Sometimes it’s hard to see the many ways that small actions like signing a petition, sharing your personal experience, making a call, attending a local meeting, or playing a MomsVote debate game on social media add up over time and make a big difference.
They do. Because we are MomsRising together.
Your everyday actions (over a million in 2015!) added up to inspiring victories for moms and families this year:
- From executive actions that help women reach pay equality,
- To moving forward policies so more people have access to affordable and high quality childcare at the state and national levels
- To kicking soda off the kids’ menu as the default option in major fast food chains and restaurants and getting kids across the country access to healthier foods in schools,
- To dozens of America’s biggest companies proudly adopting paid family leave for their employees,
- To an important victory getting a special prosecutor to investigate police brutality cases in New York,
- To being a part of unstoppable MOMentum for paid sick days, and so much more.
The policies that we, and YOU, are fighting for are gaining MOMentum and moving forward because you took the time to take action:
Hard-fought victories in these policy areas lift our families, our businesses, and our economy--and also mean moms and families get to spend more precious time together, with more economic security, with greater opportunities for health, safety and equality.
MomsRising members like you ignited and fueled this positive change. Your over a million actions last year had an incredibly powerful impact. It’s an incredible honor to stand with you.
Thank you. Thank you for ALL you do. Thank you for inspiring us every day.
We can’t wait to see what good you and this movement bring next!
*Scroll down to read specifics on our victories in the following areas (or click on the name of policy area in this list to jump directly to that section): Paid Family/Maternity/Paternity Leave. Pay Equity. Healthcare. Police Brutality. Childcare. Gun Safety. Healthy Food. Working Family Tax Credits. Paid Sick Days. Pregnancy Discrimination.
What a difference a year makes! MomsRising members have been organizing for YEARS for paid family leave, and that effort is paying off in big ways.
2015 may become known as the official tipping point in the campaign for paid family leave, the year it became clear to everyone that we're talking WHEN and not IF paid leave comes to the U.S.
President Obama kicked off the year announcing that federal employees will be able to get an advance of their paid leave to care for a new child, for adoption proceedings or for the placement of a foster child in their home.
In 2015 A DOZEN municipalities passed paid leave for local government employees. Several states, including New York, Connecticut, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are on the verge of passing paid family leave.
At the federal level, the FAMILY Act – the paid maternity, paternity, medical leave insurance bill – gained many new cosponsors (113 in the House and 20 in the Senate). The Department of Labor awarded a total of 1.5 million dollars to a combination of eight cities and states to study how to implement paid leave insurance programs.
Meanwhile, paid leave broke into the realm of pop culture when John Oliver, host of the popular HBO show “Last Week, Tonight” skewered the lack of leave in the United States as part of his Mother’s Day special, including clips from our documentary video in his show.
Keeping the MOMentum growing, a list of companies nearly as long as your arm, including Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Ebay, Netflix, Adobe, Nestle and more, have spent 2015 one-upping each other to offer better paid family leave benefits. Mark Zuckerberg made international news when he announced that not only was Facebook expanding their paid leave program for employees, but he himself would take two months of leave to bond with his newborn daughter.
Take all of this together and it’s not surprising that paid leave is finally, FINALLY, getting airplay in the presidential campaigns. Even if they don’t support it, candidates for president in 2016 are realizing that they HAVE to talk about it.
Through out it all, MomsRising members are the wind at the back of this change. MomsRising members have shared thousands of stories, taken action tens of thousands of times, met with their elected officials and policy makers at every level of government, urged anyone running for office to support paid family leave, and more. We can’t wait for 2016!
Who wants pay equity? WE DO! Throughout the year MomsRising members have rallied and raised the bar on the conversation about closing the women and mothers' wage gap. MomsRising volunteers and members have sent letters, signed petitions, met with leaders, spoken out in the media, and more… and now candidates, elected leaders, and voters of all political backgrounds regularly speak to the urgent need to advance policies that open doors for pay equity. In addition, federal regulations to advance pay equity are moving forward; and legislation to address pay equity and paycheck discrimination is gaining momentum in states and in our nation’s capitol as well.
Forty thousand MomsRising members wrote, called, Tweeted, sent letters to the editor, and dropped by the offices of members of Congress in support of extending funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)—AND IT WORKED!
The House and Senate both passed H.R. 2 the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 with overwhelming majorities—and the President signed it into law on April 16. Thank you for using your voice to help make sure over 8 million kids will continue to have health insurance through CHIP!
MomsRising played a significant role supporting #StandWithFamilies, a very successful statewide effort led by the Justice Committee to gain a special prosecutor in New York state for cases where police kill civilians. Alongside more than two dozen moms and dads who lost their children to police brutality, like Valerie Bell (Sean Bell) and Iris Baez (Anthony Baez), we mobilized 3,000 MomsRising members to urge Gov. Cuomo to act through executive order. After the non-indictment of the police officer who killed Eric Garner in chokehold, MomsRising membership intensified our supported for this campaign to have an independent prosecutor by sending thousands of social media hits, calls, and additional letters.
Using the messaging "No mother should have to fear losing a loved one at the hands of those charged with protection," we helped facilitate and mobilize New Yorkers on-the-ground to several rallies and press conferences. Ultimately, Gov. Cuomo appointed Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman to oversee future cases where police kill civilians, making this a big win.
MomsRising members like you are great advocates for children and families.
This year, MomsRising members and their kids have shared heartfelt personal stories about the urgent need for affordable high-quality childcare with leaders and the media, sent thousands of messages to elected leaders and candidates for President, and literally raced around Congress with pre-schoolers to make clear that we can not wait for affordable high-quality early education including pre-school and childcare. Earlier this month, we saw our impact when the Omnibus FY 2016 Appropriations Bill was released and it includes significant increases in funding for early education programs including:
∙ An increase of $326 million for the Child Care Development Block Grant.
∙ An increase of $570 million for Head Start
∙ And increased investments in other programs for early learning.
In Washington state, moms were heard loud and clear and helped pass the Early Start Act in Washington State, amounting to the largest investment in early learning in state history. Children and families stand to gain greater access to affordable, high-quality early learning opportunities like preschool and childcare with this new investment.
And in California, after hearing from thousands of California MomsRising members, Governor Brown and the California legislature approved a budget that includes more than $300 million in investments to increase accessibility and improve quality for early care and education.
2015 has been a particularly painful year for gun safety. The tragic spate of high-profile shootings sometimes made our fight to reduce gun violence seem impossible. But thanks to advocates like you, we have actually played a role in scoring real victories!
In Oregon, we helped successfully press state lawmakers to pass stronger universal background checks on gun sales in that state.
In Florida, our public education campaign to help the public and state lawmakers understand the campus carry bill introduced by the gun lobby ended with Florida leaders quietly killing the bill.
In North Carolina, our laser-focused attention on an aggressive set of pro-gun bills forced state lawmakers to water down the language until the bills became meaningless, leaving intact one of the North Carolina’s key gun safety provisions, the state’s pistol permit system.
We were thrilled to end 2015 with musician Alicia Keyes spotlighting our gun safety work!
In 2015 FIVE major national restaurant chains: Wendy's, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Applebee's, and IHOP dropped soda from kids’ meals after pressure from our members. Tens of thousands of moms and dads asked the chains to work with parents to improve child nutrition and take steps to reduce serious illnesses like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease in kids.
We've also successfully protected school lunch from several major attacks, making sure that science prevails over special interests lobbyists.
Finally, if you can't sell it in school, you shouldn't advertise it in school. MomsRising members successfully supported a rule to get rid of junk food ads in schools, by making sure that anything advertised in schools on bulletin boards, textbooks, websites, or vending machines meets the Smart Snacks rule.
This year, tens of thousands of moms and dads sent letters, shared their personal stories, participated in social media actions, helped run ads in Politico, Roll Call, The Hill, and more; and also met in person with members of Congress to educate them about how the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) boost our families and economy! Your voices made a difference!
We are thrilled that Congress passed an end-of-the year tax package, which made permanent key provisions to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. This guarantees that 21 million working moms and millions of families—including 1 in 4 military and veteran families won’t lose critical programs that lift families and the economy!
In 2015, paid sick days bills were passed in seven new locations -- Tacoma, Wash.; Philadelphia; Bloomfield, NJ; Oregon; Montgomery County, MD; Pittsburgh; and Elizabeth, NJ. There are dozens more active paid sick days campaigns across the nation that MomsRising members are helping to make sure end in victories for working families.
We're also keeping the pressure on Congress to pass the Healthy Families Act (a national paid sick days bill) so that your family's economic security doesn't depend on your zip code. This past year, MomsRising members met with 18 in-district Congressional offices to urge their elected leaders to co-sponsor the Healthy Families Act and prioritize paid sick days this session.
And it’s working! After hearing MomsRising members' stories about how important paid sick days are for working families, both Senator Cantwell and Senator Wyden co-sponsored the Healthy Families Act!
Each step of the way, we had President Obama and his administration's support for the paid sick days movement. In the 2015 State of the Union Address, President Obama lifted up paid sick days and other family economic security issues as critical workplace rights that working families need and deserve. He later issued an Executive Order, establishing paid sick leave for all federal contract workers.
For MomsRising members nationwide, to the President himself, making paid sick days a workplace norm is a top priority.
In March, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Peggy Young's favor after hearing her pregnancy discrimination case, Young v. UPS, and then the U.S. Senate later voted UNANIMOUSLY in support of providing reasonable accommodations to pregnant workers.
One small catch though: That U.S. Senate vote? It was non-binding.
The good news is that when the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act was introduced in Congress, moms and dads across the country wrote their representatives in support the legislation. Now that Act has bipartisan support, which only continues to grow. That's nearly unheard of these days!
Ensuring Care For Pregnant Women
In August, Texas passed a law in response to the shocking case of a Nicole Guerrero, a woman who gave birth to her baby while in solitary confinement in jail and the baby died.
The rapid actions of MomsRising volunteers in Texas helped pass that law protecting pregnant women.
We, and our local partners, Mama Sana, presented a petition with 1,030 signatures, along with a brief statement, before the Texas Commission on Jail Standards at their quarterly meeting. As a result the Commission opened a dialogue with MomsRising and our Texas partners on how to address the larger issue of pregnant women in Texas jails.
Texas Representative Cecilia Israel heard about our letter and concerns and introduced bi-partisan legislation to start addressing the issue of care for pregnant women in Texas jails. The law signed in August requires counties to share their plans for care of pregnant inmates, and a mechanism to evaluate and numerate the number of pregnant women in jails throughout the state.
White House Honors Outreach to Latina Mothers
In October MomsRising was selected for a White House initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
Thank YOU for all you’ve done to make this happen. The times you clicked on a petition, signed a letter to your legislators, shared your experience, attended meetings, met with elected leaders and so much more are adding up to have a serious impact. YOU ROCK! Thank you!