In these challenging times, many of our milestones over the past fifty years show what is possible in overcoming injustice and advancing the rights of all women and girls. June is our traditional time to reach out to our supporters like you – to ensure our fifty years of trailblazing championship of gender equality continue.
During this time, we especially want to acknowledge how Black women have been instrumental in the advancement of gender justice. Legal Momentum is proud to have supported the rights of Black women in many fields: in the workplace, education, the courts, and the legal profession.
Black women have led many of the most prominent sexual harassment challenges throughout American legal history, beginning with Mechelle Vinson, plaintiff in Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986), the first case to hold that sexual harassment is sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. We joined colleague organizations in an amicus brief in support of Ms. Vinson. This was one of the most influential Supreme Court cases in bolstering the power and enforcement of Title VII.
This June, Legal Momentum celebrates the 48th anniversary of Title IX, which bars sex discrimination in federally-funded educational institutions, as well as the graduation of our fourth class of Rights Now! Peer Educators. Rights Now! is our youth empowerment and leadership program, which teaches youth, particularly young women of color, to identify and respond to gender-based discrimination and harassment and to understand their rights. This year’s graduates led 18 workshops for students throughout New York City, equipping young women with the knowledge and tools to be informed, empowered, and active leaders within their communities.
We also acknowledge the adversity women face in the courts. Our National Judicial Education Program (NJEP) has long sought to address the exceptional barriers faced by women who are victims of sexual assault. NJEP’s Understanding Sexual Violence curriculum, presented in more than 25 states, includes a unit on “Rape and Race” that explores stereotypes used against women who allege sexual victimization.
Women also face barriers even as attorneys. NJEP has sought to heighten awareness about the obstacles confronting Black women in the legal profession in particular—not simply the “dual barriers” of race and sex, but the compound experience legal theorists call “intersectionality,” the confluence of race and gender that shapes an indivisible identity.
Today women are at the front lines in the COVID-19 crisis, especially women of color, and facing unprecedented challenges to their physical and economic security. The crisis has unveiled devastating racial and gender inequities in our economy, healthcare system, and social safety net. This is reflected in the fact that “essential workers” in this pandemic are often also the most vulnerable, low-wage, and underpaid workers. Our Women Valued Initiative was developed specifically to support the rights of these underserved women.
Our Legal team stepped up to respond to the COVID-19 crisis by providing our support and our expertise to women workers. We developed comprehensive legal resource guides, available now at no cost to all women across all devices on our new website, which makes our extensive resources for women and girls available through a powerfully new, searchable platform. Also forthcoming is our Policy Brief that will guide lawmakers on necessary changes to redress the gendered and racial impacts of COVID-19.
Because of this pandemic and the continued challenges to realizing equal rights for all women and girls, we need your financial support now more than ever. COVID-19 and the strain it has placed on our nation’s “safety nets” has made clear the urgent importance of non-profit organizations such as ours. Amidst a precarious economy and cancelled fundraising events—your donation and investment in our organization’s tireless work fighting for gender justice and equality is more important than ever.
Be part of the solution. Please share. SYMS | Legal Momentum Helpline remains available at NO COST to provide legal information and referrals on issues related to sex discrimination in the workplace, home, school and the courts.
REACH us LMHelpline.org
EMAIL us help@LMHelpline.org
CALL us (971) 3 LEGAL 1 (971) 353-4251
Be part of the solution. Please share. In this time of challenge, our legal team immediately developed the NO COST Legal Rights and Economic Resources for Workers Impacted by COVID-19 that include Spanish and Chinese translations.
Today, and everyday, we stand for equality. Thank you for your ongoing support - you make our work possible!
Carol Baldwin Moody
President and CEO