April 2016 Newsletter
From the President
George Garland

We welcome our new Board Vice Presidents- Peg Shannon for Advocacy, Melinda Richardson for Communications, and Ginger Stillman for New Chapter Development-and new officers Treasurer Julie Joseph and Secretary Corinne Whitaker.
Our VPs have been busy! At our March 7 board meeting, Peg presented a master list of Division members in their Congressional Districts that will facilitate advocacy efforts. Melinda led a lively discussion about improved division communications and gave us a look at her forthcoming website redesign. Ginger is making plans on chapter development in the Bronx and Nassau County.
February and March were packed with Division and Chapter events and programs. Over 700 members attended our February 19 Members Day, including students from over 100 colleges and universities. During the day of provocative and informative panels, more than 1,000 calls for action were tweeted to Congress! FYI, our Division will again support Members Day in 2017, and UNA-USA is exploring use of the General Assembly to accompany an even larger attendance. We thank the financial support received from UNA New York, Queens, and Northern New Jersey, as well as members Joan Levy and Gabriel Levitt.
Looking ahead, we are marking our calendars for the UNA-USA Leadership Summit and Annual Meeting to be held June 12-14 in Washington, DC. On June 14, "Members Day on the Hill" will include visits with our representatives to discuss advocacy.
Our next Division board meeting is scheduled for May 4. Looking forward to hearing from you!

 News Around the Division
 Celebrating International Women's Day

On  March 5, UNA-USA Westchester and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority celebrated at the Yonkers Public Library. More than 120 attended the program, including 20 AFS students. Their 2016 theme was "Women's Political Empowerment: Cracking the Glass Ceiling." The program featured H.E. Ms. Nguyen Phuong Nga, the Ambassador of Vietnam to the UN, State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Professor Joan Katen, Professor of Peace, Justice and Sustainability Studies at Pace University.

UNA-NY celebrated by  screening the film "Mustang" on March 11. The film was nominated for best foreign film Oscar and tells the story of five Turkish teenage sisters punished by their family for "playful" behavior and their subsequent subversive actions.
Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) Programs

UNA-SNY presented a program, "Responding to the Climate Crisis: Adolescent Girls at the  Center of the Storm," on March 16 at the UN Foundation and moderated by Corinne Whitaker, the board's secretary. Holly Atkinson, representing Girls in Emergencies Collaborative, highlighted the dramatic increase in past 15 years of climate change events and emergencies, as well as man-made disasters, and their impact on displacement-the unique risks facing adolescent girls. Arati Patel, represented the Earth Child Institute shared the messages of "Adolescent Girls at the Tipping Point of Sustainable Development" from UNDP's "Powerful Synergies: Gender Equality, Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability." The program included a strategizing discussion with the audience.

On  March 17 UNA-SNY Young Professionals presented a panel program, "Women's Responses to Water Crises in the US and Abroad," at the UN Foundation. Marielle Ali, YP Director of the Social and Humanitarian Affairs Committee, moderated the standing-room-only event, jointly sponsored with Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.  Speakers included the Honorable Alice Dear, AKA's representative to the UNs Economic and Social Council; Lesha Witmer, chair of BP International's Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development; and Mariet Verhoef-Cohen, President of Women for Water Partnership. The presenters called for an International Year of Water and Women highlighting Sustainable Development Goal 5: achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls; and 6: clean water and sanitation. 

Another speaker was Melissa Mays, activist and founder of
Water You Fighting For?www.facebook.com/WaterYouFightingFor a Flint, Michigan research and advocacy organization founded around the city's water crisis. Ms. Mays, who had testified before the US House Oversight Committee earlier that day, gave the audience a compelling summary of her testimony and the years of her activism. Ms. Mays, mother of three boys, became active in 2014  when she received a notice from the city on the contaminants in her water-including a cancer causing agent. The city notice said that residents were receiving this notice only because USEPA was forcing the action! She is a lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the Snyder administration. She thanked Flint's branch of Alpha Kappa Alpha for setting up a water distribution center. https://akaweb.s3.amazonaws.com/files/Flint_MI_Statement.pdf
On March 18, UNA-NY membersmet at the  Austrian Consulate General office to hear luncheon speaker Ambassador Mara Marinaki on CSW issues. She is Principal Advisor on Gender and the implementation of UN Security Council's Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. 

 Advocacy Update

VP Peg Shannon  reported to the division board on her March conference call with UNA-USA. National has developed an issues survey for chapter and division boards to indicate their preferences for issues the Association should focus on. She has distributed the survey to division board members. She has also distributed to the Division board a recent analysis of SNYSD members based on Congressional districts and plans to work with chapters to develop a joint approach.

Save the Date! 
UNA Advocacy on Capitol Hill
June 12-14, 2016

UNA-USA's Annual Meeting and Advocacy Day will take place  June 12-14 , at the National Education Association headquarters in Washington, DC. The meeting will feature interactive skills trainings, issue briefings with high ranking officials, and networking opportunities that will give you the resources you need to be a successful advocate. The Annual Meeting will culminate with Advocacy Day, when UNA-USA members converge on Capitol Hill to meet with elected officials and make for a strong US-UN relationship.

Contact Peg Shannon for more information on advocacy: peg@unasny.org

 April Calendar  
Unless noted as members-only, all are welcome to these programs
April 13
Young Professionals World Health Day Summit-
Taking Action Today for a Healthier Tomorrow 
Annual Conference
April 14
LGBT Rights in the US and Around the World
Gala Benefit
April 14
Nominating the First Woman UN Secretary-General
May 4
Members Annual Meeting
Save the Date!
April 24
Earth Day Celebration
April 12
Queens PEHT-Partnership for the Elimination of Human Trafficking committee
May 1
Members Annual Meeting
Save the Date!

Please check your chapter websites and FB pages for upcoming events and details.

United Nations Association Southern New York State Division | www.unasouthernny.org

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