Advocacy Work and Resources

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.

Be a Voice for your Community • Community Boards

  • Applying to your local Community Board is a great way to become more locally civically engaged and advocate for needed changes in your community! See below applications for Community Boards by borough.
  • Bronx (due February 8, 2019) Learn More
  • Brooklyn (due February 15, 2019) Learn More
  • Manhattan (due February 8, 2019, 5:00 pm) Learn More
  • Queens (due February 8, 2019) Learn More
  • Staten Island (year-round rolling deadline) Learn More

Education Councils

  • Community and Citywide Education Councils are elected every two years. February 14, 2019 will mark the start of the next election to fill all 325 elected seats for the two-year term that begins on July 1, 2019.
  • The Community and Citywide Education Councils give parents a powerful voice in shaping the policies and priorities for New York City schools. From advising the Chancellor to working directly with the district superintendent and reviewing district educational programs and needs, the 32 Community Education Councils and 4 Citywide Education Councils play a major role in education policy and help make our public schools the best they can be.
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Advocacy Mailing List Sign-up

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  • This mailing list features information about the New York Junior League’s advocacy work, about critical issues facing New York City’s women, children, and families, and about advocacy and leadership opportunities targeted to women in New York City.