YWCAs of Connecticut Statement On Roe v. Wade Being Overturned
June 24, 2022
Today is a historic and emotionally upsetting day in our nation's history. The Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling to overturn the essential right for a person to have an abortion, which began in 1973, is now illegal. The fundamental right for a woman to choose is no longer protected by the Constitution.
We maintain banning Roe is egregiously wrong. The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization ruling that allowed Mississippi’s 15-week abortion ban to take effect upended one of the most important rights for women in U.S. history. A half-century of federal protections once believed to be sacrosanct, is now remanded to states’ rights. The powers for Reproductive rights will completely depend on individual states rather than the federal government.
While Connecticut not only codified the protections of Roe v. Wade years ago, Connecticut’s Public Act 22-19 provided a first-in-the-nation law that expands abortion access and protects medical providers and patients seeking abortion care in Connecticut who may be traveling from other states that outlawed abortion. Reproductive rights in other states can take away the power of choice over a person’s body.
The SCOTUS decision means women who seek an abortion will face stringent barriers and humiliation, and may risk being criminalized, particularly people of color. According to the ACLU, “Laws that criminalize reproductive health are already being used by police and prosecutors to surveil, penalize, and control people who are disproportionately Black and Brown.”
Abortion access is essential to social justice, gender, and racial equity. Studies show that abortion access impacts financial security, earning potential, labor force participation, career opportunities, and educational attainment of those seeking abortions.
This ruling will be deeply felt nationwide, particularly by people of color. In a strongly-worded joint dissent statement, the three justices wrote, “A state can force her to bring a pregnancy to term, even at the steepest personal and familial costs.”
Abortion disproportionately affects Black women as abortion clinics traditionally have a common presence in urban communities. Black and Brown women are already gravely marginalized in our healthcare system and other institutions because of legacies of structural racism and sexism.
YWCAs in Connecticut and beyond band together to march and protest and do ALL we can to continue to fight for federal reproductive legislation that protects bodily autonomy for all people, including Senate Bill 4132, the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022.
YWCA Hartford Region Statement on Passage of Bill Declaring Racism as a Public Health Crisis
June 2, 2021
YWCA Hartford Region applauds another victory for people of color across the state. Yesterday, the State House passed Senate Bill 1, An Act Equalizing Comprehensive Access to Mental, Behavioral and Physical Healthcare in Response to the Pandemic. The bill previously passed overwhelmingly in the state Senate and is headed to the Governor for signature.
Two important elements of the bill, which YWCA Hartford Region strongly supported, declares racism a public health crisis in Connecticut and establishes the Commission on Racial Equity in Public Health. It is not lost on us that the bill passed on the centennial of the Tulsa Oklahoma Massacre.
The final passage is significant, as it now sets the stage for a meaningful exploration into the trauma and impact racism has had in communities of color and helps find solutions, which is a first in Connecticut’s history.
YWCA Hartford Region applauds the Connecticut General Assembly and so many partners who helped bring this discussion to the forefront, including: State Senator Saud Anwar, the bill’s sponsor, the Legislative Black and Puerto Rican Caucus, Commissioner of the Department of Children and Families, Vanessa Dorantes, Health Equity Solutions, the Greater Hartford Interfaith Action Alliance, Center for Leadership and Justice, Power Up CT, The Village for Children and Families, and our sister YWCA organizations.
In addition to the state, twenty-one municipalities have also declared racism a public health crisis. This will allow the work to collect data and determine measurement criteria to begin addressing systemic racism in Connecticut, specifically its impact on public health.
We now stand together in victory but know our collective work is not done. YWCA Hartford Region stands firm in its commitment to support the process of developing a strategic plan to eliminate health and inequities in the BIPOC communities.
YWCA Hartford Region Statement on the Shooting Death of Daunte Wright
April 15, 2021
YWCA Hartford Region grieves over the death of yet another Black man at the hands of the police. We join the rest of the nation in offering condolences to the Wright family.
The senseless…and utterly preventable…death of Daunte Wright in Minnesota is compounded by the fact it took place just miles from the murder trial of another police officer charged in the death of George Floyd not even a year ago. Our hearts are broken and our minds just can’t comprehend that this has happened again. And again and again and again.
We will continue to work with our community to ensure racial and social justice prevail in the names of Daunte Wright, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor… and far too many others. The work on issues, such as ending police brutality and systemic racism is not easy. But it is necessary.
We invite you to join us as we take a stand against racism. We need your voice. Together, we can find solutions to improve all lives in our community. Please visit us at ywcahartford.org to learn how you can be an ally as we continue to educate and empower the community.
Each year, YWCAs across the country host events to Stand Against Racism. We welcome you to join our Facebook Live event on April 22. It takes all of us working together to confront inequities in our communities and across the nation.
Without the elimination of structural and systemic racism, the idea of a perfect union is an elusive one.
YWCA HARTFORD REGION REMEMBERS THE LEGACY OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
January 18, 2021
Today, YWCA Hartford Region pauses to remember the life and legacy of civil rights leader, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Today’s remembrance comes at a time when the consciousness of all women and men are called upon to reflect on King’s words when he said, “Whenever you are engaged in work that serves humanity, and is for the building of humanity, it has dignity, and it has worth.”
Recently, we bore witness to egregious acts of vandalism, violence, and death inside the U.S. Capitol, built in 1793 by enslaved Africans. However, with all that has happened, Dr. King’s words continue to ring true and inspire us; “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
We choose light and look toward finding solutions that unite to ensure racial, social and gender equity prevail. In two days, we will witness a presidential transition, with the swearing in of President-Elect Joe Biden; and we will celebrate the historic moment when Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris takes her oath. She will become not only the first woman Vice President in our nation’s history, but the first Vice President of Black and Indian descent.
Today marks an opportunity for genuine healing by having authentic discussions around ending racial and social injustice. As Dr. King stated, “It is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice.”
At YWCA Hartford Region, we believe in the sunlit path of democracy, freedom, and justice for all. We invite you to join us in working on that which unites us.
Connecticut YWCA Leaders Issue Joint Statement In response to U.S. Capitol Siege
January 7, 2021
To Our Communities:
“Eliminating racism and empowering women,” the powerful mission of all YWCA’s in this country, requires a public statement on the events of yesterday at our nation’s Capitol and the unacceptable juxtaposition of these events with how police have handled protests against police violence in Washington DC and elsewhere.
The contrast could not be more clear: Yesterday, unprepared police forces allowed white supremacists, who had been preparing their attack in plain sight for weeks, to violently storm our Capitol in violation of federal law in an attempt to overthrow a fair election. Last summer, we saw a much more heavily armed and prepared response to a peaceful and legal Black Lives Matter protest in Washington, in which protesters were beaten, gassed, rounded up in vans and quickly dispersed.
We cannot ignore the implications of yesterday’s demonstration of white privilege and systemic racism. Doing so advances notions of supremacy and will continue to foment the sort of violence we witnessed yesterday.
We commit to our communities and to the State of Connecticut again today that we will continue to raise up, condemn and work against the racism and notions of privilege that threaten democracy, people of color and a just society.
YWCA Greenwich President & CEO, Mary Lee Kiernan
YWCA Hartford Region CEO, Adrienne W. Cochrane
YWCA New Britain Executive Director, Tracey Madden-Hennessey
Governor Lamont Proclaims September 9 YWCA Hartford Region Day
In honor of the 25th Anniversary of YWCA Hartford Region's In the Company of Women, Governor Ned Lamont signed this proclamation:
WHEREAS, YWCA Hartford Region is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all; and
WHEREAS, YWCA Hartford Region serves nearly 2,000 people annually from the greater Hartford area by providing programs that address the needs of community members every stage of their lives; and
WHEREAS, their programs put their mission of eliminating racism and empowering women into action through learning childcare, emergency and permanent supportive housing, youth leadership development, racial justice awareness, financial literacy education, and economic stability for women and families; and
WHEREAS, the YWCA Hartford Region is committed to creating opportunities one woman at a time; and
WHEREAS, it is for those reasons that we pause, reflect and celebrate the YWCA’s 25th anniversary; now
THEREFORE, I, Ned Lamont, Governor of the State of Connecticut, I recognition of the YWCA Hartford Region’s 25 years of inspiration and for their unwavering fight for social justice and gender equity, do hereby officially proclaim September 9, 2020 as YWCA Hartford Region Day in the State of Connecticut.
To read more about In the Virtual Company of Women: 25 Years of Inspiration, click here
YWCA Hartford Statement on the Senseless Death of George Floyd
While news of the arrest of the police officer involved in the murder of George Floyd is a start, no amount of justice will erase the horror of something we cannot un-see and we cannot un-feel. Now, we must give the benefit of the doubt to a justice system that has failed on more than one occasion to deliver justice. We offer our condolences and prayers to the family and friends of George Floyd in the hope that this time will be different. Time will tell.
YWCA Hartford Region shares the nation’s outrage at yet another senseless death at the hands of police officers sworn to serve and protect the community and its citizens. We are deeply saddened to see that another black life did not matter to the man who committed this atrocity. The level of cold-hearted depravity it took to commit this heinous act is unfathomable to many. But, it happened. Again. And this must stop NOW!
We stand in solidarity with our YWCA colleagues in the Minneapolis and Saint Paul communities, and throughout the nation, in rising up for justice and the end to racial hatred and indifference for human life.
Blatant and subtle forms of racism and bigotry have no place in our society. YWCA Hartford Region is committed to ensuring human decency and respect prevail. Our vision is to create unlimited opportunities in our community. Opportunities that instill racial, social and gender equity in all we do.
Today, we re-commit to building programs and services that place humanity at the forefront of our work. YWCA Hartford Region prides itself on being a multi-cultural organization with tireless advocates working every day to fight injustice. We will not back away from difficult conversations and advocating for women, girls and families of color.
This is the time to walk unapologetically in our mission of helping to build a strong community where peace, justice, and freedom reign. Now is the moment in our storied history for all of us to come together and commit to a world where racial and social justice is no longer just talked about; our actions must be stronger than our words.
YWCA Hartford Region CEO Adrienne W. Cochrane Appointed to City of Hartford COVID-19 Recovery Working Group
Adrienne W. Cochrane, CEO of YWCA Hartford Region, has been appointed by Hartford Mayor, Luke Bronin to serve on the Children, Youth, and Families Working Group as part of the city’s efforts to develop long term recovery plans from the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Bronin has established five COVID Recovery Working Groups to provide recommendations to help the city restart responsibly and build a more equitable and resilient community. The city anticipates initial recommendations from the working groups by the end of the month.
The Children, Youth, and Families group is one of five working groups, which will also focus on public health; economic opportunity and business; arts, culture, recreation, and faith; and housing. Ms. Cochrane will also serve on the Children, Youth, and Families sub-committee focused on Education and Early Learning.
Mayor Bronin has appointed community leaders to draw on the experience, expertise, and wisdom of a broad range of community members and stakeholders to safely re-open the city. “I am grateful to everyone who has agreed to participate in these working groups to help us move forward toward reopening and recovery in a responsible way,” said Mayor Luke Bronin. Mayor Bronin and City Council President Maly D. Rosado will serve as ex-officio members of each working group, and each working group will have two City Council representatives. The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving will also have representation on each of the working groups.
Ms. Cochrane serves on the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave Authority, as well as several boards, including Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center, Teach for America-Connecticut, and American Red Cross Connecticut and Rhode Island Chapters. She received her Doctorate of Juris Prudence from Saint Louis University School of Law and a master’s in Counseling and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Tuskegee University.