NA’AMAT USA’s advocacy agenda is broad and varied. An advocacy column entitled “Take Action” appears in each issue of NA’AMAT Woman magazine. It covers current topics such as pending legislation and vital subjects of everyday relevance. As circumstances emerge and evolve on the national scene, the advocacy section is meant to call attention to definite actions that can be taken in order to make our voices heard. Our voice is powerful and can potentially enable us to impact the legislative agenda positively and set priorities on a broad set of important issues.
Issues in which NA’AMAT USA has taken a stand include:
1) A woman’s right to birth control (opposing the Hobby Lobby case decided by the Supreme Court permitting CEO’s to decide unilaterally whether or not employees are entitled to no-copay birth control). A letter expressing opposition to the ruling was sent to President Obama.
2) Bullying and suggestions for developing a strategy by raising awareness; begin a dialogue letting children know they are not alone;
3) Sex trafficking – raise awareness among legislators and educators (see resolution on this website);
4) Expand labor protection for home care workers and extend the minimum wage to include direct care workers;
5) Sexual assault in the military: encourage victims to report assaults so that justice will prevail;
6) Close the wage gap for women who now earn only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men;
7) War on women (abortion). NA’AMAT USA strongly opposes current attempts by a number of U.S. lawmakers to eliminate abortion and family-planning funding. These issues, including medical care are private matters that should not concern the government;
8) War on women (domestic violence and coercion): encourage legislators to support pending measures to outlaw domestic violence and include gay, lesbian, transgender, immigrant, and Native Americans. Additionally, raise awareness of physicians to screen for coercion and abuse and offer victims methods of undetected contraception;
9) Sexual harassment in the workplace: educate workers about the various types of harassment and encourage them to report offensive actions; request employers to prepare and update procedure manuals and employee handbooks outlining grievance procedures;
10) Government subsidies for child care for working women: reform the government subsidy system and increase uniform government subsidies for child care for working women, citizen and immigrant alike, in order to alleviate a burden on low-income families;
11) Elder care: certain legal documents should be in place in order to document a person’s wishes should mental or physical disability arise. “Advance directives” — powers of attorney, trusts, living wills, and health care directives — prepared by an attorney while the person has the capacity to express his or her wishes about end of life care can simplify decision-making by caregivers at a later time.
12) Sexual assault on campus (in process)
How to become an advocate: First, we must educate ourselves on the issues by means of mainstream media and specialty periodicals, radio and television news, as well as information from non-partisan groups. Holding training sessions using various fictitious scenarios permits members to practice their roles as advocates.
Second, know your audience. Familiarize yourself with the person or people whom you will address as well as their political activities or leanings. Be prepared for the positive, anticipate the negative, and have the ability to respond to any questions you may encounter.
Third, build coalitions with elected officials and community leaders. Use the news media as well as town hall meetings to promote your topic or event.
Fourth, keep abreast of vital topics.