Monthly Archives: November 2016

We Stand Together

Sara and Valerie respond to the recent upswing in Hate Crimes and bias crimes in the US and Tucson.  Part of building and maintaining our Beloved Community is supporting and protecting one another from the indignity of bigotry.  In the weeks and months to come, be on the lookout for places that will require your time, energy and resources.  We, of the YW, are here to help and we look forward to organizing with you. Training, learning and sharing will be a big part of our advocacy efforts in 2017.  
“In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.”    (MLK)


standtogetherlogoOver recent weeks, there has been an increase in hate crimes against women, minorities, LGBTQ folks, and people with disabilities. This has inspired the YWCA of Southern Arizona to create pathways for action to promote a safer community for everyone. Our CEO, Kelly Fryer and chair of Advocacy Committee Annette Everlove published an OP-Ed in the Arizona Daily Star on Sunday November 27th in response to the agency’s influx in anonymous hate crimes that were reported on our Facebook account. We spent much time reflecting on this article and how this issue of Hate Crimes affects our community. We talked about how this has affected the lives of our loved ones as they navigate in our community with so much uncertainty.


As interns who balance school, work, and our internship at the YWCA in addition to our personal lives we wanted to come up with simple ways to create safer spaces in our communities. We understand that not everybody has the time or the money to protest, travel to rallies, and donate to organizations that they admire. Because of this we created a  list of ways to minimize the harm of hate crimes in our community by empowering our friends, families, and neighbors to stop hate crimes in their everyday lives by . . .


  • Put pressure on local law enforcement to collect data on hate crimes and make them accessible to the public by calling and sending letters. This will bring more awareness and transparency to hate crimes.
  • Send letters to the President Elect to encourage him to condemn hate crimes acted upon in his name. If the President Elect knows that the majority of Americans are displeased by his silence, he will act. Get your kids in on it as well #KidsletterstoTrump
  • Take action if you see a hate crime happening around you. Vocalize that what is happening is not okay and provide support for the victim.
  • Research your favorite businesses and shop at businesses whose values align with your values. We recently realized that some of our favorite businesses were funneling money into policies that we did not agree with. We have committed to avoiding this businesses and instead giving our money to businesses whose values we can stand behind.
  • Support We Stand Together to promote safe spaces in our community. Supporting positive events and organizations can lead to a better world.


The only way to stop hate is to take a stand against it. Taking a stand does not have to mean a large time or monetary commitment. Little things can make a big difference. No contribution, time or money, is too small. As Margaret Mead said, “Never Doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has”.

We Stand Together Tucson is an inter-agency collaborative which expands upon the Tucson  Police Department’s Safe Spaces Initiative. The launch event will be on November 30 at the Frances McClelland Community Center and will offer resources on how to advocate for our loved ones and neighbors against hate crimes of any kind.

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saragSara Cota Galaz is a Master’s of Social Work Candidate at Arizona State University’s School of Social Work-Tucson Component working with the YWCA of Southern Arizona’s advocacy programs. She is a proud Wildcat Alum with earning her BA in Political Science from the School of Government and Public Policy. She is an advocate for issues relating to economic justice and its intersectionality between workforce development for women in poverty, mass incarceration, and reentry. She is a member of the Oracle Board-Greek Advisory Board at the University of Arizona, Pima County Re-Entry Coalition, and the Coalition for Fair and Just Policing. 

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Do Alternatives to Incarceration build Community Cages or increase public safety?

In August, the United States Justice department made a statement to end its use of private prisons. A statement like this suggests the end of private corporations like Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and GEO Group who represent a large market share for prison contracts. However, the emerging trend known as the Treatment Industrial Complex strengthens alternatives to incarceration such as electronic monitoring like ankle monitors for mobile surveillance, residential re-entry centers with day reporting, and immediate sanctions facilities. The question that emerges is if and to what extent does the treatment industrial complex creating alternatives to end Mass Incarceration or does it create Community Prisons?

Incarceration is the state of being confined in a prison. What we have seen happening over the last 30 years is prison populations increasing through the enforcement of tough on crime ideologies as an attempt to make communities safer. How do alternatives to incarceration make communities more or less safe? The publication Community Cages by the American Friends Service Committee describes how electronic surveillance through GPS ankle monitors often comes at the expense of the person requiring supervision. It serves as a cost reduction strategy for the state and local governments however the supervised must now pay for the equipment, monthly a landline to monitor the equipment, and fees to the supervision company. Community Cages describes this practice as penalizing for low income clients who must purchase the services while the company profits, under a low wage job market. Electronic GPS monitors is only one aspect to alternatives to incarceration. Alternatives also include day reporting center and re-entry centers which allow clients to check in at the facility as varying frequency or engage in the facility’s programming for an allotted time. It is a way that clients receive wrap around services during the day and return back to their homes in the evenings. Immediate sanctions facilities create an alternative to impose sanctions for probation and parole violations without returning to prison. This is a way to alleviate the cost of revoking probation or parole.

Alternatives to incarceration promotes community corrections however the trend promotes cost saving measures and awarding these contracts based on the lowest price. The vision was to implement wrap around services for the individual being supervised from the monitoring programs and the meetings with a parole or probation officer. It can also categorize individuals with higher or lower needs into the same treatment programs which increases the failure rates for individuals with lower needs. Community Cages recommends the acceptance of Evidence Based Interventions to reduce to size of the criminal justice system to promote quality programming for community corrections and if contracting is necessary to offer contracts based on quality of programs with evidence based practices and not just to the lowest bidder. The function of this would be prevent predatory practices in supervision technology that generate a profit on low income individuals under the guise of promoting alternatives to incarceration. In the end, the questions we community members must ask is: if, and to what extent, do alternatives to incarceration promote safer communities, reduced recidivism, and more successful re-entry?

saragSara Cota Galaz is a Master’s of Social Work Candidate at Arizona State University’s School of Social Work-Tucson Component working with the YWCA of Southern Arizona’s advocacy programs. She is a proud Wildcat Alum with earning her BA in Political Science from the School of Government and Public Policy. She is an advocate for issues relating to economic justice and its intersectionality between workforce development for women in poverty, mass incarceration, and reentry. She is a member of the Oracle Board-Greek Advisory Board at the University of Arizona, Pima County Re-Entry Coalition, and the Coalition for Fair and Just Policing.

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Our First Artist Talk

The Galleria at the YWCA is pleased to host our first Artist’s Talk on Thursday, November 10th from 6:00-7:30 pm. Featuring  Karen Hymer and Alejandra Platt-Torres.

The Galleria at the YWCA is a space of celebration: a gathering place to celebrate art, ideas and community. The Galleria also defines our mission statement: eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice and freedom for all. Exhibiting artwork and hearing women’s voices as they explain their thoughts and ideas about the world viewed through their artistic interpretations is a way to empower women.  Their interpretations and voices are on display, and invite discussion. That’s the focus of these talks: hearing opinions, ideas and artistic expression.

As the curator for the Galleria, I search for artists whose work balances elements of our mission statement and a strong visual presence. Sometimes these artists are well known to the community, nationally and internationally. Other times they are just beginning their art careers, and exhibiting their work is a valuable experience in many ways-selling work, gaining exposure and gaining confidence in their own artistic abilities. This is so important to me. As an artist myself, I have found that so often there is a sense of competition between artists. My view is that there is enough room for everyone and we must help one another. We are all in this together, and I am proud that the Galleria can have a positive impact on so many artists lives here in Tucson.

This is a wonderful opportunity to meet the artists and talk to them about their process, inspiration and ideas about art, and to discuss their interpretations of the world.

Karen Hymer , a native Tucsonan, is the Photography Program Specialist at Pima Community College.  Though trained as a traditional photographer, Hymer is skilled in various techniques, including Photo Polymer Gravure, Lumen Prints, and Digital printing.  Her body of work on display, “Botanicals”, grows out of her concern for the environment and exploring native desert plants, creating luminous Etching and Lumen prints on this subject.  Hymer will discuss her process and technique on this body of work.

Hymer is widely exhibited. Recent venues include The Phoenix Art Museum (Phoenix, AZ), The Los Angeles Center of Photography (Los Angeles, CA), Soho Photo Gallery, Site Brooklyn, Alex Ferrone Gallery, The Washington Print Foundation (Washington, DC), The Center for Photographic Arts (Carmel, CA), The Center for Fine Art Photography (Fort Collins, CO), and Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (Athens, GA).  Her work is in several public collections, including the Center for Creative Photography and the Polaroid International Collection.

Alejandra Platt-Torres was born in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico and currently lives in Tucson. She works as a free-lance photographer.

Platt-Torres will discuss her work exhibited at the Galleria, “In the Name of God”, large gelatin silver prints featuring portraits of Indigenous People of Mexico. Platt-Torre’s desire to discover her roots led her to photograph her people, which turned into a seven year project. She travelled through Mexico from 1993 until 1999, photographing people of every indigenous group in Mexico.  These soulful portraits document and honor her ancestors, and helped her discover her own indigenous roots and family history.

Platt-Torres is the recipient of numerous grants in Mexico and the United States, and has exhibited her work extensively and internationally, including  Arizona State Museum, Confluencenter, University of Arizona, Exhibit, Conferences, Digital Projection and Installation, A World Separated by Borders, Tucson, Arizona, USA, 2013,  Fiestas del Pitic, Installation, Digital Projection, A World Separated by Borders, Hermosillo, Sonora, México, 2012,  Instituto Cervantes Sidney, Embassy of México in Australia, In the name of God, Sidney, Australia, 2011. Mexican Institute, Embassy of México in Denmark, In the name of God, Copenhagen, Denmark. 2009



Valerie Galloway

Valerie Galloway was born in France in 1963, to an American father and French mother, and has lived in many places, including France, Germany , Hawaii, California, Maryland, New York City, and currently in Tucson.  While in New York City she worked in advertising for the photographer, Peter Arnell and in fashion photography as a studio manager for Enrique Badulescu.
She received her BFA in photography from the University of Arizona in 1987 and has been a working artist ever since.  Some of her works include hand made mirrors using her photographs of cityscapes, the desert and nudes as well as photographic and upcycled jewelry.  In addition, she is a painter and all around creative personality.
Galloway has been commissioned by many prestigious organizations to create awards and gifts, including the Yellowstone Park Foundation, Sundance and Pima Community College.  Her handmade photo mirrors and photo jewelry have been carried at Etherton Gallery, Verve Gallery of Photography Santa Fe, International Center of Photography, Center of Photography, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Barney’s NY, and the Tucson Museum of Art.
Galloway works at the YWCA of Southern Arizona as the Galleria Curator and Shop Manager.


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Project Period Paint Night! 

ppywThis past summer, I was enjoying lunch at Renee’s Organic Oven when I noticed a bright orange sign on the bathroom door. Curious, I went over to study the sign, and that was when I first read the words: Project Period. I researched the project, and I knew that I needed to get involved.

I have always been a feminist, but my passion for women’s equality and advocacy flourished when I began taking college courses that opened my eyes to the complexities of gender and women’s studies. When I discovered the YWCA and its mission to eliminate racism and empower women, I recognized a way that I could put my passion into action and really help people in my community.

In August I began interning at the YW, and was given the opportunity to spearhead a revival of Project Period. For those of you who don’t know, Project Period is an on-going drive to collect period-related products for people in our community who cannot afford them. This project is not only about donations, but it is about advocacy, ending stigma, and, ultimately, changing biased legislation.

Since I began working on it, I have been searching for ways to make Project Period more of a community effort; to start a community conversation about why this project is so important, and how we can work together to end the inequality and stigma surrounding periods. So, to get everyone thinking and talking about menstruation-related issues, we will be having a Project Period Paint Night! The event will take place on Friday, December 2nd at 6:30pm at Creative Juice Art Bar.


Butterfly, Dec 2 @ 6:30PM

Creative Juice is an art bar/painting studio that offers its customers the unique experience
of taking a painting class while enjoying a drink (or two) with friends. The tickets cost $35 (with a percentage going straight to YWCA of Southern AZ Project Period), and include all the paint supplies you will need, as well as your first drink. We will be painting a lovely monarch butterfly.

At the end of the night, you will leave with your beautiful new painting, a sense of accomplishment, and a smile on your face. But this night will be a little different than a normal painting session at Creative Juice, because you will also leave with new knowledge, and hopefully, renewed determination to spread Project Period’s message throughout the community.

A Project Period donation box will be at the paint party, and we encourage you to bring unopened boxes of pads and tampons to donate. Please go to for more information about Project Period and the link to buy your Paint Night tickets (space is limited).

14570299_10154201647984143_8401127524908380572_nAllyson Israel is an undergrad student at the University of Arizona majoring in General Studies: Social Behavior and Human Understanding. She particularly enjoys, and is passionate about, gender and women’s studies. She plans to go on to graduate school, but is still exploring future career paths. In her spare time, she enjoys cuddling with her fur-babies, playing basketball, and spending time with friends and family.

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Filed under Empowering Women, Justice