Rights, Realities, and Resilience
As I read the news each day, I find new resolve to continue pushing further forward in our mission. I’m also reminded just how much we will have to work together in response to legislative and institutional changes that make it even more difficult for women to be healthy, safe, and thrive.
While we have yet to see the full impact of proposed federal policy revisions that would roll back recent advancements, we must prepare for deep and pervasive cuts to critical social programs – including services and support for survivors of domestic violence and access to women’s healthcare. We are also facing growing stigmatization of immigrant and LGBTQ communities. On the road ahead, it is clear that our most vulnerable neighbors will need us more than ever. One chilling example is a reduction in reports of sexual assault and abuse among Latinas - likely caused by a new climate of fear that discourages victims from speaking up and seeking help. We cannot turn around and look away from these troubling trends. They are here. But so are we.
We have spent the last decade working to address domestic violence and find new ways to mitigate its reverberant effects on women, children, men, and families. We’ve supported the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act in California to ensure that simply being a woman is not considered a pre-existing condition. We’ve collaborated and innovated, and now we must continue to hold firmly to our values to ensure that every human being is treated with respect and dignity.
As a Foundation and partner, we will not allow a culture of violence and inequality to become the status quo. The rights of women are the very key to our advancement as a society. We cannot move forward if the wellbeing of women and girls is held back. Fortunately, there are still signs of progress here in California and across the country. People, organizations, and communities are doing the hard work needed to promote health and safety. For example:
- Orange County continues to lead an innovative grassroots collaborative that is bridging the divide between local sectors and organizations to support women’s health and wellbeing; and
- The L.A. Board of Supervisors just approved the use of one of the largest public hospitals in the country as temporary shelter for victims of domestic violence; and
- The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) recently announced a strategic plan to address and prevent intimate partner violence by engaging allies and advocates within the healthcare system.
We are committed to helping these sources of light grow throughout our state as we work together to build a brighter future for every woman and every Californian.
Peter Long, PhD
President & CEO, Blue Shield of California Foundation