YWCA of Tulsa
racial justice and civil rights

Policy Positions

YWCA Tulsa is a member of the YWCA USA, whose mission is eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. As an organization that blends social services with social change, YWCA Tulsa holds a strong commitment to advocating for our clients and constituents to promote equity and opportunity for all, especially the most marginalized among us.

Our Policy Positions are adapted from the YWCA USA (italicized text below) and localized to meet the unique needs of our community. They illustrate our stance on social and political issues, and direct our advocacy work. Based on these core principles, we develop an annual Advocacy Agenda to focus our attention each year. 

economic empowerment

The Safety Net

The YWCA USA advocates for common sense budget and tax policies, which will help women and their families. The YWCA supports an anti-poverty approach to welfare reform that increases education and training opportunities, opposes marriage promotion/incentives, opposes religious discrimination in hiring, restores benefits to legal immigrants, addresses barriers to self-sufficiency such as domestic violence and substance abuse, and provides affordable and accessible childcare. The YWCA supports initiatives to increase the income of women, including policies that raise the minimum wage, protect overtime, strengthen equal pay, maintain the earned income tax credit, oppose the privatization of Social Security, and expand non-traditional training for women from all socioeconomic and racial backgrounds.

YWCA Tulsa believes that budget and tax policies are statements of priorities. As a member of the Oklahoma Assets Network, YWCA Tulsa supports a strong social safety net that is accountable to the needs of the most vulnerable among us: working people who earn the least, seniors, people with disabilities, and children. Our economy is at its best when Oklahomans who climb the biggest obstacles and start out in life with the least opportunity are afforded as many chances to move up the economic ladder as everyone else. 

Access to Education

The YWCA USA supports a wide range of education and training policies that make higher education and vocational education opportunities more affordable. The YWCA USA supports college option programs, increasing access to Pell grants and other need-based and merit-based aid, and ensuring student loan interest rates are kept affordable. 

YWCA Tulsa supports strong public education from birth to university to grant access to the knowledge and skills necessary for economic opportunity. We support strong and sustained public funding of education including early childhood education beginning at infancy, universal child and college savings plans, well-funded and culturally competent public K-12 education, accessible higher education, and publicly funded adult education programs, especially GED programs, job development, and ELL classes for newcomers to our community.

Worker Protections

The YWCA USA supports initiatives to increase the income of women, including policies that raise the minimum wage, protect overtime, strengthen equal pay, maintain the earned income tax credit, oppose the privatization of social security, and expand non-traditional training for women from all socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. 

YWCA Tulsa supports workers, especially labor and immigrant workers, including the undocumented. We believe quality employment is a prerequisite for economic growth and development, and support workers’ rights including safe working conditions, livable wages, inclusive workplaces, equitable benefits, and the ability to organize.

health and safety

Health Care

The YWCA USA supports a strong health care safety net that includes Medicaid, Medicare and State Children’s Health Insurance (SCHIP) programs. The YWCA also strongly supports the Affordable Care Act (ACA) law and will oppose efforts to repeal, defund, replace or halt its implementation.

YWCA Tulsa supports the expansion of Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act to provide access to tens of thousands of uninsured Oklahomans. We oppose denial of health care on religious grounds. 

Criminal Justice Reform

Oklahoma incarcerates women at twice the national average and at the highest rate in the world. Our state is also second in incarcerating black men and third in incarcerating men overall. YWCA Tulsa opposes policies that overburden the criminal justice system rather than making communities safer, especially those that punish nonviolent offenders, drug abuse, poverty, and undocumented immigration. YWCA believes these challenges stems from an overly punitive, profit-driven criminal justice system, and supports reforms to policing, sentencing, and prison policies to promote treatment, rehabilitation, and reintegration.

racial justice and civil rights

Racial Justice

The YWCA USA supports policies that contribute to the elimination of racism. This includes, but is not limited to, policies that eliminate racial profiling, increase immigrant rights, retain and strengthen affirmative action, reduce hate crimes and provide education on racism and its elimination.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform

The YWCA USA calls for passage of broad and humane national immigration reform legislation that will provide a clear roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans, including DREAMers, and makes it possible for them to fully integrate into the nation’s social and economic fabric, with all of the rights and responsibilities entailed in full integration.

YWCA Tulsa support national immigration reform that creates a fair and just pathway to citizenship. We oppose state and local anti-immigrant policies and the deputization of local law enforcement to enforce immigration laws.

Hate Crimes

The YWCA USA supports the passage of hate crimes legislation that protects people from harassment, violence and other crimes on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, ethnicity, age, disability or sexual orientation.

YWCA Tulsa supports the expansion of state hate crimes protections to include race, gender, gender identity, religion, ethnicity, age, disability, or sexual orientation. We support training and capacity building of law enforcement and the courts to understand, document, and enforce hate crimes laws.

Voter Protection

The YWCA USA supports legislation that ensures that all eligible voters are able to routinely, easily, and successfully exercise their right to vote. Voting rights laws must ensure that traditionally-disenfranchised voters, such as women and communities of color, are able to fulfill their constitutionally-protected right to vote.

YWCA Tulsa supports protecting the right to vote for all Oklahomans, and opposes Voter ID and other measures that inhibit access to voting for marginalized populations. 

Affirmative Action

The YWCA USA supports the maintenance and strengthening of affirmative action laws to protect people from discrimination on the basis of race and gender.

YWCA Tulsa supports comprehensive affirmative action policies, and opposes efforts to rolls back anti-discrimination policies that limit access to education and work for women and people of color.