Outline Immigrant Women Policy Roundtable Report2

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					      Policy Roundtable Report
  Immigrant Women: Assessing Needs,
            Building Allies
                      December 5, 2001




                      Sponsored by:
 The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society
Rockefeller College, University at Albany, Draper Hall 302




Made possible by the generous support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
                                  Executive Summary
    Policy Roundtable: Immigrant Women Assessing Needs, Building Allies

       On December 5, 2001, immigrant women from across New York State met in a Policy
Roundtable convened by the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society. Bosnian, Arab-
American, Filipina, Caribbean, Chinese, Latina, South Asian, and Asian-Pacific Island women
discussed state policy changes needed to address immigrant women’s issues and how immigrant
women's advocacy voices can be supported and strengthened.

       Participants endorsed two fundamental ideas: (1) immigrant women must be at the
table when the state makes policy, and (2) state program implementation must draw on
immigrant women’s skills and knowledge of the barriers caused by gender, race, and
xenophobia. The energy and courage of immigrant women must be recognized as
invaluable assets in strengthening a state in which one-fifth of all residents are foreign-
born.

Crosscutting Policy Issues: Frequently during the roundtable, women identified issues that
extend to multiple state agencies. Observations were made in nine areas:
    1. Immigrant women themselves offer skills uniquely valuable in addressing the needs of
       other women in their communities, especially with respect to cultural understanding,
       gender sensitivity and language.
    2. All service providers for immigrant women should be trained on immigrant issues,
       gender issues and legal protections in order to provide culturally appropriate, safe, and
       accessible assistance.
    3. A major barrier for immigrant women is inadequate legal information on the complex
       interrelationships of immigration status and access to education, benefits and services
    4. Creation of an Immigrant Women’s Task Force at the state level would provide an
       institutional commitment to the development of appropriate policy across state agencies
       and facilitate sharing useful program approaches.
    5. State funding that targets immigrant communities as special populations and supports
       community-based organizations would provide the most accessible services to immigrant
       women.
    6. For immigrant women to receive needed services, language accessibility must take into
       account the reality of the state’s many languages.
    7. Funding must be made commensurate with need.
    8. The resettlement services model proven effective with refugees should be expanded to
       meet the needs of other immigrant women and of refugee women whose special needs
       extend beyond the current five-year limit.
    9. When specific immigrant communities are targeted, such as in the aftermath of
       September 11th, state policy must address concerns about INS reporting and hate crimes,
       in order that fear does not prevent immigrant women from accessing needed services.




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System-specific Policy Issues: Roundtable participants also identified many system-specific
policy issues in the areas of health, labor, mental health, public benefits, education, housing,
criminal justice, child welfare, and developmental disability. These issues are summarized as
follows:
     Ensuring immigrant women’s health requires improved outreach, attention to particular
      problems of access, and availability without regard to immigration status throughout the
      full range of physical and mental health services, with particular attention to reproductive
      health, the prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault, HIV-AIDS prevention and
      addressing special needs such as developmental disability.
     Labor law changes are needed to protect immigrant women working in agriculture, in
      sweatshop industries, and in private homes as domestic workers, as well as to protect
      women from trafficking for sexual exploitation.
     More training and educational programs are needed, including provisions for learning
      English and seamless childcare for a successful transition to the workplace.
     Affordable and adequate housing meets a basic human need and should be made available
      without regard to immigration status.
     Special-needs advocates must be provided to help immigrant women faced with losing
      children to the child welfare system or whose children need diagnosis for mental health,
      developmental disability, or other services.

Building Alliances: Multiple strategies will be needed to obtain state public policy action on the
complex issues identified. Roundtable workgroups focused on one strategy, linking immigrant
women’s groups with statewide advocacy organizations that already have a presence in Albany.

        Useful initiatives proposed for statewide organizations included: highlighting immigrant
women’s issues at lobby days; designating an Immigrant Specialist to facilitate relationships with
local immigrant women’s groups; educating local affiliates on immigrant women’s issues; and
making staff and board inclusive of immigrant women.

        The workgroups also identified projects that local and state organizations could undertake
together, such as coordination of media outreach on policy issues, pairing a local immigrant
woman with an Albany spokesperson; creation of focus groups to deepen understanding of an
issue; development of action research projects to document problems and potential solutions; and
establishment of listserv, phone list and fax networks to facilitate information sharing.

Next Steps: The Center agreed to establish a listserv and form an Advisory Committee for the
project. Immigrant women’s issues will be a key area on the Center’s PIN-NY (Policy
Information Network of NYS) website under development. Priority will be given to organizing
in-depth forums on specific issues raised during the roundtable, while Center staff will explore
potential partners and resources to develop other program ideas. The Policy Roundtable ended
with participants expressing a sense of empowerment because together it might be possible to
focus the attention of policy makers on the potential contributions and needs of New York
State’s immigrant women.




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                        Policy Roundtable
           Immigrant Women: Assessing Needs, Building Allies
Introduction
        Although almost two million immigrant women and girls now live in New York State,
their experiences, needs, and knowledge of culturally appropriate solutions are largely invisible
when state policy is made. The tragedy of September 11th and the subsequent challenges facing
all immigrant women, especially women of color and undocumented women, have only
underscored the need for policies thoughtfully responsive to the impact of gender, race, and
xenophobia. The Center for Women in Government & Civil Society decided to go directly to
immigrant women to ask them how state policy needs to be changed and how the Center could
contribute to strengthening immigrant women’s advocacy voices.

         Designed as the first step in a multi-year project, the Center hosted a Policy Roundtable
on December 5, 2001, bringing together thirty-five women representing local immigrant
organizations and statewide advocacy groups. Leaders of organizations from Buffalo to Long
Island, from New York City to the rural Southern Tier, began a conversation that will lead to
empowering immigrant women and their allies to advocate for improved state policies.

Policy Roundtable Goals
        The goals of the Policy Roundtable were three-fold:
       (1) to identify the major issues facing immigrant women and their communities that
            may be addressed by changes in policy at the state level, such as increased or more
            targeted state resources, improvements in state programs and changes in state law;
       (2) to brainstorm strategies for building alliances between local immigrant women and
            statewide policy advocates; and
       (3) to consider useful programmatic roles for the Center for Women in Government &
            Civil Society that would strengthen immigrant women’s voices in the state’s public
            policy arena.

         Since 1978, the Center for Women in Government & Civil Society has sought innovative
ways to promote its core values of equity, access, diversity, and women’s leadership
development. As a public policy research and educational program of the Nelson A. Rockefeller
College of Public Affairs and Policy, University at Albany (SUNY), the Center links advocates
for women in government, the nonprofit world and academia. The Center’s Nonprofit Education
Initiative, sponsor of the Roundtable, helps nonprofits build capacity and strengthen new leaders.

        During the fall of 2001, the Center began the process of identifying immigrant women’s
organizations and local programs reaching immigrant women’s communities effectively. Since
September, the Center has located more than one hundred such groups in rural areas, suburbia
and major cities. These groups serve documented and undocumented immigrants, refugees,
migrant farm workers and others from a wide range of countries of origin.




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        At the Policy Roundtable, Bosnian, Arab-American, Filipina, Caribbean, Chinese, Latina,
South Asian, and Asian-Pacific Island women gathered to begin a collective needs assessment
process, an exciting event with voices speaking from the heart about how changed state policies
could help women in their communities. Immigrant women expressed eloquently their desire to
use their knowledge and skills to address the complex problems facing a very diverse state.
Women from statewide advocacy organizations listened, learned and considered how they could
support immigrant women's efforts.

Policy Issues Identified
        “Domestic workers day after day suffer silently the exploitation of isolation, and their
   employers take advantage of that. The government should have regulations for employment
                               agencies. We want the woman to become aware of her rights.”
                                       – Lillian Araujo, the Workplace Project, Hempstead

  “Women farm workers are isolated as workers and as women. They work long hours, have a
      lower minimum wage, and do not get overtime pay or a day of rest. Under these working
  conditions, women cannot nurture their children or participate in the community. When the
    legal status between husband and the wife differs, it can make it difficult to receive needed
                                                                                        services.”
                                   – Cheryl Gee, Farm Workers Legal Services, Rochester

       “Immigrant women often don’t know that prenatal care is available. Women who are
 smuggled into the country by their abusers are undocumented and can’t access medical care.
  When immigrant women are in the hospital, they lack interpreters. What good is a Patient’s
                                        Bill of Rights if it’s in a language you cannot read?”
                             – Anindita Chatterjee Bhaumik, Sanctuary for Families, NYC

      “My concern is with misinformation and lack of information in the refugee community.
    Although they have the right to study and go to university, many refugees believe that they
       only have the right to work. The erosion of intellectual potential among immigrant and
                                                                 refugee women is a problem.”
                                        – Vesna Sin, Mohawk Valley Resource Center, Utica

        In the first segment of the Policy Roundtable, the four women quoted above kicked off a
spirited and lengthy list of “burning” issues. While acknowledging the importance of federal
immigration policies, and particularly the pervasive fear that access to services will lead to
involvement of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), the focus of the group’s
brainstorm was: What can the State of New York do to alleviate problems facing immigrant
women?

        This discussion was seen as the first step in developing a blueprint for needed state public
policy changes. It was recognized that much work needs to be done to deepen this advocacy
agenda and develop strategies for change. The impact of gender was acknowledged to be
complex, with some issues clearly understood to impact women in a disproportionate way, such
as sexual assault, domestic violence and reproductive health. The gender impact on other issues,



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initially less visible, was seen as arising from patterns of discrimination in mainstream America,
such as inadequate labor protection for domestic workers, and issues of unequal access in
countries of origin, such as limits on education.

        Above all, participants endorsed two fundamental ideas: immigrant women must be
at the table when the state makes policy, and implementation of state programs must draw
on immigrant women’s skills and their knowledge of the barriers caused by gender, race,
and xenophobia. The energy and courage of immigrant women must be recognized as
invaluable assets in strengthening a state in which one-fifth of all residents are foreign-
born.

         While recognizing, as Anindita Chatterjee Bhaumik remarked, that “all our issues are
related,” this report attempts to group the concerns identified into two broad categories:
recommendations that crosscut many state agencies and those that should be addressed by a
particular state system.

Issues Cutting across State Systems
        Frequently during the roundtable, women identified issues that are not confined to
one state system but extend to multiple state agencies. Basic changes in the way the state
conceptualizes solutions could be of enormous benefit across the board. Observations were made
in nine areas:

   1. Immigrant women themselves offer skills uniquely valuable in designing and
      implementing programs to address the needs of other women in their communities:
       The cultural understanding and language skills of immigrant women themselves are
         resources largely untapped by the state. Providing financial support and childcare to
         immigrant women to undertake outreach and service provision within their own
         communities would remove many barriers to needed assistance and would be cost
         effective.
       Immigrant women have already provided leadership in the development of effective
         programs to address specific local needs. These programs should be replicated across
         the state.
       Immigrant women are community builders, demonstrated to be courageous and hard
         working in the face of uprootedness.

   2. All service providers for immigrant women should be trained on immigrant issues,
      gender issues and legal protections in order to provide culturally appropriate, safe,
      and accessible assistance.
       Training should be provided to state workers and to employees of local government
          and nonprofits implementing state-funded programs.
       Training should address xenophobia, racism and bigotry as well as gender issues.




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3. A major barrier for immigrant women is inadequate legal information on the
   complex interrelationships of immigration status and access to benefits and services.
    Extensive outreach materials should be provided on legal issues.
    Education should be provided on legal rights.
    More legal services should be available statewide to defend immigrants when their
      rights are denied or abused.

4. Creation of an Immigrant Women’s Task Force at the state level would provide an
   institutional commitment to the development of appropriate policy across state
   agencies and facilitate sharing useful program approaches.

5. State funding that targets immigrant communities as special populations and
   supports community-based organizations would provide the most accessible services
   to immigrant women.
    Immigrant women find organizations that are rooted in their own communities the
       most accessible. Thus, immigrant community-based organizations need targeted state
       resources. Immigrant communities should be designated as “special populations” for
       state funding streams. Federal guidelines targeting immigrant communities as special
       populations should be applied whenever the state passes federal funding through to a
       local agency.
    Immigrant community-based organizations cannot easily compete with mainstream,
       more established service providers. They require adequate state funding to ensure the
       growth and survival of culturally appropriate services. The state reimbursement
       system should ensure these small organizations receive timely resources.
    Public agencies should assist immigrant community-based organizations by providing
       data useful for documenting need in funding requests.
    Community-based service models, such a community health centers, should be
       supported.
    The state should encourage the development of collaborative efforts between local
       governments and immigrant community-based organizations, e.g. the Westchester
       coalition linking county government with organizations serving the Latina
       community.
    Special resources should be provided for services in rural areas, where immigrant
       women are particularly invisible and often experience acute isolation.

6. For immigrant women to receive needed services, language accessibility           must
   take into account the reality of the state’s many languages.
    Adequate interpreters should be provided, with training on issues of gender and
      immigration law and with expertise in areas of health care, mental health, and legal
      issues related to public benefits and immigrant status.
    Federal guidelines for language accessibility in federally funded programs should be
      enforced. If federal guidelines are weakened in the future, strong state guidelines
      should be developed.
    There should be adequate, standardized testing for interpreters in all languages.
    Interpreters should be trained in issues and terminology appropriate to services
      provided; e.g. the Kentucky model of statewide domestic violence training for all
      interpreters.

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            Further consideration should be given to the appropriateness of screening and
             background checks for interpreters.
            Outreach materials in multiple languages should be provided for all
             services; e.g. subway ads for domestic violence services not only in English.

   7. Funding must be made commensurate with need.
       If New York State is to benefit from its wonderful diversity of immigrant women, it
         must commit adequate resources for accessible and culturally competent programs so
         that immigrant women will be able to contribute fully to the life of the state.
       Utilizing the economic, cultural and political energy of immigrant women must
         become a priority even during a period of tightened state resources.
       The core of the problem - the poverty of immigrant women - must be addressed.
       Provider agencies in immigrant communities must be given the same kind of support
         available in other communities.

   8. The resettlement services model proven effective with refugees should be expanded
      to meet the needs of other immigrant women and of refugee women whose special
      needs extend beyond the current five-year limit.
       Although many of the services of the state’s Bureau of Refugee and Immigration
         Affairs are limited by funding source to the immigrant women who are refugees, they
         offer useful models for replication of services for all immigrant women.

   9. When specific immigrant communities are targeted, such as in the aftermath of
      September 11th, state policy must address concerns about INS reporting and hate
      crimes, in order that fear does not prevent immigrant women from accessing needed
      services.
       State policy must set a tone of respect for the service needs and safety of all
         immigrant communities, establishing systems that prevent unnecessary information
         sharing.
       Hate crimes based on national origin must be prevented.


System-specific Policy Issues
       Roundtable participants also identified many issues specific to particular state
agencies or systems.

Health
            Culturally appropriate and accessible services for domestic violence and sexual
             assault survivors; e.g., preventing women from being denied shelter due to lack of
             interpreters.
            Adequate access to family planning and other reproductive health services.
            Preservation of access for all immigrant women, regardless of immigration status, to
             pre-natal care, possibly requiring a change in state law.
            HIV/AIDS prevention and services sensitive to the immigration status problems
             related to partner notification and confidentiality of health status.


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           Development of HIV-AIDS prevention strategies in collaboration with countries and
            regions of origin; e.g., the Caribbean.
           Effective outreach to immigrant women on available services, such as P-CAP,
            Medicaid, and Family Health Care Plus.
           Access for undocumented women to health care through a state health safety net for
            those denied federal coverage based on immigration status.
           Training for county and nonprofit agencies enrolling immigrants for health care
            programs; e.g., to ensure county-level implementation of current state policy that
            there is no authority to report information concerning Medicaid applicants to the INS.
           Elimination of sponsor liability provisions under state and locally funded Medicaid,
            so that immigrants will not be afraid to seek medical treatment.
           Availability of the Patient’s Bill of Rights in one’s own language.
           Strengthening of the public health infrastructure, including policies to make it
            culturally competent.

Labor
           Labor law protection for domestic workers, including prevention of exploitation,
            recovery of unpaid wages, and regulation of employment agencies.
           Labor law protection for women farm workers, including the same minimum wage as
            non-farmers, a day of rest, overtime pay, childcare and education for migrant
            workers’ children, and the right to form unions.
           Protection against trafficking for sexual exploitation and other near-slavery working
            conditions, and services for survivors.
           Labor law protection for women workers in the garment and other sweatshop
            industries.
           Enforcement of anti-discrimination law in the workplace.

Mental Health
        Training for mental health workers on the impact of gender, culture and
          uprootedness.
        Access to proper evaluation of mental health conditions through interpreters who
          have professional training and cultural understanding.
        Development of peer support and outreach programs.

Public Benefits
        Provision for seamless childcare in transition from job training to job placement.
        Eligibility for immigrant women for education programs while receiving benefits.
        More job training programs that also include English instruction.
        State policy commitment that sponsors will be not be held liable for public benefits
          provided to immigrants, with extensive immigrant notification concerning the
          removal of this perceived barrier to needed support and services.

Education
       Utilizing/certifying immigrant women’s prior professional training.
       Utilizing immigrant women’s language skills and cultural understanding by providing
          additional training for such roles as: community outreach; working in the court


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           system; becoming firefighters and police; serving as interpreters; and conducting
           evaluations for services in mental health, developmental disabilities or other special
           needs.
          Educational incentive and scholarship programs to encourage immigrants to enroll in
           nonprofit management and professional service programs to provide the additional
           staff needed to run community-based organizations.
          Leadership training programs.
          Academic professional training that includes cultural sensitivity.
          Access to in-state rates for SUNY and CUNY for all graduates of NYS high schools,
           regardless of immigrant status.
          Being allowed to register children in school without a social security number.
          System for training and assessment of interpreters that includes standardized tests for
           all languages before certification is granted.
          Clarification of the conditions under which interpreters are allowed to charge for their
           services as independent contractors.

Housing
       A continuum of adequate and affordable housing, from temporary to transitional to
        permanent, available without regard to immigration status, especially for farm worker
        women and victims of domestic violence and trafficking.
       A state-supported per diem system for domestic violence shelters for women
        ineligible for federally funded services due to immigration status.
       A flexible housing subsidy program providing short-term rent assistance in financial
        crises.

Criminal Justice
       Protection for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence from legal
          vulnerability with respect to immigration status.

Child Welfare
       Provision of special-needs advocates to help immigrant women faced with losing
         children to the child welfare system.
       Identification and removal of immigrant-status barriers that prevent women from
         securing prevention and other services for their children and, if needed, kinship
         placement with other family members.
       Prevention of family disintegration due to lack of services needed to become self-
         sufficient and get out of poverty.

Developmental Disability
       Assistance for parents’ obtaining medical evaluation of children’s developmental
         disability at an age early enough to access state services and support.




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Workgroups: Developing Allies among Statewide Advocacy Organizations
        All agreed that multiple strategies will need to be developed over time to obtain state
public policy action on the many, complex issues which were identified. One important strategy
among these will be linking immigrant women’s groups with statewide advocacy organizations
that already have a presence in Albany.

       During the second segment of the roundtable, participants were assigned to workgroups
composed of a mix of representatives of local immigrant women’s projects and of statewide
advocacy organizations. The assignment for each workgroup was to brainstorm strategies for
building alliances between the local and statewide organizations in order to further policy work
on immigrant women’s issues.

        Kick-off speakers for each workgroup were paired to combine local and statewide
perspectives: Tanvi Tripathi from Sakhi for South Asian Women and Luz Marquez-Benbow
from the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault; Emira Habiby-Browne from the
Arab-American Family Support Center and Barbara Weiner from the New York Immigration
Coalition; and Yvonne Graham from the Caribbean Women’s Health Association and Karen
Anderson from Family Planning Advocates.


Strategies for Building an Allied Advocacy Relationship
        The three workgroups identified a number of steps that could be taken by a statewide
organization to make itself an effective ally for immigrant women. In addition, strategies were
suggested which could be jointly undertaken by statewide and local groups. A number of other
relationship-strengthening activities, not specifically related to advocacy, were identified as well,
which could contribute to the potential for long-term collaborative work.

Steps that a statewide organization, already active in the advocacy arena, could take to
support immigrant women’s concerns:

          Highlight an immigrant women’s issue in its lobby day and encourage local
           immigrant women’s participation.
          Place immigrant women’s issues on its action agenda, educating its current
           constituents and advocating with state agency and legislative policy makers; e.g.
           Family Planning Advocate’s 2001 work on immigrant access to reproductive health
           care, which included the development of a fact sheet by a statewide committee of
           family planning providers and FPA participation in advocacy organized by the New
           York Immigration Coalition to restore Medicaid coverage for immigrants.
          Designate one staff person as an Immigrant Specialist to facilitate relationships with
           local immigrant women’s groups and to deepen understanding of issues.
          Visit local projects, to learn about immigrant women and their programs on their
           home terrain.
          When a local group has an event, attend and bring policy makers.
          Include immigrant women among its staff.
          Invite leaders of grassroots immigrant women’s organizations to serve on its board.

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           Include grass-roots immigrant women’s organizations among the provider groups in
            its membership.
           Provide training on immigrant women’s issues and the development of culturally
            appropriate programs for member organizations in its statewide coalition.
           Offer an empowering, skills-building workshop on advocacy for local immigrant
            women.
           Strengthen the capacity of local immigrant women’s groups to undertake advocacy by
            sharing experience in organizational development issues, such as fund raising, board
            development, and collaboration.
           Link upstate and downstate organizations to advocate for immigrant women’s needs
            statewide.
           Document the big picture, the cost of unmet needs to the state.


Projects that local and state organizations could undertake together:

           Statewide and local organizations could coordinate media outreach on policy issues,
            identifying spokeswomen teams which pair a local immigrant woman with an Albany
            advocate.
           Statewide and local organizations could together develop focus groups to deepen
            understanding of an issue.
           State and local groups could work together with academics on action research
            projects to document problems and solutions.
           Development of a listserv, phone list and fax network could facilitate information
            sharing; e.g. networking and listserv models like those developed by the National
            Network on Behalf of Battered Immigrant Women.
           National and international guidelines on women’s rights could serve as a framework
            for shared advocacy.
           State and local groups could help each other identify other potential allies, people and
            organizations with overlapping missions.

Other relationship-building activities:

       Groups could coordinate fund-raising efforts; e.g. the Westchester Women’s Agenda
        through which nonprofits headed by women seek funding together.
       Groups could share a model RFP response, for individual adaptation, to facilitate
        applications for public funding.
       Statewide organizations could provide local groups technical assistance on training and
        evaluation; e.g., the catalytic work of the West Virginia Governor’s Cabinet for Children
        and Families, or the empowerment approach of the NYS Turning Point Initiative.
       State and local groups could develop joint programmatic or service initiatives.
       A system of regular opportunities to come together in person, through potlucks and other
        informal meetings, could strengthen working relationships.




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How the Center Can Help Strengthen Immigrant Women’s Voices
       The Center asked participants to help identify ways the Center can assist immigrant
women to have a stronger voice in the public policy arena. The tools the Center has developed
over the years provided a framework for this discussion:
        Training programs in public policy analysis and advocacy;
        Leadership development programs;
        Analysis of inter-related barriers, in this case, gender, race and xenophobia;
        Research to document problems and reframe the public debate.


Identified Potential Center Program Initiatives

          Policy forums, to deepen analysis of individual issues, including linking immigrant
           women with the Center’s in-government allies as well as those from the nonprofit
           advocacy world.
          Creation of an Immigrant Women’s Vision Paper, an overall framework for state
           policies respectful of the needs and rights of immigrant women.
          Sharing policy information, analysis and resources, through inclusion of
           immigrant women’s issues in the Center’s new PIN-NY Program (Policy Information
           Network of NYS), currently under development.
          Leadership development, including training in public policy advocacy, media
           outreach, and organizational capacity building.
          Network strengthening, including establishment of a listserv, conference
           opportunities to build statewide relationships, and possibly establishment of an
           immigrant women’s task force.
          Educational programs for potential allies, such as Cultural Diversity Panels
           presented by immigrant women from different regions of origin, on the cultural
           context for developing services and making policy; and the development of an
           Immigrant Women’s Speakers Bureau.
          Action research, linking academic researchers with the needs of local projects to
           document needs and the effectiveness of program strategies.
          A mapping project, using 2000 census data to create a statewide spatial analysis of
           issues facing immigrant women.
          A global networking project, linking NYS women activists with advocates in
           immigrants’ countries of origin, to build cultural understanding and share change
           strategies.

Next Steps
       The Center agreed to establish a listserv and form an Advisory Committee for the project.
Immigrant women’s issues will be a key area of the Center’s PIN-NY (Policy Information
Network of NYS) website under development. The Center will give priority to organizing in-
depth forums on specific issues raised at the roundtable during the months ahead. Center staff




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also will be working hard to explore potential partners and resources to develop the other
exciting program ideas as rapidly as possible. Maud Easter, Director of Program Development,
and Program Associates Dina Refki and Kori Robinson will continue to staff the project, and
Julia Koschinsky will include immigrant women in the advisory board developing PIN-NY.

Closing Circle
         Participants gathered at the end of the day for a closing circle. Over and over, women
expressed the empowerment of coming together, being able to share not only the enormous
problems faced by their communities, but also the potential for advocating together for needed
change. Women remarked on the similarity of problems faced all across the state. The
possibilities of advocacy training, the strengthening of new leaders and the development of new
allies all seemed welcome gifts. Above all, the vision beckoned: together it could be possible to
focus the attention of policy makers on the potential contributions and the needs of all the state’s
immigrant women.




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Policy Roundtable Participant List
Ladan Alomar
Centro Civico of Amsterdam Inc.
Amsterdam, NY

Karen Anderson
Family Planning Associates
Albany, NY

Martha Anderson
My Sisters' Place
White Plains, NY

Lilliam Araujo
The Workplace Project
Hempstead, NY

Carol Aronowitz
Refugee Assistance Program
Binghamton, NY

Ioana D. Balint
Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees
Utica, NY

Susan C. Blanca
Spanish Action League
Syracuse, NY

Anindita Chatterjee Bhaumik
Sanctuary for Families
New York, NY

Robin Christenson
Schulyer Center for Analysis & Advocacy
Albany, NY

Joan Combellick
Hudson Valley Migrant Health
New Paltz, NY

Melissa Devine
National Association of Social Workers – NY Chapter
Albany, NY

Julie Dinnerstein
Sanctuary for Families
New York, NY



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Anne Doabler
International Institute of Buffalo
Buffalo, NY

Ilze Earner
Immigrants & Child Welfare Project
New York, NY

Kay Embrey
Cornell Migrant Program
Alton, NY

Felicidad Frenette
International Institute of Buffalo
Buffalo, NY

Cheryl Gee
Farm Workers' Legal Services
Rochester, NY

Yvonne Graham
Caribbean Women's Health Association
Brooklyn, NY

Emira Habiby-Browne
The Arab-American Family Support Center
Brooklyn, NY

Angela Lee
NY Asian Women's Center
New York, NY

Anne Liske
NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Albany, NY

Martha Lopez
Office of the County Executive, Westchester Co. - Office of Hispanic Affairs
White Plains, NY

Luz Marquez-Benbow
NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Albany, NY

Diane Metz
Women's Bar Association - The Legal Project, Inc.
Albany, NY

Alejandra Molina
Farm Workers' Institute
Geneva, NY


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Patti Jo Newell
NYS Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Albany, NY

Eloisa Perez-Suarez
CWIGCS - Board of Directors
Albany, NY

Myrna Rivera-Plotsky
Orange County Safe Homes Project, Inc.
Newburg, NY

Vesna Sin
Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees
Utica, NY

Ana Soares
International Development Group
Albany, NY

Nancy Tejada-Ward
Northern Westchester Shelter
Pleasantville, NY

Tanvi Tripathi
Sakhi for South Asian Women
New York, NY

Glenda Villajuan
Philipino - American Human Services
New York, NY

Lorie Von Brown
Caribbean Women's Health Association
Brooklyn, NY

Sujata Warrier
NYS Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence
Asian Pacific Islander Inst. on Domestic Violence, New York, NY

Barbara Weiner
Greater Upstate Law Project
Albany, NY




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Staff Participant List
Judith R. Saidel
Executive Director
(518) 442-3896
saidel@albany.edu

Maud Easter
Director of Program Development
(518) 442-3887
easter@albany.edu

Julia Koschinsky
Director, Policy Information Network of New York State (PIN-NY)
(518) 442-5781
pin.ny@albany.edu

Alison Ciesielski Olin
Office Manager
(518) 442-3898
abs@csc.albany.edu

Dina Refki
Program Coordinator/Research Associate
(518) 442-5127
dinarefki@hotmail.com

Kori Robinson
Program Development Associate
(518) 442-3863
korimelissa@hotmail.com

Cathy Stanford
Consultant
(518) 442-3900

Margery Saunders
Director, Nonprofit Education Initiative and Fellowship on Women & Public Policy
(518) 442- 3875
mcs@albany.edu

Amy Wines
Fiscal Systems Manager
(518) 442-3898
wines@csc.albany.edu




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Center for Women in Government & Civil Society
           University at Albany, SUNY
         135 Western Avenue, Draper 302
               Albany, NY 12222
     Tel (518) 442-3900/ Fax (518) 442-3877
             Email: cwig@albany.edu
              www.cwig.albany.edu




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