Special Edition Summer Newsletter:
Over the past two weeks, our country has witnessed an extraordinary outpouring of grief over the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police. We at AAUW California are not immune from this pain wrought of unfair treatment of our sisters and brothers of color.
We condemn racism and its associated discrimination. It is the root cause of today’s injustices. These recent instances of anti-Black violence have reaffirmed the need for major societal change, and for a national discussion going beyond racism and police brutality. Prejudice and inequality – including economic inequality – cannot be passively ignored. AAUW has been a leading voice in America in the fight for equity for women and girls, and we especially recognize the additional challenges facing Black women and girls.
AAUW is committed to fighting for justice, and will work collaboratively to give access for all people to the opportunities and resources needed for optimal health and safety. Our organization is a member of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and we will work to advance the policies and systemic changes such as those identified in the New Era of Public Safety: A Guide to Fair, Safe, and Effective Community Policing and Vision for Justice platform.
We Stand United Against Racism
By AAUW National CEO Kimberly Churches
Tuesday, June 2
During this troubling time in our nation’s history, I hope you are being kind to yourself and others. It feels almost unbearable to witness the anger and anguish erupting in our cities as we also endure a relentless pandemic and economic downfall. The murder of George Floyd serves as a tragic reminder of centuries of racism, violence and lack of humanity for Black people. We join the country in mourning his loss as well as the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless other people of color who have been unjustly killed.
But while we are deeply sad, we mustn’t feel helpless. Now is the time to fight for justice. Here are some suggestions for how to move forward:
Listen: Understand that many Black and Brown people are struggling with enormous pain and despair. Open your hearts to them and listen when they speak — without expecting them to work for the benefit of your learning.
Learn: Read our recent statement highlighting AAUW’s stand against racism and the Washington Post article by 2016–17 AAUW American Fellow alumnae Keisha Blain about the problematic history of policing in this country. AAUW will work to advance the systemic changes needed to create a fairer criminal justice system as a proud member of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
Speak Up: People of color often experience discrimination at the ballot box. This comes in the form of voting restrictions implemented under the guise of preventing “voter fraud,” which is extremely rare. With a pivotal election ahead, persuading policymakers to expand voting rights is a powerful way to support marginalized communities. Other issues that disproportionately affect Black women and their families are student-loan debt, pay inequity and the lack of a livable minimum wage — all parts of AAUW’s 2020 Gender Agenda you can take action on.
I’d also like to acknowledge that, as an organization, AAUW has its own work to do — and I’m committed to doing it. So I’ll be listening, learning and speaking up right alongside you.
In solidarity and strength,
Chief Executive Officer
AAUW California Recognizes AAUW Long Beach for Outstanding Mission-Based Programs in 2019-2020!
Three branches are recognized for program work on the topic of human trafficking. The Long Beach Branch presented a panel of guest speakers who related the experiences of abused and trapped women living in fear and shared their efforts to help those caught up in this silent web. Ways to identify and assist these victims were explored.
Three branches are recognized for programs in the area of STEM/STEAM. The Long Beach Branch welcomed back three former Trek Tech participants who shared the life-changing impact of this program. The speakers were Rachel Thompson, a Ph.D. candidate in Physical Therapy at CSULB who attended Tech Trek 10 years ago, Gech Huong Huy, a high school senior at California Academy of Math & Science (CAMS), Long Beach Unified School District, who attended four years ago and is heading to the University of San Francisco with a major in Environmental Engineering, and Karintha Marshall who attended the very first Tech Trek Camp 20 years ago and now heads the IT department at a non-profit organization. These ladies have excelled in their fields and have received multiple recognitions for their scholarship and efforts to make a difference in their communities. It was exciting to see the long-term success of such sponsorships.