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CEDAW Call to Action: Building a Right’s Based System for Lasting Change

Black Women’s Blueprint seeks justice-minded community organizations across the five boroughs of New York City to join the Grassroots Organizing SubCommittee of the NYC for CEDAW Campaign Coalition. We are expressly interested in campaign partners from a diverse array of identities and backgrounds that are able and committed to mobilizing their constituency in order pass a Women’s Bill of Rights right here at home. This is an exciting opportunity to join a national campaign which proudly proclaims that women’s rights are human rights – and refuses to yield to the myriad of threats posed by the new Administration in Washington DC by building power and avenues for transformation and recourse at the city level.

Interested? Email for more information on how to become a Member Organization.


There are 4.4 million women and girls living in New York City’s five boroughs. 4.4 million women and girls who on a daily basis experience violence, discrimination, and oppression because they are female or female presenting. Because they are women of color. Because they are LGBTQIA+ identified or gender non-conforming. Because they are immigrant women, differently-abled women, women in poverty or justice involved women. Because they are survivors of rape and other forms of gender-based and sexual violence.

Imagine a New York City in which teachers are trained and supported in identifying trauma responses and supporting students, resulting in the rate of girls being pushed out of school to be cut in half? Imagine a New York City in which LGBTQIA+ identified or gender non-conforming folx have access to specialized healthcare in a safe, identity affirming environment? Imagine working in a city where you knew that if you had to take extensive time away from your job due to mental health challenges as a result of sexual violence you would not lose your job? Imagine justice-involved women moving with the dignity of having access to, adequate supply and their choice of menstrual hygiene products.

This is what our city can and should look like when we understand that cities are what breadth life into contemporary society – that it is at the level of our city and the culturally dynamic neighborhoods we reside where the most mundane struggles for survival and joy take place among the communities of women who have birthed us, raised us, fed us, and prepared us for the revolution.

This city is not an idealistic utopia. This city is not a far off pipe dream. This is the city that Black Women’s Blueprint will continue to demand over the next four years, and beyond—and this is the city that we are now calling on you to co-create with us as a prospective member of the NYC 4 CEDAW Campaign Coalition. After all, like our Black feminist foremother Patricia Hill Collins proclaimed: most activism is brought to us by ordinary people. Ordinary people like you.

Nationally, the Cities for CEDAW campaign has called on this extraordinary legacy of labor in cities to achieve an unprecedented goal: the local passage of bills in every city across the country which adhere to, and uphold the legal obligations outlined in, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

CEDAW is an international United Nations Convention that serves as the most comprehensive declaration of women’s human rights in existence. There are 194 member states of the United Nations. 187 of those member states have ratified CEDAW affirming women’s rights. The federal government of the United States has refused to do so.

And so, it is up to us to demand that a women’s equity bill that stays true to the comprehensive principles of CEDAW is passed. We, as a coalition, we as activists, we as women, find ourselves at a critical moment in our nation’s history. The election of a racist, sexist, xenophobic, sexual predator has shaken us, as women of color, as survivors of sexual assault, as women who live at the margins and occupy various identities, to our core. We must equip our communities with the knowledge and know-how to access human rights law and human right instruments as alternative avenues for legal recourse, safety, and protection.

On the heels of our first 2017 NYC4CEDAW Coalition launch meeting (held January 6th), which brought together a small but mighty team of representatives from member-based organizations, academics, community organizers, city officials and UN Agency leaders, we’ve identified three early non-negotiables in this fight:

1. We demand a gender analysis to happen across every single city department. This means we’ll know what our officials are doing right to protect women’s rights – and what they have been doing wrong.

2. We demand the establishment of an Oversight body focused on overseeing and implementing the gender analysis and any gender equity initiatives. We will ensure that membership is representative of the many diverse communities that live within the city and the perspectives of our must vulnerable, including LGB/transgender, differently-abled, Black, Muslim, Latino, and/or formerly incarcerated, people.

3. We demand that the city establish a funding stream with the explicit aim of supporting gender equity initiatives to end gender-based violence. The city should earmark 25 cents for every woman and girl who resides in the city to go toward ending gender-based violence and ensuring economic justice through quality jobs and educations.

When you sign on to join the Grassroots Organizing Subcommittee of the NYC 4 CEDAW Coalition, you promise to not stop until we have rooted out discrimination and transformed the very structures that hold our city together. When you sign on to the campaign, you commit to gather with friends and neighbors in the streets with us later this year during a citywide CEDAW Day of Action (slated for March). When you join the Coalition, you co-sign with Black Women’s Blueprint’s belief that everyday people can compel their elected officials to do the right thing. As your organization is able, you commit to write to City Council members, attend public hearings, and galvanize friends and family to accompany you to in-district meetings. When you become our partner in this work, you send a powerful message to not just the federal government, but to the world that New York City is a city grounded in the human dignity of each individual.

The world we envision, a world that holds the safety, dignity and human rights of women and girls sacred, especially those women and girls at the intersections and the margins, is possible; but we need your voice. We need your passion. We need your action. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.

Email to get started and to sign on as a Member Organization of the NYC 4 CEDAW Campaign Coalition

#BlackWomen39sBlueprint #CEDAW #BlackWomenintheUS

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