Advocacy Program

Develop your grassroots organizing skills, advocate for social justice and become a community leader!

Applications for the Advocacy Program Cohort, Fall 2020 are available online or in person at the YWCA (2600 Bancroft Way, Berkeley, 94704), once we are open again to the public. (See our COVID-19 Resources Page for current shelter-in-place updates, and our Anti Racism Resources page for ways to learn more about and support the Movement for Black Lives).

At the YWCA, our vision is to support young leaders to develop the tools and resources they need to advocate for themselves, and to build collective power in their communities. Voting rights and civic engagement are core components of racial justice work. To fulfill the YWCA’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, it is critical that we are working to support full access and engagement for women and girls of color in our communities. When we center and follow the leadership of Black, Indigenous, and women and girls of color, and uplift the legislative priorities of those most impacted, we can more meaningfully engage in the struggle for access, equity, and collective liberation. 

*Our use of “girls” and “women” is inclusive of all cis and trans women, non-binary, gender non-conforming, gender queer, and any female-identified folks.

Advocacy Program Cohort – What We Do:

  • Political Education to deepen our collective knowledge and understanding of the historical and current context of voting rights and disenfranchisement in the United States, and support initiatives to advance voting rights such as ACA 6, also known as the Free the Vote Act, which if passed, will restore voting rights to over 500,000 Californian’s on Parole
  • Bill Research & Presentations to connect with CA legislation that you are impacted by and/or are passionate about, that align with the YWCA’s mission to eliminate racism and empower women
  • Workshops to demystify the legislative process and develop our advocacy skills, to be able to bridge the grassroots movement and political process as a tool for racial justice and collective liberation
  • Get Out The Vote Initiatives including learning how to register people to vote and increase voting rights access in your community
  • Learn about, connect with, and uplift local Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BI&POC)-led organizations and campaigns on the front lines to support racial, gender, and economic justice initiatives

More Information:

When We Meet – The YWCA Berkeley/Oakland Advocacy Program meets weekly for 1.5 hours during the academic school year, and our cohort-model functions on the semester cycle, with a Fall and Spring cohort, although cohort members are invited & encouraged to participate in both. Note that some weeks there are special events and/or actions we attend outside of our weekly meeting time. The Advocacy Program goes on pause during the summer months to plan and develop curriculum for the new academic year.

Check out this Zine created by the Spring 2020 Advocacy cohort, titled, “Rest, Resilience, and Resistance During COVID-19” 

Rest, Resistance & Resilience during COVID-19 (1) (1)