WMNYC 2019 POLICY PLATFORM FOR NY STATE
2019 Women’s March New York City Policy Platform
This policy platform has been developed under the leadership of Women’s March NYC (WMNYC), the local chapter of the national and global movement, Women’s March ©.
In 2019 WMNYC convened a coalition of over 50 organizations (listed below), from grassroots groups to labor unions, to develop an inclusive, progressive policy platform. This equity agenda is developed with the instrumental support of a broad coalition, 2019 WMNYC Co-Chair, the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and 2019 WMNYC Co-Host, Girls for Gender Equity (GGE).
As activists and allies in New York City prepare for the 3rd Annual Women’s March, we have an unprecedented opportunity in New York State to advance an agenda that protects our communities from the relentless attacks on our dignity and self determination from Washington - and rectify long-standing disparities in access, outcomes and equity that existed far before the election of November 2016. A Democratic majority in both houses of the New York State legislature and especially in the New York State Senate, enable us to find places in our new political reality where the longstanding, deeply progressive goals of our movements can be realized.
From separating children from their parents at the US-Mexico border, to rolling back the protections of Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendment and Obama-era regulations on school discipline, to sidelining the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), to the most dangerous threat to the existence of Roe vs. Wade since it was decided in 1973, it is absolutely clear that the egregious attacks of the Trump Administration wield disproportionate impacts on cis and trans women and girls of color, and gender non-conforming/non binary (GNC/NB) people of color.
The following policy priorities are organized under the national Women’s March Unity Principles and echo the National Women’s March Policy Agenda. While the issues named in this agenda are comprehensive, this document is by no means definitive.
Let us begin at the places where disparities are the greatest, knowing that when we center those at the margins, we lift up all of our communities.
Unity Principle: Ending Violence Against Women & Femmes
Pass the Child Victims Act: Eliminate the statute of limitations so that individuals who are survivors of child sexual abuse can file a civil claim against their alleged perpetrators.
Pass the Domestic Violence Survivors Justice Act: Allow judges discretion to sentence survivors whose abuse contributed to their crime the ability to lower harsh sentences, allow sentencing to community-based alternatives to incarceration instead of prison, and allow survivors to seek early release.
Repeal the Sex Worker Exclusion in New York State’s Rape Shield Law: Ensure that a sex worker's history cannot be used against them if they try bring charges against a rapist.
Strengthen Statewide Legal Definitions Related to Gender-Based Discrimination and Harassment: Add “sex and gender” to the list of classes protected from discrimination in the New York State Constitution; ease the unreasonable burden presented by the “severe or pervasive” standard for sexual harassment; expand the definition of “employee” and “employer” in the New York State Human Rights Law to include elected officials and public entities.
Pass the Equal Rights Amendment in New York State: Ensure that the state constitution gives women equal status under any New York State law.
Hold Public Hearings Across New York State for Survivors of Sexual and/or Gender Based Violence: Allow survivors to publicly disclose their experiences of sexual and/or gender based violence in their communities, at the hands of law enforcement, and in their workplaces, inclusive of former and current staff of the New York State legislature and New York State agencies
Reform and Appropriately Fund a Truly Independent New York State Division of Human Rights: Ensure an independent body oversees all discrimination policy enforcement, including sexual and/or gender based discrimination.
Launch a Comprehensive, Community-Centered Process to Amend and Improve the 2018 Sexual Harassment Legislation Requiring: In 2018, Governor Cuomo quickly passed a law in response to the ‘me too.’ movement to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Given the haste with which the law was passed, there are countless gaps with the law itself and implementation. Survivors, survivor advocates and organizations with experience in violence prevention should advise on changes to the law.
Increase Protections for Survivors of Violence Seeking Redress for Damages: Amend the New York State Human Rights Law to allow for individual liability for discrimination and amend state laws to include employer liability where a manager or supervisor has constructive notice of discrimination.
Pass a “Sunshine in Litigation” law: Pass a law to prevent serial harassers from hiding behind nondisclosure agreements and provide greater protections against victim coercion to sign nondisclosure agreements.
Grant Clemency to Survivors of Intimate Partner and Domestic Violence: Use executive power to ensure incarcerated women and trans women who survived intimate partner and domestic violence can return home to their families and communities.
Unity Principle: Ending State Violence
Repeal Civil Rights Law Section 50-A: Repeal Civil Rights Law 50-A which has been used by law enforcement agencies to hide internal discipline, including histories of gender based violence, sexual assault or other forms of misconduct, from public review.
Codify and Expand the Special Prosecutor Executive Order: Provide the Attorney General’s office with jurisdiction in all cases of police killings and deaths in police custody, memorializing and strengthening Executive Order 147.
Repeal Loitering for the Purposes of Prostitution, Condoms as Evidence and the criminalization of people who share in a range of experiences associated with commercial sexual labor, commercial sexual exploitation, and/or trafficking. Assure the full decriminalization of the many ways in which individuals who engage in commercial sexual labor or are survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and/or trafficking might be harrassed, profiled or otherwise criminalized by a range of punitive laws that disproportionately target them.
Pass the Separation of Children Accountability Response (SCAR) Act: Require state-contracted facilities to provide the public with a recurring report every 15 days that outlines the number of children held within its facilities.
Pass bail and discovery overhaul legislation: End mass pretrial jailing, eliminate money bail and reduce incarceration of low-income, working class, Black & Brown people, women and girls.
Pass legislation to expand parole release: Codify presumptive release and elder release to reduce state prison populations.
Decriminalize fare evasion: Classify public transit fare evasion from a misdemeanor to a civil penalty.
Ensure that marijuana legalization employs a racial and gender equity strategy: Ensure that the impending legalization of marijuana in New York State happens alongside the expungements of criminal records, implements an equity strategy so communities disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs have priority access to the industry, and that caregivers of children are not deemed neglectful by city or county child protective agencies because of marijuana possession.
Halt Solitary Confinement: End the destructive practice of solitary confinement.
Unity Principle: Reproductive Rights & Justice
Pass the Reproductive Health Act (RHA): Brings New York’s abortion law in line with Roe v. Wade and clarify that licensed advanced practice clinicians (APCs) trained in abortion care can provide abortion services, per their scope of practice.
Pass the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (CCCA): Requires insurers to cover contraception appropriate to the patient with no copay, allows pharmacies to dispense of up to 12 months of contraception, ensures affordability and timely access to contraception including Plan B.
Expand Doula coverage cross New York State: Revise and then expand the recently announced pilot program for doula care for new parents with input from stakeholders and doula care specialists who are already serving the communities in need with particular attention to health equity for Black women
Pass the New York Health Act: Implement single payer healthcare in New York State.
Unity Principle: Racial Justice
Require racial equity assessments: Establish a legislative committee on racial equity in both houses of the New York State Legislature to review and prepare a racial equity impact statement for all legislation.
Expand protections against hate crimes: Protect targeted communities from hate crimes and violence with particular attention to the needs of trans, undocumented, Black, Muslim and Jewish communities - and ensure that solutions for justice expand beyond pushing perpetrators of violence into the criminal legal system.
Unity Principle: LGBTQIA+ Rights
Codify the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA): Codify GENDA, protecting LGBT New Yorkers from discrimination - and ensure that solutions for justice expand beyond pushing perpetrators of violence into the criminal legal system.
Pass a Conversion Therapy Ban: Prevent mental health professionals from providing sexual orientation change efforts to minors by defining such activities as professional misconduct.
Unity Principle: Immigrant Rights
Pass Driver's Licenses for All: Ensures that New York's "standard" licenses are accessible to all state residents, regardless of immigration status.
Pass the TRUST Act: Limit local police involvement in federal immigration enforcement
Pass the Protect Our Courts Act: Curb predatory ICE apprehension activities in New York State Courthouses.
Pass the NYS DREAM Act: Create the New York DREAM fund commission and amend eligibility requirements and conditions governing certain awards.
Adopt Freedom City Platform: Expand New York’ s commitment to immigrant communities making New York state not only a sanctuary city but a Freedom City, which expands protections for all undocumented people living and working in New York State.
Expand legal protections: Double the current funding to support immigrant New Yorkers facing deportation with legal representation.
Unity Principle: Economic Justice & Worker's Rights
Pass One Fair Wage: Eliminate the tipped minimum wage in New York State.
Pass a Salary History Ban: Eliminate the ability for employers to inquire about a prospective employee's past salary history.
Ensure equal pay for “substantially similar” work.
Pass Paid Sick Days: Requires all employers in New York State to offer employees sick time to care for themselves or a family member.
Unity Principle: Civil Rights & Liberties
Support the right to free speech: Protect the right to full freedom of speech of organizations and institutions, including the right to boycott and align with social justice movements.
Fully fund 2020 Census Outreach: Ensure that New York's “hard to count” communities can be meaningfully engaged to avoid an undercount, and gaps in federal funding for the 2020 Census.
Prohibit discrimination on the basis of religious attire: Protect workers against discrimination for wearing any sort of religiously motivated attire in the workplace.
Unity Principle: Disability Rights
Ensure that New Yorkers with disabilities are not exempt from state minimum wage or overtime requirements: Eliminate New York State minimum wage laws that allow employers to pay employees with disabilities less than the minimum wage or exempt employees with disabilities from overtime requirements.
Ensure full accessibility of mass transit: Develop a plan for full accessibility of all mass transit systems across New York State, including the Metropolitan Transit Authority, ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Clarify the scope of protections against discrimination on the basis of disability under the New York state human rights law: Ensure protections for New Yorkers with disabilities for employment, public accommodations and government services to be consistent with the ADA and Division of Human Rights.
Expand tuition assistance: Expand state tuition assistance coverage for students with disabilities beyond four years.
Expand access to medical marijuana for students with disabilities: Permit the administration of medical marijuana to students while at school and individuals with developmental disabilities while receiving services at a facility.
Establish a statewide system for emergency response for individuals experiencing mental health crises: Move towards replacing police departments as first responders to individuals experiencing mental health emergencies with trained mental health professionals who can respond appropriately.
Unity Principle: Environmental Justice
Advance a green new deal for New York State that includes racial and gender equity measures: Ensure New York shifts away from fossil fuels and towards 100% renewable energy, while creating new business opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses and job opportunities for communities who have the highest rates of unemployment in the state.
End contamination of public facilities: Ensure full compliance with state and federal regulations ensuring oversight of environmental hazards in public housing, schools, hospitals and public accommodations, including lead and asbestos.
Implement the demands of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity: Ensure full compliance with the calls to action of the Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE).
Expand Title IX Protections: Expand Title IX protections beyond the federal requirements at all institutions receiving federal funding, including both K-12 schools and college campuses and expand the number of Title IX Coordinators at school districts across New York State.
Implement culturally responsive education: Implement culturally responsive education at all grade levels in New York State schools.
Implement Safe & Supportive Schools: Eliminate suspensions in grades K - 3 and implement restorative justice practices in schools statewide.
Expand adult literacy education: Invest in community-based English as a Second Language (ESOL) and other instruction with attention to enrolling immigrant women, including parents.
Expand access to the Excelsior Scholarship to undocumented students.
Fund universal high-quality, full-day early childhood education and Pre-Kindergarten across New York State.
End ICE cooperation with school safety officers.
LOCAL SPONSORS AND PARTNERS (List in formation):
African Services Committee
African Communities Together
Alliance for Quality Education (AQE)
Anti Violence Project (AVP)
Arab American Association of New York
Arab-American Family Support Center
Bangladeshi Feminist Collective
The Brotherhood-Sister Sol
Churches United To Save And Heal (CUSH)
Democratic Socialists of American (DSA)
El Centro del Inmigrante
Fifth Avenue Committee, Inc.
Girls For Gender Equity (GGE)
Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP)
The Justice League
Lower East Side Girls’ Club
LSA Family Health Service, Inc.
National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981
New Sanctuary Coalition
New York State Nurses Association
Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation (NMIC)
NYS Interfaith Network for Immigration Reform
South Asian Fund For Education,Scholarship and Training (SAFEST)
UNITE HERE Local 100
Violence Intervention Program, Inc.
The Women’s March in New York City is an event that welcomes adults, youth, families, elders and New Yorkers from all communities.
Women’s March NYC (WMNYC) is the local New York City Chapter of the Women’s March Network and seeks to empower social justice work in the city. We are deeply invested in racial justice, gender justice, women’s rights, and voting rights which we address through special events, cross-community dialogue and creative direct action. We aspire to be a truly inclusive chapter, led by black women and women of color engaged in direct action year round with rooted partnerships to local organizations that align with our Unity Principles. We seek to amplify existing social justice organizing, plus produce WMNYC specific events and actions in the spirit of building a more inclusive city and state.
The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for more than 200 groups in New York State. We envision a New York state that is stronger because all people are welcome, treated fairly, and given the chance to pursue their dreams. Our mission is to unite immigrants, members, & allies so all New Yorkers can thrive. We represent the collective interests of New York's diverse immigrant communities and organizations and devise solutions to advance them; advocate for laws, policies, and programs that lead to justice and opportunity for all immigrant groups; and build the power of immigrants and the organizations that serve them to ensure their sustainability, to improve people's lives, and to strengthen our state.
Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) is an intergenerational, advocacy organization committed to the physical, psychological, social, and economic development of girls and women. Through youth organizing, leadership development, and community-building for gender and racial equity, GGE challenges structural forces - racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, economic inequality - that work to constrict the freedom, full expression, and rights of trans and cis girls, young women of color, and gender non-conforming youth.