May 28, 2019
Today is our last podcast before we head on a hiatus, we’re not sure when we will be back but we have enjoyed talking about Tacoma and social justice during this journey! Listen in for next steps for some of the SpeakOut 253 team, upcoming 253 Club events and a look back on our favorite episodes we recorded. Mentioned in the pod: Sonya Renee Taylor’s book – The Body is Not an Apology: The Power of Radical Self-Love ( 253 Club’s Tampon Drive (
May 21, 2019
This week, Claire and Laine are joined on the pod by Stephanie Land, YWCA’s 2019 Celebration Luncheon Keynote Speaker and [New York Times Bestselling author of Maid]( In this conversation, we discuss Stephanie’s book, her experience as a mother raising a young child while [overcoming homelessness, government assistance programs and dehumanizing work as a maid]( Her story of resilience and perseverance shares the insight on a daily life known to many but is often never told.
April 30, 2019
Welcome back to another episode of Speak Out 253! Today we are joined by YWCA Associate Board members Gaby, Samie and Laine to talk about hair care and the intersection of hair and race. For several years, the Associate Board has organized a 253 Club happy hour event centered around collecting hair care donations for clients living in YWCA’s safe shelter. YWCA Pierce County serves diverse communities and we continually strive to provide options for our clients and the hair care drive is no different. When advertising this event, the Associate Board has struggled with how to communicate that they are seeking inclusive hair care products for all types of hair. You can walk into most drugstores or grocery stores and find a few full aisles of haircare products, but when it comes to haircare items for black and brown people the selection is vastly limited. Not only is this section separated from the ‘normal’ hair care items (and usually tucked away), it’s extremely expensive. This distinction of us versus them reinforces the normalization of whiteness – hair is hair. This idea of normalizing all types of hair drives our conversation today so join in! Links: [Hear Elizabeth Acevedo’s poem on hair]( Robin DiAngelo’s article: [White people are still raised to be racially illiterate. If we don't recognize the system, our inaction will uphold it.](
April 16, 2019
Today we’re talking to Amanda and Aspen, two people involved in SHEnlightens: A Women’s Collaboration Art Project which is currently on display at YWCA Pierce County’s offices. Join us as we talk to these incredible women about the powerful collection of portrait art that they have created alongside other skilled female artists from Tacoma. On April 28th, YWCA Pierce County’s Sunshine Hall will be open to the public for a public showcase. [To learn more about the art show and attend please visit:]( [](
April 2, 2019
Today we’re joined on the pod by Stella and Mary to talk all about Young Adult books. Stella is a 8th grader who loves books and Mary is a high school librarian at Clover Park High School. Stella and her mom, Lisa Keating, co-facilitate a book club called the Queerest Book Club Ever at King’s Books. Join us for this fun conversation about books that impact us! **Books Mentioned:** [Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell]( []( [The Dangerous Art of Blending In – Angelo Surmelis]( [Moxie – Jennifer Mathieu]( [Ghost Boys – Jewell Parker Rhodes]( [Pride - Ibi Zoboi]( [Symptoms of Being Human – Jeff Garvin]( [Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi]( [Dreadnought – April Daniels]( [How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation]( []( [After #MeToo: Educators Seek Straegies to Teach Students About Consent - Article from School Library Journal]( [Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World]( **Honorable Mentions:** [I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter - Erika Sánchez]( [Ghosts - Raina Telgemeier]( [Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson]( Memoirs – A great genre in general for Young Adults  [Dear Fang, With Love – Rufi Thorpe]( [All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven](
March 19, 2019
This week we are sharing a special podcast episode – a live recording of Voices of Courage 2018\. Voices of Courage is YWCA’s annual monologue event featuring true stories from survivors of domestic violence. These stories were written from survivors accounts with help from local Storytellers Megan Sukys and Ken Miller. The stories are performed by volunteer actors as a way to share the voices of survivors of domestic violence while maintaining their confidentiality and safety. As these stories are true, some of the content might be triggering to some – please listen with this in mind. We hope you are inspired by these brave survivors and will join us for next year’s Voices of Courage – for event information check out YWCA Pierce County’s Facebook page for our DVAM events list in October 2019.
March 5, 2019
This week we are joined by Associate Board member Jarel Sanders to talk about burnout and self-care. Jarel is a social worker for DSHS and because of this, works in a high-stress workplace that often include traumatic situations. Jarel, Claire, Laine and Jessica talk about how to care for yourself and your mental health when faced with these environments and [why burnout is so common for millennials]( We recommend making yourself a nice cup of tea and putting your feet up while you listen to this week’s episode!
February 19, 2019
What do you do to take care of yourself? Today we’re talking to Rosie Townsend (aka [Rise Yoga]( about that question and more. Rosie is a yoga teacher who offers two weekly community classes at the YWCA for YWCA staff, clients and community members. This community class is focused on trauma-informed, inclusive practice that is accessible to all in a variety of ways. Join Claire, Jessica, Laine and Rosie in this conversation about taking care of your body and mind with yoga, and how a focus on inclusion and accessibility is vital to Rosie’s yoga practice and the YWCA. **Body positive and inclusive yoga teachers:** Dianne Bondy Amber Karnes Jessamyn Stanley
February 5, 2019
Today, Claire, Laine and Jessica are sharing their New Year’s Resolutions that all share an emphasis on making intentional impact with their everyday actions. Join us for this conversation and reflection of how resolutions can go beyond an individual person and create tangible action!
January 8, 2019
Today we’re talking to Amy Scanlon from the[Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC)](, to learn about the work the CAC does in Pierce County to address and prevent child abuse. The CAC consists of a team of mental health providers, forensic interviewers, victim advocates, social workers, medical staff from the Mary Bridge Child Abuse Intervention Department, as well as representatives from the Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, Local law enforcement, Child Protective Services and the Attorney General’s Office. Listen to hear more about the Children’s Advocacy Center and their important work in preventing, investigating, prosecuting and treating child abuse.
December 26, 2018
This week we’ve invited Liz Dunbar, Executive Director of Tacoma Community House, to talk with us about immigration and what services TCH offers to the greater Tacoma community. The mission of the Tacoma Community House is to help immigrants, refugees and other community members in the South Sound area move towards integration, self-sufficiency in the community. Join us as we talk about this incredibly important and timely topic: The TCH process – TCH has four core programs that focus on education, employment, immigration and advocacy (for crime victims). Through these programs, immigrants and refugees can take English classes, find jobs and citizenship courses. Many people utilize more than one program at TCH. The public charge issue – [As the Trump administration continues to focus on immigrants and limiting the services available to them](, many are worried that if they use public services like food banks they could be targeted by ICE and denied visas or legal permanent residency. [To address this, TCH hosted a public forum on December 10th]( to go over what services could affect their citizenship process and what won’t. The top concern – For many of TCH’s clients, their top concern is securing citizenship. Many of the people they serve have secured green cards or are in the process of securing one so their concerns are not the same as refugees that have yet to be granted entry to the United States. Because of this, TCH has a high number of people interested in Citizenship courses and using TCH’s services to figure out the citizenship process.
December 11, 2018
Today we’re talking about interracial relationships and the Loving generation – Associate Board members Jarel and Gaby join us, along with Gaby’s husband Steen. In 1967, the Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia overturned all laws outlawing interracial marriage – and [in the fifty years since the historic legislation, many people still feel the effects of the taboo of interracial relationships.]( Today, one in six newlyweds in the United States has a spouse of a different race or ethnicity, according to a recent analysis of 2015 census data by the Pew Research Center. That is a fivefold increase from 1967 when just 3 percent of marriages crossed ethnic and racial lines. Tune in to hear insightful conversation about the role race plays in relationships, personal stories of discrimination due to a partner or relationship and hopeful thoughts for the future:
November 27, 2018
[]( we’re talking to the Pierce County Auditor, Julie Anderson, to learn what goes into making an election happen. Julie, who was first elected Pierce County Auditor in 2010, walks us through how ballots are prepared for the election, how they are counted and how you can get even more involved in the election process. Be sure to check out the Pierce County Auditor’s app to find all the election information you could need and more. [2018 Election Results](
November 13, 2018
Today we're talking to Alaa Alshaibani, a Tacoma local whose parents emigrated to the U.S. from Yemen. Alaa is involved in local politics and activism, and she is a member of the [Islamic Center of Tacoma]( Join us as we talk about the travel ban enacted by President Trump, the Muslim communities in Tacoma and misconceptions about Muslim people in the United States. **Executive Order 13769** - The travel ban was enacted on January 27th, 2017 and banned travelers from seven countries: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. From that point the ban was blocked numerous times by federal judges and updated bans were announced by the Trump administration. [On June 26th, 2018 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Trump Administrations third iteration of the travel ban.]( The way that the travel ban affects people varies by situation, Alaa mentions a few situations of families separated between the U.S. and Yemen and a friend under Temporary Protected Services (TPS) who is unsure if their TPS status will be renewed but is unable to work or hire legal representation to improve their case due to TPS requirements. **Focus on Muslim countries** – While Venezuela and North Korea are among the seven countries in the ban, [the ban seems to overwhelmingly target Muslim communities.]( targeting, coupled with numerous remarks and tweets by President Trump against Muslim people and Islam, leaves no doubt in the bigotry behind the ban. The dynamically increasing hate directed towards Muslims in the U.S. and Islam has [motivated many Muslim Americans to run for office]( and become activists in their own communities. **The ban and Tacoma** – The response to the travel ban has been immediate and bold. After the first travel ban was announced, hundreds of people rushed to SeaTac Airport to protest the unjust ban and to advocate for people stuck in limbo due to the ban’s sudden enactment. There have also been local marches and rallies (like YWCA’s Families Belong Together rally on June 30th, 2018) to bring together the community and connect with the Muslim community when many of us may not do this on a regular basis. Alaa shares that all are welcome to visit the Islamic Center of Tacoma, and that the Friday prayer session is a great time with a sermon and the incentive of food during that time.
October 30, 2018
Today we’re talking with Judy Kent – YWCA Pierce County’s Finance Director – about being a woman in the finance industry. Judy started her career in 1974 when women were not frequently found working in finance. When she started at a Big 8 firm, she was one of a handful of women juniors who were starting their careers – and there wasn’t even a dress code for women. Tune in to listen to Judy share how things have changed, how they haven’t and what affect #MeToo has had on current and past events.
October 16, 2018
This week we’re talking to Jefferson Mok who serves as the Chair on the City’s Commission on Immigrant and Refugee Affairs. The Commission started in March 2018 and was created to elevate voices from the immigrant and refugee community in Tacoma. Jefferson shares the focus of the Commission, why it’s important in our current political and societal climate and some of the additional barriers faced by the immigrant and refugee community. In this episode: Focus on Tacoma – Tacoma is one of the most diverse areas in the country. With its location close to the coast and an airport, as well as the Northwest Detention Center, there are many immigrant communities within the city. Tacoma also has an ugly history with immigrants, specifically with the [Chinese immigrants who were unjustly expelled from the city in 1885]( This shameful history has been potential encouragement for the city to put additional resources into recognizing the immigrant and refugee communities that live in Tacoma today. Continued trauma – As Jefferson mentions, many refugees from Cambodia and Vietnam were given sanctuary in the U.S. after the Vietnam War. [This sanctuary was not necessarily established in law and with the current administration, we are seeing the very real possibility of these communities facing deportation](, adding to generational trauma to these families that have already survived and escaped after the war. Limiting resources – As this administration continues to expand on the communities they are threatening, the Commission is focusing on what they can do for these communities in Tacoma. Jefferson shares how the Commission might address that and the barriers that exist as immigrant and refugee communities continue to be fearful of government or organizational assistance. A special thank you to this episode’s sponsor – [Channing Baby & Co.](!
October 2, 2018
SpeakOut 253 is back for Season 2! Today we’re talking to Jill Silva about comedy, feminism and the Tacoma comedy scene. Jill is a comedian who has been around the Tacoma scene for three years and has performed at many of the city’s comedy venues, she currently co-produces two comedy nights, Laughing Mater at Alma Mater and Bob’s Comedy Jive. Jill will be performing at YWCA’s feminist comedy show, Stand Up for YWCA, on October 11th at the Swiss! **In this episode:** **Women in comedy** – With the #MeToo movement, Jill feels that it’s refreshing to be a woman in comedy right now, there is a lot more comradery between women comedians thanks to the ability to talk about one’s experiences and use that drive their work. When it comes to jokes about assault or harassment Jill abides by the rule of ‘punching up’; she does not have disenfranchised people or groups be the punchline for her jokes. When speaking about Louis C.K., Jill says “Comedy is a profession and if you act unprofessionally you should not be allowed to work in that field again.” **Issues in the Tacoma comedy scene** – The Tacoma Comedy Club has a lot of issues surrounding it, the largest and more serious are numerous allegations of harassment or assault from female comics or wait staff at the club. This has created a divide between comedians in town on who will perform at the club. Jill shares her own experience at Tacoma Comedy Club and her follow-up with the owners regarding the allegations. A light through the clouds – The issues with the Tacoma Comedy Club has opened up space for new comedy venues to blossom, which is exciting for a city that previously really only had one venue for comedians. We’ve shared a list of Jill’s recommendations for comedy in Tacoma below. **Jill’s local recommendations:** Natalie Holt Erin Ingle Alyssa Yeoman – Podcast: You Suck Don’t Leave **Jill’s national recommendations:** Steph Tolev Sophie Buddle Caitlin Peluffo Shanna Christmas Kristen Schaal Maria Bamford **Comedy spots in Tacoma:** Bob’s Java Jive – Open mic every Thursday, showcases the last Friday of every month Comedy at Shakabrah Java – Open mics on Fridays Laughing Mater at Alma Mater – Every Third Friday
August 21, 2018
You may have heard the term before, but today [Claire]( is taking us through what it means to be Zero Waste, why it matters and privilege surrounding the movement. The basis of Zero Waste is attempting to reduce the waste that you create and consume in an effort to offset the negative impacts of waste on the environment. Many popular Zero Waste advocates use mason jars to store their created waste, but Claire explains that this is not essential to being Zero Waste and that it is a learning process. Listen to Claire, Laine and Jessica talk about sustainability and what comes with a Zero Waste lifestyle in our last episode of SpeakOut253’s first season! We will be back with new episodes on October 2nd. In the episode: **Plastic straws** – There’s been a lot in the news recently about plastic straw bans. Many of these bans are supported by Zero Wasters and cities, [like Seattle](, are making city-wide bans on plastic straws. [These bans are facing a lot of criticism from disability rights groups]( as they are pointing out that this ban is not inclusive to people with disabilities and medical needs that require the use of a plastic straw, which are the only types of straws that provide the flexibility and safety that is needed. The idea behind the ban is one with good intentions but isn’t one that is inclusive to all and creates additional barriers for people with disabilities. **Privilege and Zero Waste** - Though the world of Zero Waste does not look very diverse - an overwhelming majority of participants online are white, middle/ upper-class women – people have been living a Zero Waste lifestyle for years. Many people in different socioeconomic groups have been living thoughtfully with their money and consumption without considering it Zero Waste. Some of the practices of Zero Waste are survival methods for many families. [Other practices of Zero Waste come with a lot of privilege, like being able to only buy from sustainable sources or buying expensive alternatives to commonly used plastic products.]( These experiences are especially highlighted when we look at Flint, MI, which has been without clean water since April 2014 – being Zero Waste and avoiding the use of plastic water bottles is not an option if you do not have access to clean water. Living a Zero Waste lifestyle is possible for anyone who wants to commit to lessening their negative impact on the environment, but it is important to recognize that there are many privileges that come with the ability to prioritize spending additional time and money to examine how to reduce one’s own waste. **Five things to do today to reduce your waste:** If you menstruate, get a menstrual cup or reusable pads – these reduce cost and waste Get a reusable coffee cup – and use it! Reusable produce bags – perfect for fruits and vegetables, and can be found online and in stores like Fred Meyer Swap your toothbrush for one made with bamboo Use solids when possible for both shampoo and soap Links: [Zero Waste Home]( [Being Green While Black]( [Brown Environmentalist]( [Zero Waste Habesha]( [Follow Claire’s Zero Waste journey!](
August 7, 2018
Today we’re talking about a very important civic duty – voting! We here at the YWCA are passionate about voting and getting people registered to vote. This year we have partnered with the League of Women Voters to help register voters at our outreach events and with our clients. Claire, Laine and Jessica are joined by Jayne, YWCA’s Fund Development Manager, to discuss the ins and outs of voting and why it matters (because it does!). **No stamp necessary** – This year no stamps are needed to mail in your ballot. [A temporary measure was put in place by Governor Inslee to cover the cost of postage](, with hopes of making the change permanent come 2019\. We’re hoping that legislators can make this a permanent standard, as it increased the likelihood of people voting, especially those who do not have easy access to a [voter drop box](( **Confidentiality matters when voting** – Thanks to the Address Confidentiality Program, qualified applicants can protect their address when registering to vote. This program is made for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking or trafficking to help them maintain confidentiality and safety when voting. To learn more about this program, visit **Accessibility matters** – Registering to vote requires a mailing address, so what happens when you are experiencing homelessness? You can still vote! Homeless voters can list a park or shelter as their residence address and can list their mailing address as anywhere they can pick up mail from, be it a relative’s house or a shelter address. **Links:** [Register to vote in Washington State]( [Find your voter district]( **General voting information:** [Vote 411]( [Pierce County Elections](
July 24, 2018
This week we’re talking #MeToo and empowerment with Chelsea Talbert and SpeakOut253 host Jessica Gavre. Chelsea and Jessica founded a group called [Empower Happy Hour]( to allow space for people to talk about sexual harassment and their experiences. The Empower Happy Hours were started after a news story detailing sexual harassment from a local elected official was released. The story broke as the #MeToo movement was creating waves of empowerment for people to share stories of sexual harassment and abuse creating the perfect environment for such an event. There was a need in Tacoma to create safe space to talk about these experiences and learn about what next steps for holding abusers accountable, enter [Empower Happy Hour]( Since then three happy hours were hosted earlier this year, and the group has continued to bring women into the political sphere and will continue to hold events in the future. These spaces are so powerful not only for having safe space to share personal experiences but also to brainstorm ways to create change. One idea that came from the Empower Happy Hours is the idea of having a database of people who will provide physical support for when someone needs it, like when they have to interact with their abuser or go to HR to issue a complaint. If our listeners have any thoughts on what support they would like to see in the Tacoma community surrounding sexual harassment, [reach out Chelsea or Jessica](! If this episode has inspired you to create action in your own community, consider engaging in your workplace’s policies for handling sexual harassment and if there are areas in the policy or workplace atmosphere that could be improved, start that conversation! Links: [Empower Happy Hour Facebook Group]( [UPS Peer Allies](
July 10, 2018
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – [Tacoma Pride](! This week Jessica chats with Jarel Sanders and Manny Santiago about Pride, what it means to them and what they are most excited for this year. Jarel, an [Associate Board]( member at the YWCA, reflects on [the history of Pride and the people who made Pride possible]( for so many of us today. Manny Santiago is the Executive Director of the [Rainbow Center](, which is the primary organizer of Tacoma Pride, and he looks forward to connecting with his LGBTQ ancestors and what we can build in the future for LGBTQ people. [Tacoma Pride]( has a rich history of its own, beginning as a community effort to celebrate Pride through STD prevention. Since this Tacoma Pride has grown and changed, with its focus shifting to honoring the LGBTQ community and all that this community does for the South Puget Sound Region. Tacoma Pride is a weeklong celebration with family-friendly events of every type that begins with the Pride flag raising and the Rainbow City Awards that honor six Tacomans who have been outstanding in their LGBTQ-centered work. Make sure you stop by Pride throughout next week, and if you are at Pride on Pacific Ave this Saturday stop by the YWCA tent and say hi!
June 26, 2018
This week we are joined by Caroline Harris, a University of Puget Sound alum and Crime Victim Advocate at the Kitsap Sexual Assault Center, who talks about what college-age students are doing to address consent. During her final year at UPS, Caroline completed a capstone project that looked at the theoretical framework around consent and the theory of consent – in doing this [she interviewed peers about consent and pulled recurring themes from their conversation to expand upon how people view consent in their lives versus what is taught in consent education.]( **In This Episode:** **Consent Breakdown** – There is a national push for consent education on campuses, but there isn’t a lot of overlap between this education and how it is carried out in student’s lives. As Caroline mentions, [consent is typically explained in metaphors,]( without talking candidly about consent in relation to sex or physical situations, which makes it difficult for the conversation to feel applicable to people’s lived experiences. **Healthy Love** - Caroline highlights that college is late in a person’s life to begin the conversation about consent, ideally these conversations would happen at a much younger age and don’t need to be centered around sex, because consent is present in almost everything we do. [YWCA Pierce County runs a prevention program in Tacoma high schools that focuses on promoting healthy relationships]( and how to identify and create healthy practices for teens that they can continue to practice later on. **Starting Conversations** – [When approaching the conversation about consent with younger people, removing sex from the conversation is a great way to begin.]( Telling someone that their wishes are respected in that place and when they say no it is respected and heard. These conversations are so important because they range from giving someone a hug to playing with toys. It teaches kids that they have control over their body and that they can speak up when someone is making them uncomfortable.
June 12, 2018
This week, Claire and Jessica talk with Jarel Sanders, [YWCA Associate Board]( member and DSHS Social Service Specialist, and Jonathan Grove, former [YWCA]( Board member and former coordinator for the [Men’s Project at the PLU Center for Gender Equity]( Join us for this casual conversation about masculinity, toxic masculinity, mass shootings and feminism. Books Mentioned: [The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love – bell hooks]( [Refusing to be a Man: Essays on Sex and Justice – John Stoltenberg](
May 29, 2018
Claire talks about pregnancy and childbirth with Gabriela Raisl (current Associate Board member), Carly Roberts (former Associate Board member) and Kaarin Austin (former Associate Board member). All of our guests have personal experience with our topic, Kaarin’s daughter is 16 months old, Carly’s daughter is 6 weeks old and Gabriela is 30 weeks pregnant (at the time of this podcast’s recording), and they share their experiences with becoming a mother. Join us in this conversation about expectations, unforeseen complications and the importance of honesty and support during pregnancy and postpartum.  A special thank you to this episode’s sponsor – [Circle of Life Holistic Care](!
May 15, 2018
Today we are joined by a few very special guests – Gabriela Raisl and Tolu Taiwo of the YWCA Associate Board and Sonya Renee Taylor, founder of The Body is Not an Apology, author of the book by the same name, and YWCA Annual Luncheon Celebration 2018 keynote speaker. In this episode, Clair, Gabriela, Tolu and Sonya converse about a myriad of topics highlighted in The Body is Not an Apology ranging from toxic masculinity, true body positivity and existing as a Black woman in the U.S. Mentioned in this episode: [Waffle House arrest – Demand justice for Chikesia Clemons]( [Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America]( (features Melissa Harris-Perry’s Crooked Room analysis for Black Women) [Adrienne Marie Brown – Emergent Strategy]( [Son of Baldwin]( (Digital Community on FB) [Kiese Laymon](
May 1, 2018
Food and dignity go hand in hand when it comes to our clients. YWCA Pierce County strives to bring dignity and healing to our clients in every avenue of our work – and we can’t do that without Feed 253\. Today we’re talking to Feed 253 co-founder and director Heidi Stoermer about food insecurity and why Feed 253 dedicates their time to supporting local nonprofits with food support. In particular to YWCA, Feed253 cooks two monthly meals for clients and their children who are attending support groups and also supplies all of the Thanksgiving food for families we serve. What a meal means – When Feed 253 gathers food to make Thanksgiving boxes for YWCA clients they don’t just include a turkey – rolls, butter, whipped cream, stuffing, green beans and pie! The significance of providing the same Thanksgiving experience as someone who isn’t fleeing violence is so important to all of us at YWCA. Bringing normalcy back to our clients and their children is a big part of healing in a way that also provides dignity. Just because someone is living in our shelter and doesn’t have financial security at that current moment does not mean that they deserve anything less than someone who has that security. Made with love – Feed 253 brings so much intention to the meals that they make for YWCA clients – every meal is nutritious and balanced with a main course, sides and dessert (of course). They have also provided back-up meals for YWCA staff to prepare should a volunteer group fall through for a dinner. This intention and care shows our clients that they are important and that they matter to our volunteers. Some other local groups doing incredible work with food security are the Emergency Food Network and Hilltop Urban Gardens (HUG). If you are interested in preparing a monthly dinner for YWCA clients – please visit our volunteer opportunities page on our website.
April 17, 2018
With our constant news cycle that is constantly filled with negative news, it’s important to remember what brings us hope in our lives. Claire, Jessica and Laine are joined by Stella Keating to talk about what brings them hope in dark times. Much of what is discussed today is the hope that young people bring to many of us in the fight for justice. Stella is a trans youth who is taking a role in politics, she has been involved in numerous political actions and is deeply involved in the fight for trans rights and recognition in U.S. law. The energy and motivation that young people continue to bring into the world is admirable and definitely something that we need in our current climate.  Stella is a part of a new nonprofit, Gendercool (, that aims to share powerful and positive stories on who transgender kids and their peer allies are rather than what they are. This project is illuminating as it seeks to build understanding through storytelling about the accomplishments of young remarkable leaders. Another group of young people who give us hope are the Planned Parenthood Teen Council ( , who advocate for LGBTQ inclusive sex ed and peer-to-peer education. Laine brought up travel as something that gives her hope. Sustainable and equitable travel is deeply important to broadening your horizons and meeting people you would never talk to is invaluable. There are also so many organizations doing great things in conjunction with travel – in Vienna is Magdas Hotel ( ) which takes refugees in and educates them on travel and tourism, teaching them the ins and outs of running a hotel. In addition to all of that, the hotel’s furniture is built from recycled materials (#zerowaste). Another cool travel organization is Copenhagen’s Street Voices (, which employs people experiencing homelessness as tour guides to show tourists a different side of the city. Travel allows you to meet people you would never meet and hear perspectives you never could before. What gives us hope is connecting with other people and finding both our similarities and differences. What gives you hope? A special thank you to this episode’s sponsor – Move to Tacoma (!
April 3, 2018
The #MeToo conversation has been happening for several months but there is still much to discuss. Claire, Laine and Jessica are joined by YWCA Associate Board member Reina today as they talk about sexual harassment in the workplace. Sexual harassment at your job is second nature for almost every woman, from degrading work uniforms to uninvited sexual advances by supervisors and coworkers to a sexist comment as you walk by. Today we hear about our hosts' first experiences of workplace harassment and how it has shaped their careers. In this episode: It starts at the beginning – sexual harassment in the workplace starts as early as your first day on the job. What this means for most women is that at their first job when they are teenagers they are faced with complex and mature situations to navigate without having support or immediate knowledge of how to handle these situations. This early harassment in a woman’s career also teaches us that sexual harassment at work is common and usually goes without punishment for the harasser. It happens in every industry – The service industry, government, private companies and nonprofits all are places where sexual harassment occurs. Sometimes it is from a supervisor or a customer, sometimes it is from a donor, but it is present in every workplace situation, through policies and practices for addressing it vary widely ( So often the conversation around sexual harassment places the responsibility for preventing it on the victim (more frequently women), with suggestions to avoid sexual harassment ranging from dressing more modestly to avoiding riding elevators alone or certain elevators altogether. We must change the way we talk about sexual harassment to begin to address this problem that is so prevalent in the workplace. Power dynamics – typically sexual harassment comes from someone who is in a higher power position than their victim, which limits the action that a victim can take – and it puts peoples livelihoods and careers on the line if they try to stand up to someone in a higher status. We see this often with companies deciding to protect the harasser because they are more highly trained and in a higher position in the organization. We must call on organizations to protect people who come forward about harassment and take steps to protect not only the victim of harassment but ensure that no one is harassed in the future. ( *Sexual harassment can happen to any person regardless of gender or gender identity. This podcast specifically discusses sexual harassment that women face in the workplace.
March 20, 2018
In this episode, Jessica and Claire talk with Lynn Goralski and Lisa Keating about what it means to be transgender and what the fight for trans rights looks like in Washington. Lynn is a transgender woman who advocates for LGBTQ rights in Pierce County and Lisa is the founder of My Purple Umbrella, an organization that advocates for gender diverse youth and their families. Lisa is also the mother of a transgender daughter. Today’s podcast was recorded before the deadline for signature gathering on I-1552 - a potential Washington State ballot initiative that would have banned transgender people from using public facilities that match their gender identity. Thankfully I-1552 did not gather enough signatures to make the ballot, but there are many anti-trans initiatives and campaigns happening right now in the U.S. – one of them is in Anchorage, AK. Fair Anchorage is the organization opposing the anti-trans initiative, to learn more about Fair Anchorage and what they are doing, visit their website Terminology – Transgender is an umbrella term to describe a person whose internal sense of self does not match their body. Gender diverse is a broad term to explain an individual who doesn’t align with a feminine or masculine side, they are more fluid in how they present their gender and/or identity. Gender non-conforming is another term to describe someone who does not fall into a gender binary (being strictly male or strictly female). Intersectionality – Trans rights are a feminist issue. Transgender people experience discrimination and oppression at overwhelming rates in every aspect of their lives. Trans people are also the target of large rates of hate crimes. Trans women face higher rates of discrimination, violence, sexual assault and poverty –with trans women of color facing the largest threats. These are all civil rights violations because they are rooted in the denial of a person’s right to be who they are. Equal means equal. This episode is sponsored by My Purple Umbrella.
March 6, 2018
Today’s episode is a special collaboration with Sound Outreach’s Credit Up podcast hosted by Jeff Klein, Sound Outreach’s CEO. Sound Outreach is focused on helping people in Pierce County be financially empowered. Jessica and Claire talk with Jeff about the complexities of figuring out one’s finances, and how everything is more complicated for people in domestic violence situations. Listen and share, you’ll learn something new on today’s podcast and might even take another look at your own finances after this episode! Finances and Domestic Violence – Financial abuse is a common tactic used in domestic violence ( Victims may not have access to their finances or have no credit (having relied on their partner's credit accounts), which prevent them from securing housing of their own. Some victims have had employment-related abuse and have never had a job, which forces them to be financially dependent on their abuser, so when they are able to leave their abuser they have limited resources and no income to help secure basic needs. It costs a lot to be poor – There are so many additional barriers that exist when you have poor financial history ( For example, your credit score can affect so many things, like car insurance rates, so if you have bad credit your car insurance rates are much higher and more expensive, but in order to improve your credit score you need to have a greater income. For many people a car is a must-have, and it’s needed even more when it might have to be your home for the night, as is the case with some survivors of domestic violence. Another common barrier is minimum balances on bank accounts, if you are unable to hold a certain amount in your bank account, that can cost anywhere from $5-15 per month just to have the account – and that doesn’t include expensive overdraft fees for accounts without the minimum balance. All of these things mean higher costs for people with less money. Learn more about Sound Outreach and financial empowerment by visiting their website at
February 20, 2018
Today, in honor of Teen Dating Violence Prevention Month, we’re talking domestic violence prevention. Jessica and Laine talk with Jennine Devenuti, YWCA’s Education and Prevention Manager, and Kelsey Fischer, YWCA’s Youth Advocate, to learn more about YWCA’s Healthy Love program and why prevention work is so important to ending domestic violence. The program – The Healthy Love curriculum first looks at the root causes of violence – gender, stereotypes, privilege and oppression (to name a few) - and then looks at the messages that are portrayed about these issues in the media. After establishing this foundation of understanding, the teens discuss what unhealthy relationships look like and what skills can be used to promote healthy behaviors. The Healthy Love curriculum was created by YWCA’s Prevention Program, and draws from outside resources like Owning Up ( and Making the Peace ( Resources for teens and parents – There are a lot of great resources for both parents and teens online. Scarleteen ( is a website that covers inclusive, comprehensive and supportive sexuality and relationship info. Love is Respect ( has resources to empower and educate young people to prevent and end abusive relationships. Other websites like Break the Cycle ( and That’s Not Cool provide resources about teen dating violence and technology abuse. The YWCA is also a resource for teens and parents who are seeking resources or advice on healthy relationships – to contact our Prevention team, please see their info below. A conversation for everyone – Conversations about healthy relationships can start at any age. If you are a parent and are interested in more resources for talking to your child about prevention and healthy relationships – romantic or otherwise - reach out to YWCA’s prevention team at or 253.272.4181 ext 269.
February 6, 2018
Learn about the dynamics of domestic violence and DV 101 in today’s episode - Claire, Laine and Jessica talk with Jennine Devenuti, YWCA’s Education and Prevention Manager. This topic will be split into two parts, so in this first part we will be looking into what domestic violence is, and what makes it different from other types of violence. In this episode: Where it begins – Domestic violence is the use of physical, sexual, and psychological coercion or force to establish and maintain control over a partner. It is a pattern of abusive behavior used over time. These behaviors are targeted and repeated, the violence increases in frequency and severity. Myths – There are a lot of myths about what causes domestic violence – alcohol and other substances do not cause someone to be an abuser. There is also a misconception that men do not experience domestic violence, but the statistics show that 1 in 7 men experience domestic violence – this misconception is harmful because it prohibits male victims from seeking services. All of YWCA Pierce County’s services are gender-inclusive. Victim Safety - Victim Safety: it is imperative that all responses to domestic violence keep the safety of the victim as the top priority. It is never appropriate to blame a victim for the abuse, or the make judgments about what they “should” do. A victim will know what survival skills work best in their situation, what is safe for themselves and their children and what is not. There are many reasons why victims do not leave abusive relationships. The main reason is safety—the most lethal time for a victim is while in the process of leaving an abuser. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call our 24-Hour Hotline at (253)383-2593.
January 23, 2018
Claire, Laine and Jessica a look at the 2017 Women’s March, the good and the bad. The Women’s March brought over 2 million people around the world together for one day, but what has happened in our world since that day was over? Our hosts take a look at their own personal contributions and those of our community. In this episode:  Making it personal – Claire and Laine share how the women’s march made them challenge themselves more in 2017 to be involved and make personal commitments to making change. Claire points out that having one or two big issues that are dear to you makes it more manageable to make change – she has dedicated herself to a zero-waste lifestyle goal and has a blog to make herself accountable to that goal. Bringing people to the forefront – There are more women than ever who are running for office (Emily’s List link), and that includes women of color. Lifting up these voices and voices of other marginalized people is vital to making change in our world. This is also important outside of politics, our communities are stronger when more diverse voices are heard. Intersectionality is vital – There is a lot of work to be done in regards to intersectionality with the Women’s March. Trans women and folks of different abilities have specifically been left out of the Women’s March, whether it be through pussy hats, vagina-centric posters and lack of accessibility to necessary areas (ie bathroom), these shortcomings should be addressed in future movements.
January 9, 2018
Carly Roberts, former YWCA Associate Board member, speaks with Hannah McLeod, Director of Legal Services at YWCA Pierce County and Judge Judy Jasprica, who presides over the Domestic Violence Court of the Pierce County District and is a member of Washington Women Lawyers. Our two guests represent the different sides of the law, criminal and civil, but in domestic violence they often intersect. Tune in to learn the complexities of domestic violence and the law, and what that means for survivors. In this episode: Criminal law - When there is a call to 911 to report a domestic violence disturbance, a police report is created regarding the incident, this report is then given to a Prosecutor who will decide if there is a criminal charge. Whenever possible the Prosecutor will try to contact the survivor to include them in the process. Civil Law - Civil Law in relation to domestic violence deals with domestic violence protection orders, civil protection orders not connected to a criminal case, family law (divorce), legal separations, child support, parenting plans and maternity cases. Survivors can access these services through YWCA Pierce County’s Legal Services program. Challenges - Survivors face numerous challenges when dealing with either civil or criminal court. The court is an adversarial system, which means survivors must personally appear in court and summon the other party to appear in court, and survivors must talk openly in court about the abuse they faced with their abuser in the room. On top of that, if a survivor is representing themselves in court they are held to the same standards and expectations that attorneys are, without having much knowledge of the law and those systems. Other challenges include financial obligations to move a case forward and scheduling conflicts.
December 26, 2017
Laine and Jessica speak to Jamika Scott, a YWCA Children’s Advocate and founding member of the Tacoma Action Collective (TAC). Jamika talks about the origin of TAC, police violence in Tacoma and ways to get involved and be an ally for racial justice. In this episode: Tacoma Action Collective - Jamika organized a vigil for Mike Brown and Tamir Rice and after the event, there was a call for a space for people to connect on racial justice issues. This led to the formation of TAC which promotes and organizes local events like rallies/marches through their Facebook, along with creating dialogue surrounding racial justice in the Tacoma community and nationwide. Women and police violence - The conversation of police violence is typically centered around Black men. While men of color face frequent police violence, women of color also experience this violence and must also be included represented in the issue. Next steps - Jamika shares some unique ideas for getting involved in racial justice, and for being an ally. One important thing that she wants allies to realize is that racial justice work is emotional for people of color.
December 6, 2017
The men of YWCA’s Associate Board talk feminism and what it means to be a male feminist. Associate Board members Chad Barker, Zach Dillon, Andrew Horton and Jarel Sanders talk about why they are feminists and how feminism guides their everyday life and actions. In this episode: The male perspective - Andrew talks about how as a man, he can’t assume to know how women feel in different situations and stresses the importance of listening and being open to understanding what women experience. Self-awareness - The men talk about how raising your own awareness of women’s issues and struggles, and having others help do this, is vital to being a feminist. Making mistakes Zach talks about how it’s important to have people in your life who can call you out so that you can continue to learn. Speak out - The men talk about how as men it’s important to lift up women’s voices and needs and lead by example. Know the history - Jarel touches on big movers and shakers of gender equality – women of color
December 4, 2017
In Speak Out 253’s inaugural episode, hear from Laine Hoggan, Associate Board Chair, Claire Grubb, Associate Board Member, and Jessica Gavre, YWCA Development Director, as they talk about YWCA Pierce County and the YWCA Associate Board. In this episode: What are YWCA Pierce County’s services? YWCA Pierce County’s services cover a wide variety of domestic violence survivors needs – from legal services to the safe shelter. Anyone can access these services, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, and pets are welcome in the shelter! The 253 Club - Our hosts talk about the beginning of the 253 Club and where it is now. Learn about 253 Club’s monthly happy hours and product drives and how you can contribute today. Podcast preview - Get an inside scoop on topics that will be covered in future Speak Out 253 episodes.
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