Advocacy

ADVOCACY

The YWCA Central Alabama is committed to advocacy that supports our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women.

 

Currently, the Social Justice Committee’s main local advocacy is advocating and supporting legislation to limit predatory lending within the state.

 

Title pawn and pay day loan store fronts, often located in low-income and predominantly African American neighborhoods, contribute to poverty and inequality. These small cash advances come with high-interest rates which often cause people on the brink of poverty to sink deeply into debt.

If you'd like to know more about predatory lending and its effects on our state, the Southern Poverty Law Center has published a report which can be viewed on their website: Easy Money, Impossible Debt: How Predatory Lending Traps Alabama's Poor Take action today!


Two organizations that have taken the lead on predatory lending reform are Alabama Appleseed and Alabama Arise. These organizations frequently update their websites and alert individuals about ways to promote predatory lending reform.

The YWCA is a member organization of the Alliance for Responsible Lending in Alabama (ARLA) and joins with partners, some of whom have dedicated countless hours to research this issue and advocate for change. We are grateful for the leadership shown by Alabama Appleseed, Alabama Arise, Birmingham Faith in Action,G reater Birmingham Ministries, Alabama Federation of Republican Women, Alabama Possible, Alabama State Convention of the NAACP, Birmingham Metro Diversity Coalition,Gateway Financial Freedom ,Zonta, and AARP.  

 

To stay up to date and find out how you can get involved with our predatory lending reform advocacy efforts like the ARLA facebook page (hyperlink to https://www.facebook.com/ARLAlabama).

 

To find resources for alternatives to pay day and title loans, check out Nerd Wallet (hyperlink to https://www.nerdwallet.com/).



Predatory Lending in the Media

http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2013/12/across_birmingham_area_cities.html

http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2013/12/birmingham_city_council_extend_2.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/29/opinion/payday-loans-cost-the-poor-billions-and-theres-an-easy-fix.html?ref=opinion&_r=1

http://www.tuscaloosanews.com/article/20151021/news/151029912

http://www.wtvm.com/story/30335903/possible-legislation-could-force-reduction-of-maximum-payday-loan-interest-rate

http://www.gadsdentimes.com/article/20151024/NEWS/151029917/1001/NEWS?Title=OUR-VIEW-Payday-loan-stats-in-Alabama-staggering

http://www.al.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/10/how_payday_lenders_get_their_m.html

http://www.timesdaily.com/news/state-capital/state-database-shows-payday-loans-in-months/article_d5982a0c-e947-5d56-b896-c71d42814bec.html

http://www.wsfa.com/story/30202434/alabama-payday-loan-database-showing-big-numbers-in-short-time

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/09/08/what-happens-when-the-government-limits-payday-lending/

 


 

Other local advocacy priorities are:

Alabama Constitutional Reform

The YWCA Central Alabama supports rewriting the antiquated 1901 Alabama State Constitution as it clearly violates our mission to eliminate racism and empower women. The constitution over-centralizes legislative power in Montgomery, it disempowers local governments and it keeps our state’s regressive tax structure in place. While portions of the constitution written expressly to disenfranchise African Americans and poor whites have been overturned, the language that remains in the constitution is a shameful reminder of a discriminatory past and the resulting disparities in the present.

To learn more about Alabama Constitutional reform, visit Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform

Repeal of HB 56 and other racist, anti-immigrant legislation

The YWCA Central Alabama supports the repeal of HB-56 and other racist, anti-immigrant state legislation as it stands in the way our mission and work. Domestic violence services are a cornerstone of the YWCA’s mission to empower women. HB56 discourages undocumented domestic violence victims from taking legal action against their abuser out of fear of being detained or taken away from their children. The YWCA is committed to eliminating racism on an institutional and individual level. A provision of HB56 allows law enforcement to detain and question anyone they deem “reasonably suspicious” of being undocumented. This provision legalizes and institutionalizes the practice of racial profiling, as the only basis for “suspicion” is perceived race as determined by hair and skin color. The YWCA cares about all Alabama children, regardless of their race or immigration status. HB56 is detrimental to the physical and emotional wellbeing of children.

To learn more about the repeal of HB 56 and other racist, anti-immigrant legislation, visit the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice

Public transportation in Birmingham

The YWCA Central Alabama recognizes that having safe, accessible and reliable public transportation is essential to helping the women and families we serve move toward economic security.

To learn more about public transportation in Birmingham, visit ARISE Citizens' Policy Project and Greater Birmingham Ministries.

 

Protection for GLBTQ youth

Because the YWCA Central Alabama cares about the safety and emotional well-being of all Alabama children, we support the establishment of policies and laws that protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning and gender non-conforming youth and students. 

To learn more about protection for GLBTQ youth, visit the Alabama Safe Schools Coalition.

 

Educational disparities in greater Birmingham and the Schools to Prisons Pipeline

Institutional racism has created de-facto segregation in Birmingham neighborhoods and schools. Birmingham city schools are under-performing, majority minority and have a troubling trend of in-school police violence against students for non-criminal offenses. The YWCA Central Alabama supports reforms to the educational and juvenile justice systems that promote equality, encourage students to stay in school and discourage disproportionate prosecution of minority teens.

To learn more about educational disparties in greater Birmingham and the Schools to Prisons Pipeline, visit theAmerican Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

 

Tax inequity

Held in place by the 1901 state constitution, Alabama’s regressive tax code—with low property tax, high sales tax and more deductions for high-earning families—overburdens the poor. The YWCA Central Alabama supports revisions to the tax code so that it will be more equitable and less harmful to poor women and families in the state.

To learn more about tax inequity, visit ARISE Citizens' Policy Project.