American women have made great strides in leadership in our lifetimes, climbing to positions of power once thought impossible. Four years ago, Hillary Clinton was a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination for President and even though she eventually lost to Barack Obama, she won more primaries and delegates than any other female candidate in American history. In 2007, Nancy Pelosi became the first woman Speaker of the House. Despite these great accomplishments, it might surprise you to know that the United States still ranks 90th in the world for women in national legislatures! 2012 was a record-setting year for female CEOs. Women executives now head 18 of the country’s biggest companies, but that’s out of a total of 500 companies ranked by Fortune. And, one in ten of those companies have no women serving on their boards. Pretty surprising, right?
The documentary “Miss Representation” is a fascinating look at how the media contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in our country. Condoleezza Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Katie Couric, Rachel Maddow, and Rosario Dawson are among the women who lend the their voices and experiences to the film along with dozens of other journalists, and activists.
JLS is hosting a screening of “Miss Representation” this month! Come check it out Jan. 31 at AMC Pacific Place. A reception starts at 6pm, the film starts at 6:30 and will be followed by a panel discussion. Ladies, this counts as a training credit!
Sign up here: https://www.jrleagueseattle.org/?nd=m_event_detail&event_id=1852&return_nd=m_home
One more interesting fact- the film’s director, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, is also nominated for an Oscar for best documentary feature for her current documentary “The Invisible War,” which looks at rape in the U.S. military.
There are a number of states making important strides against sex trafficking and our state was recently recognized as one of the top seven in the country.
The Protected Innocence Challenge Report ranked Washington, along with Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri and Texas as the top seven states that protect against child trafficking.
The report is the first comprehensive study on state child sex trafficking laws across the country and grades states from ‘A’ to ‘F’. It was released by an organization called Shared Hope International, which is dedicated to ending sex trafficking.
Washington and six other states all received a ‘B’ grade for enacting legislation that strengthens laws against domestic minor sex trafficking.
States are graded based on six categories of law; Washington got a “near perfect” score in the category “Criminal Provisions for Facilitators.”
Alaska was among 9 states to get a “C” grade. Oregon, Utah and 17 other states scored a “D” and California and Idaho were among 18 states to get a failing grade of “F.”
According to Shared Hope International, every year in the United States experts estimate at least 100,000 children are exploited in the U.S. commercial sex industry. The average age a child is first exploited through prostitution is 13 years old.
Shared Hope International says since the challenge was issued last year, 240 state and 38 federal bills were introduced and 78 laws were passed.
Learn more about Shared Hope International and the Protected Innocence Challenge: http://sharedhope.org/what-we-do/bring-justice/state-by-state-grades/
Most of us take for granted that we know where we’re going to get our next meal- lunch at our favorite café, pick up some groceries at QFC or meet friends for a dinner out. Hundreds of teens and young people in Seattle- and as many as a thousand- are not this lucky. They wake up each day not knowing where or if they’re going to eat. That’s where Youth Care comes in.
YouthCare is one of the League’s nonprofit partners. It helps homeless young people between 12 and 24 find a place to stay, get a hot meal and continue their education. The center provides 20 futon beds a night for those who would likely otherwise be on the streets or in an unsafe home environment. Teens and young people can also work on a GED, get training as a barista and get help with resume writing; and these are just a few of the opportunities YouthCare provides. Lunch and dinner are served Monday-Friday- and that’s where the Junior League helps out.
In October I joined a great group of ladies and spent part of the afternoon fixing and serving lunch at the Orion Center. First, we went on a quick tour of the facility and learned about the amazing work their staff does as well as the many opportunities and services provided. Then we went to work- chopping onions, slicing tomatoes, and grilling burgers. We even washed dishes and scrubbed the grill! Everyone pitched in right away and in no time we had lunch ready. Homeless teens were elated with a lunch of cheeseburgers with all the fixings, mac and cheese, brownies and satsumas. We started serving promptly at 12:30. I’d say about 20-25 kids came through, although we had prepared for as many as 75. Earlier that week the JLS prepared lunch for near 75, so we needed to be prepared. They were all so appreciative of what we’d done- most thanked us several times. It was such a simple way to really impact a group of people. I think we all left feeling pretty great about or efforts and glad to have been able to provide a meal.
Be sure to look for more opportunities to participate in a nonprofit meeting. I highly recommend it!
If you’d like to learn more about YouthCare, check out the website: http://www.youthcare.org/
The terms ‘human trafficking’ and ‘sex trafficking’ sound very exotic, like something that happens in foreign countries far away from where we live. But it’s a huge problem right here in our neighborhoods. Here are a few trafficking cases in the news recently…
Last week, a 27-year-old Tacoma man was convicted in federal court of seven counts related to the sex trafficking of minors and women.
Alexander Walls was accused of recruiting at least three minors to work for him as prostitutes. Several of them were advertised as prostitutes on Backpage.com, Craigslist and TNABoard.com, according to U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan.
Walls could spend the rest of his life in prison. He’ll be sentenced in March.
You can read the full article here: http://q13fox.com/2012/11/30/convicted-tacoma-man-faces-up-to-life-in-prison-for-sex-trafficking/#ixzz2Dx94XdXD
Earlier this month, a 20-year-old man was charged with second-degree human trafficking/promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor for allegedly prostituting girls in the Tacoma, Everett and Shoreline areas.
Jevante Taymar McCray pleaded not guilty to the charges.
You can read more here: http://blog.thenewstribune.com/crime/page/5/#storylink=cpy
It sounds kind of intimidating, but think of it this way – you are already an advocate! By being a Junior League member and volunteering, you are advocating for issues that are important to the League and your community! Engaging with your local legislators is helpful, but there are a lot of other really effective ways to advocate without heading to Olympia. Part of the goal of this blog throughout January will be to highlight some of the League’s non-profit partners… so stay tuned!