JWI Opposes Supreme Court Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                    

CONTACT
Meredith Jacobs, VP Communications
direct: 202.464.4803// cell: 301.529.8591

Washington, D.C. – Following President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, JWI CEO Lori Weinstein issued the following statement:

At JWI, we are concerned first and foremost with the welfare of women and families. The nation’s highest court is entrusted with the protection of our constitutional rights - the very foundation of American freedom. We have made tremendous progress and we will not go back. As a Supreme Court justice, Judge Gorsuch would be a threat to the rights and safety of women and girls and an impediment to the equality of all people. 

With Judge Gorsuch, reproductive rights will be at stake. In the Hobby Lobby case, he aligned himself against women and families who rely on insurance coverage of contraception. In a separate case where a religiously-affiliated employer sought to interfere with women’s healthcare coverage, Judge Gorsuch wrote in dissent to the circuit court that ruled in favor of workers. 

Prior to his election, President Trump vowed to only nominate judges who would commit to overturning Roe v. Wade, a precedential case that protects a constitutional right women have relied on for decades.  

Judge Gorsuch’s record also shows that he favors corporate power and business interests over the rights of workers, voters, and consumers. Dismantling government regulation means that women lack recourse when facing unsafe conditions or discrimination in the workplace. Judge Gorsuch has shown that he cannot be trusted on women’s health, safety, and rights.

Women must not have their constitutional rights further imperiled by the appointment of Judge Gorsuch to our nation’s highest court.

In the end, we must remind ourselves that this nomination belonged to President Obama and not to President Trump. 

This appointment will affect not only our lives, but those of future generations. Our daughters and granddaughters deserve better.

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Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls domestically and internationally. JWI is a Steering Committee member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, and is a member of the Gun Violence Table. JWI’s advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security, and protects their right to live free of violence.

Oppose these dangerous nominations NOW!

Tomorrow, three of President Trump’s Cabinet nominees will be voted on by Senate committees, and a fourth will have a hearing next week. JWI opposes these nominees – a vote for Sessions, Price, DeVos, or Puzder is a vote against women! Take a few minutes to call your Senators and ask them to vote against confirmation. Our country’s future depends on it!

SENATOR JEFF SESSIONS, nominee for Attorney General 

Judiciary Committee Vote: Tuesday, January 31
 
Sessions has a troubling history of voting against victims and survivors, trying to restrict reproductive rights, and opposing civil rights protections. In 2013, Sessions was one of a handful of senators to vote against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). He has consistently opposed civil rights protections for LGBT people, and voted for numerous extreme anti-reproductive rights bills, including an unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban. Senator Sessions has proven time and again that he will not stand up for women, survivors of violence, and minorities.


REP. TOM PRICE, nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services 

Finance Committee Vote: Tuesday, January 31
 
Price is an opponent of reproductive rights who supports the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and has previously proposed severe cuts to Medicaid and CHIP, crucial government programs that support healthcare access for low-income women and children. Price supports repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which gave millions of low-income women access to healthcare and implemented crucial women’s health provisions, including bans on pre-existing conditions and gender discrimination in insurance pricing, and coverage for domestic violence screenings and contraception.


ANDREW PUZDER, nominee for Secretary of Labor 

HELP Committee Hearing: Tuesday, February 7
 
Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the franchiser of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants. He has a long record of opposing worker protections, from minimum wage to paid sick days. CKE’s restaurants had higher-than-average rates of sexual harassment allegations while Puzder was CEO, with a shocking 66 percent of female employees surveyed reporting harassment. Puzder will not promote the safety of domestic and sexual violence survivors in the workplace, prevent and address sexual harassment, or support the economic security of working women.


BETSY DEVOS, nominee for Secretary of Education 

HELP Committee Vote: Tuesday, January 31
 
DeVos is a billionaire with little to no experience with public education, federal civil rights law, and other crucial areas overseen by the Department of Education. During her hearing, DeVos failed to competently respond to questions about education policy and refused to commit to enforcing current Title IX guidance. DeVos has also financially supported groups that are hostile to sexual violence survivors on campus.

Tell Congress: Refugees Are Welcome Here!

This afternoon, President Trump is expect to sign an executive order barring refugees from Syria, halting the entire U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, and slashing the refugee admissions target to its lowest figure since the Refugee Act of 1980.

We, at JWI, refuse to stand silent. 

Those in favor of this ban argue that barring refugees from our shores is a matter of national security, that to share our freedom and security with these persecuted populations would put all we hold dear at risk. But we know that those seeking shelter are not perpetuating violence, but fleeing it. We stand today, the descendants of refugees. So many of our families immigrated to the United States seeking a safer present and a better future for their children.

On Holocaust Remembrance Day, we remember those who died, those who lived, and those who sheltered the persecuted—despite great personal risk. We must not let fear prevent us from doing what is right. Despite what Nazi propaganda asserted, the Jewish people were never a threat, and neither are the refugees who seek our help today. We must serve as protector to the persecuted. It is the right choice and the only way forward for a country built on the backs of immigrants and refugees. 

Join us in calling your representatives TODAY and urging them to lend their voices to the collective cry of outrage at this callous order.

We will not be silent, and we will never forget.

JWI Opposes H.R.7 and Urges Action

The House of Representatives is voting within minutes on H.R.7, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017. JWI strongly opposes this bill, which would make permanent the Hyde Amendment, barring the use of certain funds to pay for abortion except to save the life of the woman, or in cases of incest or rape. Introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), H.R.7 would affect both public and private health insurance coverage.  Join us now and speak out!

 “Women and families must be the ones to make the decisions that are best for them. H.R.7 puts affordable abortion care even further out of reach, making it all but impossible for all women, but especially low-income women to access the services they need. A majority of Americans support abortion coverage for Medicaid recipients. If passed, H.R.7 would make these restrictions permanent.” 

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017 would interfere with private insurance coverage and all women will be impacted if private insurers pull coverage. Its regulations are so obtrusive that insurers may opt to decline offering abortion coverage altogether. Families that purchase plans through state marketplaces would become ineligible for certain tax credits. Employers that provide coverage to their employees would be denied the Small Business Tax Credit, making them unlikely to choose insurance plans that include abortion coverage.   

This week marked the 44th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade, yet women all over the country are still denied abortion care due to their income, geographic location, or insurance. We will continue fighting for safe, affordable abortion access for all.

Please call your representatives and urge them to vote “NO” on H.R.7.

Tell Your Senators to Ask the Tough Questions

JWI continues to work every day for women and girls. We’re asking questions, holding elected officials accountable, and actively opposing politicians who want to roll back our progress towards greater health, economic security, and equality for women and girls. We are standing strong.

In the coming weeks, as hearings for Cabinet nominees continue, JWI will be watching closely and speaking out. Join us – call your senators and tell them to ask the tough questions and oppose nominees whose records indicate that they have not or will not stand up for women and girls.

Call your Senators!

Betsy DeVos, nominee for Secretary of Education

Hearing: Tuesday, January 17

Who is she? 

Billionaire and former chairwoman of the Michigan Republican Party, longtime donor and activist for school choice and charter schools.

Why JWI is concerned:

DeVos has little to no experience with public education, federal civil rights law, and other crucial areas overseen by the Department of Education.

We need to know:

What is DeVos’s stance on preventing campus sexual violence? How will she ensure that Title IX is enforced and the civil rights of survivors are protected? How will she act to ensure the safety of sexual assault survivors on campus and prevent future violence?

Rep. Tom Price, nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services

Hearing: Wednesday January 18

Who is he? 

Orthopedic surgeon and current Member of Congress

Why JWI is opposed:

Price is an opponent of reproductive rights who supports the defunding of Planned Parenthood, and has previously proposed severe cuts to Medicaid and CHIP, crucial government programs that support healthcare access for low-income women and children. 

Price supports repeal of the Affordable Care Act, which gave millions of low-income women access to healthcare and implemented crucial women’s health provisions, including bans on pre-existing conditions and gender discrimination in insurance pricing, and coverage for domestic violence screenings and contraception.

Andrew Puzder, nominee for Secretary of Labor

Hearing: Not yet scheduled

Who is he? 

CEO of CKE Restaurants, the franchiser of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants 

Why is JWI opposed?

Puzder has a long record of opposing worker protections, from minimum wage to paid sick days. He oversaw a series of sexist and degrading marketing campaigns for his company’s restaurant chains, and said in defense of these ads, ““I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.”

Puzder’s company’s restaurants had higher-than-average rates of sexual harassment allegations while he was CEO, with a shocking 66% of female employees reporting harassment. JWI has serious concerns regarding Puzder’s ability to promote the safety of domestic and sexual violence survivors in the workplace, prevent and address sexual harassment, and support the economic security of working women.

JWI Opposes the Nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

JWI opposes the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General of the United States. Sessions will not be the advocate we need to stand up for women, girls, and families.

Join us now to speak out! 

On January 10th and 11th, Senator Sessions will have his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. We must act now to make our voices heard!  

In advance of the hearing, call the office of Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley at 202-224-5225, and help us send this message loud and clear: 

“I OPPOSE the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions for Attorney General, and I urge the Judiciary Committee to OPPOSE his confirmation. Senator Sessions has proven time and again that he will not stand up for women, survivors of violence, and minorities.”

Sessions has a troubling history of voting against victims and survivors, trying to restrict reproductive rights, and opposing civil rights protections.  In 2013, Sessions was one of a handful of senators to vote against the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). He has consistently opposed civil rights protections for LGBT people, and voted for numerous extreme anti-reproductive rights bills, including an unconstitutional 20-week abortion ban. 

A vote for Sessions is a vote against women and families. 

    
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JWI Will Not Attend Conference of Presidents' Hanukkah Party at Trump Hotel

JWI, the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, has declined the invitation to the Conference’s Hanukkah party, scheduled to be held at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. 

Read More

JWI’s statement in response to the 2016 elections

JWI will continue to be a voice and a champion for women and girls whose lives are impacted by violence, whose economic security is threatened by their gender, and whose path to success is challenged by a lack of opportunity and a paucity of role models. We will tackle these and many more issues in the days and months ahead - social, economic, and reproductive justice - thoughtfully, strategically and boldly. 

DVAM Briefing: Gender-Based Violence Policy in the 115th Congress

A holistic portrait of violence against women and girls

A look forward to what we can do together to effect change in the next Congress

Co-hosted with our Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

10/6/16

“WE NEED ALL HANDS ON DECK” — JWI CEO Lori Weinstein


Guns and Domestic Violence

Miri Cypers, Director of Federal Affairs and Partnerships, Americans for Responsible Solutions

Impact of gun violence on women and how it intersects with DV: One issue that doesn’t get talked about is how gun violence intersects with DV. From research and data, we know that a gun is the most commonly-used weapon in domestic violence homicides. A gun in an abusive home raises the risk of homicide for women 5 times – or 500%. Annually 4.5% of women are coerced or bullied by a gun in their homes (study just came out this week). This is an area where we can build bipartisan support in Congress. 

In 1994, Congress first passed VAWA. If you are subject to a DV restraining order, you cannot own a gun: this was the first federal law on the issue of DV and guns. Research shows that restricting access to guns for people subject to restraining orders results in 19% fewer homicides. 

But a lot more work needs to be done. Now, we are focusing on the boyfriend loophole: current federal law only includes abusers who are or were married to the victim, lived with the victim, or have a child with the victim. More people are in dating relationships now, and the language of the law passed in the 1990s doesn’t reflect the current demographics of victims. This is the boyfriend loophole we need to close: protecting people who are in a non-marital relationship with an abuser.

The stalking loophole is another area of focus. Stalking is a crime where it’s clear the person intends to do more harm. In one study, 76% of female homicide victims were stalked by their killer in the year before their deaths. Stalking is a clear indicator of future violence, and we want to make sure that convicted stalkers cannot own guns.

We also want to extend federal background checks. In states that have expanded background checks, 46% fewer women are killed by guns. It nearly cuts the number in half.

For the road ahead, we are focused on the next Congress, building bipartisan support, and asking the next administration to make gun violence prevention a priority from the get-go. We want gun violence and DV at the top of the next present’s agenda. We will also build more Republican support for these bills. Where Congress has failed to act, we’ve gone to states. Even in places with strong gun cultures like Iowa and Arizona, we have already had success at improving gun safety laws in several states.


CAMPUS SEXUAL ASSAULT

Ann Hedgepeth, Senior Government Relations Manager, American Association of University Women

How sexual assault and violence impacts the way women can access education: Sexual violence on campus is not a new issue. Some strides have been made, and some good laws exist, but more can be done. 1 in 5 women experience attempted or completed sexual assault during college: this has been status quo for a long time. Still, 90% of schools report they have had 0% rapes reported in the past year. The prevalence of campus sexual violence is compelling and important, but schools’ failure to address it is something we should also pay attention to. When sexual assault occurs, the impacts are widespread: One is that students don’t continue their education.

There are two important laws that address these issues: 

Title IX covers the full spectrum of sex discrimination in schools: athletics, tenure opportunities, sexual harassment. And sexual violence is definitely a form of sex discrimination.

The Clery Act, enacted 25 years ago, is a transparency law. This is where we get a lot of data around crimes that occur on campus. The Clery Act requires schools to report campus crimes annually to the federal government, in addition to policies and procedures for addressing crime, including sexual assault. But not all schools are good actors in releasing the required information.

The Clery Act was recently amended as part of the 2013 VAWA reauthorization, in a law called the Campus SaVE Act. This new law required schools to disclose more information about crimes on campus, including dating violence and stalking, and gave schools more guidance on what processes they need to have to address incidents. Every school should be updating and publicizing their policies for students, whether they are reporting an incident or involved in an incident.

But even these powerful laws only go so far. It also depends on what the White House and the Department of Education do with those laws. With this administration, we have seen real efforts to enforce laws and ensure that schools are complying with the requirements. Real activism by students and survivors has made a huge difference, and existing tools within the law gave the administration a push to make progress. Title IX and Clery have real teeth, but the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights must be empowered to enforce the law.

Another tool that we need is campus climate surveys. We don’t know what we don’t know: Schools are only required to disclose incidents that were reported to campus security. But what about everything else? How often are campus resources for victims being accessed? How confidential are those resources? What supports are victims being offered?

Additionally, colleges should formalize relationship with law enforcement. We need to know how it works when a student goes through the campus disciplinary process or makes a report to law enforcement. And schools need to know the local service providers that can help students on campus.

AAUW supports Rep. Jackie Speier’s HALT Sexual Violence on Campus Act, as well as some provisions of Senator McCaskill and Gillibrand’s CASA bill. We have seen some real attacks on survivors by Congress, such as the Fair Campus Act and Safe Campus Act that would have required reporting to police, stymied university processes, and silenced the voices of survivors.

There is real opportunity to make progress in the new Congress.


ECONOMIC SECURITY AND Domestic Violence

Ilana Flemming, JWI Manager of Advocacy Initiatives

One of most common and damaging form of DV is financial abuse. This form of abuse makes the victim vulnerable in very specific and very debilitating way.

The CDC estimates that 1 in 3 women experience abuse by an intimate partner, and 1 in 4 women experience severe physical violence. 1 in 4 women also experience rape, and over half are assaulted by an intimate partner.

Gender-based violence remains an epidemic in our country. When this violence intersects with lack of economic security, or restricts economic security, it can impact safety for victims and survivors. Financial dependence on an abuser keeps women tied to abusive relationships. If you think about DV as pattern or behavior by which one person exerts power and control over another, this makes sense — victims are not just emotionally controlled or afraid for their physical safety, but also financially tied. Financial abuse keeps victims trapped.

Financial abuse can mean withholding money, keeping paychecks, destroying credit cards, sabotaging employment, and more. This leaves the victim with few options outside the relationship, and creates more risk for the victim due to financial insecurity and lack of independence.

21% of adults working full-time are DV victims. Every year, a cumulative 8 million days of work are lost due to DV. It’s hard to hold down a full time job if you are missing work due to DV, and many workplaces don’t understand DV or how it impacts victims at work. Being a victim creates vulnerability at work – she could be fired if she discloses the abuse.

Also, the abuser may sabotage employment by making a lot of threatening phone calls at work, call her boss, stalk her at work. A victim who loses job is more tied to abuser, keeping her more isolated. Often, employers want to do right thing but don’t know how, and there is a lack of legal infrastructure to help victims maintain employment safely. 

Paid sick and safe days: Over 4 million workers have no access to paid sick or safe days. 1 in 5 low-wage workers do not have access to paid sick time, and cite loss of income as the #1 reason for not taking unpaid sick days.

Paid safe days are a component of paid sick days legislation that allows victims of domestic violence to take time to deal with implications of victimization. Paid sick days don’t cover unique needs of suriviors, which extend beyond physical illness and need for medical care. Paid safe days cover time needed for counseling, legal assistance, attending court dates, meeting with police, seeking safe housing, and more.

Staying safe in abusive relationship or leaving an abusive relationship is difficult and dangerous. Leaving is the highest risk time for lethality, and a victim is unlikely to be able to leave successfully and safely if she loses her job. Survivors who are afraid of disclosing abuse at work are less likely to seek help. If there are potential consequences to disclosing, victims become even more isolated.

No one should have to choose between a job and their safety, but quite often, that is what happens. Stable employment as a component of financial security is key to victims and survivors.

Legislation that would make a difference:

The SAFE Act - Targets discrimination against survivors in the workplace. Covers a broader definition than most state laws, including domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault.

Allows workers to take up to 30 days of safe time per year, with 7 of those days paid. Protects workers from being fired because of DV, and helps ensure that victims are not discriminated against at work.

The Healthy Families Act – A bill would set national standard for paid sick days. Wrokers would be able to earn up to 7 paid sick days per year, with a provision allowing workers to use those days also as safe days. This would give victims paid, job-protected time off to seek services related to victimization.


Human Trafficking

Leila Milani, Senior International Policy Advocate, Futures Without Violence

4 points where we can all agree:

  • There are approximately 20 million people who are victims of human trafficking in the world today
  • Human traffickers make $150 billion of profit annually
  • There are more individual slaves today than at any other time in human history
  • Cases of human trafficking have been reported in every state, including DC

Legislation:

Runaway & Homeless Youth Trafficking Prevention Act - provides grants to communities so they can reach out to homeless youth on the streets, provide emergency housing, basic life necessities, longer-term housing, and family reunification

Runaway and homeless youth are at extreme risk of coerced labor and sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, and violence. 28% of homeless youth said they have traded sex for basic necessities such as food and shelter.

RHYA programs help identify vulnerable youth early and intervene to prevent trafficking and exploitation. The reauthorization bill includes new provisions related to human trafficking, and adds a nondiscrimination clause to ensure that LGBTQ youth receive services.

SOAR to Health and Wellness act of 2016 - Directs HHS to establish a pilot program to provide training to health care providers to identify victims of human trafficking, and implement protocols and procedures for providers to work with law enforcement and victim service providers.

88% of sex trafficking survivors reported having contact with a healthcare provider while they were being trafficked, but 95% of ER doctors and nurses said they had never received formal training on human trafficking. Healthcare providers are a key resource for trafficking victims, but they need to be given the tools to identify victims and safely intervene.

Trafficking Survivors Relief Act of 2016 – Would clear the criminal records of victims of human trafficking (where the crime was non-violent and was committed as a direct result of trafficking). 

It is common for victims to be charged with crimes such as conspiracy, money laundering, and drug trafficking. So even when trafficking survivors are freed, they often face barriers in obtaining housing or getting a job due to a criminal record. This can leave survivors vulnerable to being re-victimized by traffickers.


2018 VAWA Reauthorization

Rob Valente, Chief Officer for Government Affairs, National Domestic Violence Hotline

VAWA:

First passed in 1994, up for reauthorization in 2018

VAWA funds grant programs, established federal crimes for gender-based violence, helps create consistency between states in serving survivors, established protections for LGBTQ victims, and created protections for Native American tribes addressing GBV.

For this upcoming reauthorization, we have many new and continuing areas of focus. Building in economic security provisions for survivors, immigration protections, alternatives to the criminal justice response, more community-based “gateways” for victims to access services, addressing underserved communities (such as elderly, disabled, and mentally ill populations), and fostering the leadership of communities of color.

This month, the VAWA coalition will be surveying domestic violence service providers to ask: What services are you providing with your current funding? What services do victims ask for? What is the gap between the two?

We need to send a clear message to Congress: Support all victims. There is no room for discrimination in VAWA. 


Download and share these abuse Statistics during October - Domestic Violence Awareness Month!

JWI Responds to Passage of H.R. 5578, Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016

The bill is an important step forward for sexual assault survivors

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     

CONTACT
Meredith Jacobs, VP Communications
direct: 202.464.4803 // cell: 301.529.8591

Washington, D.C. – Jewish Women International (JWI) applauds the House of Representatives for its passage of H.R. 5578, the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act of 2016. 

The Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act was sponsored by Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA-45) and Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-19), with 37 cosponsors including Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL-23), Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA-6), and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-3). The Senate version of the bill was sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and passed the Senate in May 2016 as part of the bipartisan Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act. 

The Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act establishes a national standard for survivors’ rights in the reporting, investigation, and prosecution of sexual assault crimes. Specifically, a survivor will have the right to have her rape kit preserved for the duration of the statute of limitations; the right to be notified in writing sixty days before her rape kit is scheduled to be destroyed; the right to request additional preservation of her rape kit; and the right to be informed of the results of her rape kit.

JWI CEO Lori Weinstein issued the following statement:

Sexual violence continues to impact millions of women and men in the United States each year, and too often, justice is not served for survivors. By passing the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, Congress has taken an important step forward in reforming and improving responses to sexual violence. 

No survivor should have to fear seeking medical attention or reporting to law enforcement; survivors should be able to trust that their dignity and rights will be respected. This vital bill helps to ensure that survivors’ reports are taken seriously, that medical evidence is collected and preserved, and that a survivor’s right to information is honored throughout the investigative process. By working together with survivors, medical providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, and advocates can create change and prevent further violence.

As we mark this progress, we also renew our commitment to our sustained advocacy and education for women and girls. JWI will continue our work to prevent sexual violence, foster healthy relationships, and change the culture for a safer tomorrow.

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Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to end violence against women and girls domestically and internationally. JWI is a Steering Committee member of NO MORE and the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force to End Domestic Abuse in the Jewish Community, and is a member of the Gun Violence Table. JWI’s advocacy efforts focus on the passage of legislation that supports women and girls, ensures their economic security, and protects their right to live free of violence.