By Miri Cypers, JWI senior policy & advocacy specialist
Yesterday I joined JWI’s board of trustees chair Susie Turnbull at a meeting hosted by the Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee. Twenty senators from across the country gathered to hear from approximately 15 Jewish communal organizations about the issues affecting the Jewish community. Susie was a featured speaker along with representatives from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), and the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC).
Susie discussed three of JWI’s major priorities: the impact of budget cuts on women and families, ending gender-based violence on a domestic and international level, and the importance of women’s access to reproductive health services. In her comments, she highlighted the importance of women’s economic security and JWI’s work on the issue.
“We must take into account that cutbacks to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security will disproportionately harm women who rely on these programs as the source of their health coverage and economic stability,” Susie said. “JWI strongly supports women’s economic empowerment at all stages of life and offers financial literacy programs to women and girls to learn about money management skills and the importance of financial freedom.”
Susie also spoke about our work to end violence against women. “JWI is proud to be working on an advocates’ draft for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act,” she said. “Violence occurs throughout the continuum of a woman’s life- teens, mothers, grandmothers are all victims of violence. We urge you to support a VAWA bill that reflects the expanding population of victims and that must include robust funding for comprehensive prevention programming.”
It was a privilege to hear directly from so many influential Senators who talked about the need for the Jewish community to stay engaged as Congress makes key decisions about the debt ceiling and budget cuts.