When women unite, we're unstoppable

Sunday night I attended the Golden Globes as one of eight activists invited by actresses affiliated with ...

Posted: Jan 10, 2018 3:33 PM
Updated: Jan 10, 2018 3:33 PM

Sunday night I attended the Golden Globes as one of eight activists invited by actresses affiliated with Time's Up, an initiative of 300 prominent women in Hollywood working to bring an end to sexual harassment and assault across all industries. It was a rare pairing -- activists and artists seeking to elevate the stories of domestic workers, restaurant workers, farmworkers and survivors of gender-based violence.

But what made the evening so remarkable was that it wasn't a one-off event. It marked the dawn of a new era -- with women finding strength in each other and proving that when we are united, we are unstoppable.

Our message as activists and actresses was simple -- we stand together in our determination to live and work with safety and dignity. We are tired of a world where our work is devalued and our dreams disposable. And speaker after speaker that night reinforced the belief that the time is now. We are not going back.

This message was particularly important for women in vulnerable industries such as domestic work. Currently, roughly 2 million women work in the shadows of the economy, behind the closed doors of private homes and with little legal recourse or basic protections. They are also disproportionately black and immigrant women.

Despite these barriers, many domestic workers have shown incredible resilience and determination to establish protections from abuse and address their long history of exclusion. These women have done the impossible -- they have organized.

Their first state was New York, where more than 200 women gathered in November 2003 to share experiences and discuss protections that would help them. They took these ideas and concerns to the Immigrant Rights Clinic at New York University School of Law, where students researched existing law and changes that could be created to protect women better in the domestic workplace.

Ensuring that domestic worker voices were comprehensively represented every step of the way, they also broadened their organizing to include employers and families who rely upon domestic workers to support the campaign. Their legislative proposal, seven years later, transformed labor law in New York. It provided paid time off and full protection from discrimination and harassment under the state's human rights laws.

But they didn't stop there.

The New York campaign set off a wave of campaigns in other states such as California and Massachusetts as domestic workers came together and demanded solutions. Driven by stories of survivors, and supported by workers, employers, people of faith and countless others, they built the political power necessary to move legislators to pass new laws. Today, eight states have passed domestic worker legislation, with several that include new protections from sexual harassment and discrimination.

While there is clearly more to be done, domestic workers have campaigned to create meaningful change in the practices and policies that shape their lives. There is much to learn from these experiences. Perhaps, most importantly, that when women organize, we are capable of changing even the most entrenched systems of inequality.

Sunday's Golden Globes, far from an exclusive event, was also an invitation to all the viewers. This movement demands everyone's participation.

So, what can you do?

First, if you know a domestic worker, be her ally. Ask if she feels safe and respected in her work. Make sure she knows you value her work and stand with her. Connect her to her peers through organizations such as the National Domestic Workers Alliance so she is supported by a community. If you employ someone in your home and want to be connected to other families and employers who want to do the right thing, Hand in Hand, an association of people who rely upon domestic workers and caregivers, has resources for you.

Support policy efforts to ensure all working people -- with special attention to the many groups such as domestic workers who have faced exclusion -- are protected from harassment and abuse. The gaping holes in the protections from harassment and abuse are simply unacceptable. It's time we updated the sexual harassment laws to ensure all women -- in workplaces big and small -- have legal recourse, and that those laws are adequately enforced.

And, remember, this is an election year. Make sure candidates for office are allies, too, and that they prioritize the safety and dignity of all women, especially those in vulnerable communities and industries. Any candidate for office should have our policy agenda high on his or her list of priorities.

As #MeToo stories reached new levels of visibility last year, many asked, "What comes next?" On Sunday night, we saw what comes next: women working together to ensure that the culture of violence that enables sexual harassment and assault becomes but a distant memory.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319381

Reported Deaths: 7354
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22264265
Hinds20634421
Harrison18381316
Rankin13862282
Jackson13677248
Madison10234224
Lee10050176
Jones8458167
Forrest7821153
Lauderdale7257242
Lowndes6498149
Lamar633688
Lafayette6298120
Washington5418136
Bolivar4835133
Panola4663110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4597146
Marshall4572105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc424973
Monroe4155135
Union415576
Neshoba4059179
Lincoln4007111
Hancock386087
Leflore3515125
Tate342386
Sunflower339391
Pike3366110
Alcorn324172
Scott319374
Yazoo314171
Itawamba305077
Adams304885
Copiah299766
Coahoma298383
Simpson298189
Tippah291568
Prentiss283561
Leake271774
Marion271280
Covington267083
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George251951
Newton248563
Tishomingo231267
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210459
Holmes190374
Clay187554
Stone187433
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174032
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135247
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee127934
Perry126638
Amite126142
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Tunica108027
Jefferson Davis107833
Claiborne103030
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96628
Franklin85023
Quitman81816
Choctaw79018
Wilkinson69332
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 547873

Reported Deaths: 11274
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809141565
Mobile41984826
Madison35629523
Tuscaloosa26147458
Shelby25580254
Montgomery25075611
Baldwin21805313
Lee16248175
Calhoun14710325
Morgan14618285
Etowah14160362
Marshall12446230
Houston10757288
Elmore10292212
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10155250
Cullman9928200
Lauderdale9591248
DeKalb8963189
Talladega8455184
Walker7330280
Autauga7229113
Blount6937139
Jackson6905113
Colbert6406139
Coffee5622126
Dale4929114
Russell454541
Chilton4470116
Franklin430783
Covington4267122
Tallapoosa4127154
Escambia401180
Chambers3723123
Dallas3606156
Clarke352861
Marion3237106
Pike313978
Lawrence3124100
Winston283272
Bibb267664
Geneva257081
Marengo250665
Pickens236662
Barbour234559
Hale226678
Butler223771
Fayette217762
Henry193743
Cherokee187245
Randolph186944
Monroe179141
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155157
Cleburne153144
Lamar146237
Lowndes142053
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113230
Coosa111429
Perry108726
Sumter105732
Greene93434
Choctaw61725
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