The New York Junior League advocates on both city and state levels, prioritizing issues impacting New York City consistent with the NYJL’s mission. Through membership in the New York State Public Affairs Committee of the Junior League, we partner with Junior Leagues from across New York State, representing more than 7,500 women, to shape New York state public policy impacting women, children, and families. In years past, we advocated for the Ban on Salary History, Paid Family Leave, and the Trafficking Victims Justice Protection Act.
We also work at the city level, often partnering with other nonprofits. We’ve advocated for youth aging out of foster care, understanding and addressing homelessness, and GMO labeling.
Advocates for Public Policy provides resources and support to our Community Partners and our members, delivering a platform for training and empowering members to speak about important issues.
The NYJL has a long-standing history of advocating on behalf of women, children and families in New York City, dating back to our founding in 1901. A young New Yorker, Mary Harriman, was so moved by the poverty she witnessed in the City at the turn-of-the-century, that she rallied her friends to join the cause—addressing the health, education, and social welfare needs of immigrant families living on the Lower East Side. Out of this trail-blazing work was born the New York Junior League, and along with it a platform of advocacy.
From 1970 to 1990, the Public Affairs committee (now Advocates for Public Policy) expanded to focus the NYJL’s efforts on children’s rights to education, volunteerism, historic preservation, domestic violence, equal rights, and pro-choice advocacy. In 2008, Advocates for Public Policy successfully advocated for the provision of funding for domestic violence shelter services for victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. Later that year, it was signed into law. From 2012 to 2015, the committee worked to combat human trafficking through three years of advocacy for the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act (TVPJA). New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed TVPJA, along with 7 other bills in the Women’s Equality Act, in late 2015.
In 2015 the Paid Family Leave Act passed in the Assembly but needed support in the Senate, so Advocates for Public Policy traveled to Albany to meet with Senators to advocate for this important piece of legislation. In January 2016, Governor Cuomo included a Paid Family Leave Program in his 2016 budget. In 2017, we advocated for the bill that prevents employers from seeking salary history from their applicants. The bill passed in New York City, and we’re currently working to get it passed at the state level.