a ban on shackling incarcerated pregnant women during birth in North Carolina. In addition to being unconscionable and inhumane, this draconian practice is dangerous for mother and baby. In March, yielding to intensifying public pressure, North Carolina joined 18 other states to prohibit shackling in labor and delivery.
9. POWERED UP: Supporters Tell Big Banks to Stop Financing Family Imprisonment
Moms are powerful, and you can take that to the bank! There are protests, and then there are MomsRising protests - energizing, unforgettable and disarmingly effective. Like in September, when thousands of people in the MomsRising community delivered baby blankets, toys, pacifiers, and other items related to children sleeping, to hundreds of Wells Fargo and JP Morgan Chase branches across the country. Why? To urge these big banks to stop financing CoreCivic and GEO Group, for-profit prison corporations that are profiting off the pain and separation of immigrant families. This action is part of our ongoing work with #FamiliesBelongTogether, a coalition of over 250 organizations promoting dignity, unity, and compassion for all children and families.
10. Protecting Families From Hunger With Passage of the Farm Bill
MomsRising members were ‘all in’ with the fight to protect the food and nutritional support that families need when times are hard. Our members shared personal stories, wrote letters to the editor, phoned and emailed their representative and senators, visited with them in-person in their state or district offices – and some even traveled to Washington, D.C. to meet with them personally. The moms of America know how important programs like SNAP are to the well-being of families and they used their voices to speak out loudly against harmful measures that would lead to hungrier children and families.
We are proud of the role MomsRising members played in protecting the SNAP program and, as a result, millions of people who would otherwise go hungry will be able to put food on the table.
**BONUS LATE-BREAKING WIN!**
PASSED: The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act
WE DID IT! Just one day after the House of Representatives passed the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act, the U.S. Senate passed the companion bill, the Maternal Health Accountability Act. It's great to see Congress prioritizing the health and lives of pregnant women and treating maternal mortality as the national emergency that it is.
Every year in this country, 700 - 900 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes, and some 65,000 suffer severe complications. Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy complications than white women, independent of age, parity or education. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 60 percent of maternal deaths in this country are preventable.
This bill establishes a program to help states review maternal deaths; establish and sustain a maternal mortality review committee; supports a plan to educate health care providers to improve maternal care, and improves information collection on maternal deaths and provide for public disclosure of this information. It offers hope for addressing the factors that lead to the deaths of so many Black mothers and the stubborn racial disparities that continue to plague our health care system.