DSC_0195-300x199In addition to figuring out how to work and care for kids who are out of school for 12 weeks this summer (talk about a work-family conflict!), we have lots of plans in the next few months to keep moving Oregon forward towards the more family-friendly place we know it can be.

Already this summer we’ve lamented an equal pay day for mothers (it took us till June 12th to catch up with fathers), celebrated father’s day (go dads!), and flown to our nation’s capital city to participate in the White House Summit on Working Families.  Which was incredibly inspiring!  So many people from all over the country talking about and working toward the same policy changes we are (paid sick time, equal pay for equal work, affordable childcare, paid family and medical leave).

We have a moment on our hands, to be sure, and it’s our job to make the most of it!

Before you dive into our Summer Newsletter, we invite you to reflect a moment on this empowering quote from U.S. District Judge Michael McShane’s incredible May decision to strike down Oregon’s constitutional ban on gay marriage:

Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other … and rise.

We think it applies to so much social justice work, like ours, where our opponents predict disaster if we win even a small victory for working families.

Now that you’re inspired, here’s what you’ll find in our Summer 2014 newsletter:

1 | SUMMER EVENTS | Our 5th Birthday Party

We’re Turning 5! Bring the family to celebrate with us!

balloon-air-ribbon-birthday-holidays-free-hd-88510We’re excited to celebrate Family Forward’s 5th birthday with a summer party in the park for the whole family – and we want you to be there!  As one of our supporters, YOU have something to celebrate, too! So save the date!  And let’s celebrate!

Here are the details:

  • Who: You! Your kids!  Your friends!  Come one, come all.
  • What: A birthday party in the park (plus a stellar silent auction)!
  • When: Saturday, August 16th from 2 to 5 PM
  • Where: Peninsula Park in NE Portland (Here’s a link: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/60415)
  • Why: Because it’ll be fun & there’s lots to celebrate!
  • RSVP: Not necessary, just come on by.
  • Childcare: Not this time, because we’re all hanging out together and the kids will be plenty entertained!
  • Facebook: You can invite friends through our Facebook invite here: http://bit.ly/FFOPartyonFB

And this isn’t just any birthday party.  Nope.  It’s going to be a blast, with: live music, face painting, bubbles, free massage for parents (yes, you read that right!), and a terrific silent auction featuring offerings from the Portland Japanese Garden, Bethel Heights Vineyard, Lush Cosmetics, Everett Street Guest House, Fenrir Restaurant, and many more!  And cake, definitely cake. So mark that calendar and get ready to celebrate!  Our amazing family is growing up. Invite your friends using our Facebook event.


Obama at WF SummitWhat a day! Our policy director Lili Hoag participated in this exciting summit along with several other Oregonians who are committed to the kind of change we’re working for at Family Forward: Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, State Representative Jessica Vega Pederson, and Eugene software CEO Sabrina Parsons.  President Obama hosted the event to shine a light on the great need for better work-family policies in the U.S. – and before the day was over he had called for several new policies and his Council of Economic Advisors released a number of new reports showing how America’s working families are faring without the basic supports most other nations already have. Of many great statements from the President, this one stands out:

Family leave, childcare, workplace flexibility, a decent wage — these are not frills, they are basic needs They shouldn’t be bonuses.  They should be part of our bottom line as a society.  That’s what we’re striving for.

Get our take on the event here.

Hey Dad! On June 9th there was a White House Summit on Working Fathers, leading up to the larger event on Working Families that we attended. Which is excellent news because today’s dads need workplaces that make it possible to provide for and care for their families – from kids to aging parents. Read all about it and take a look at this new report on the economics of fatherhood and work from the President’s Council of Economic Advisors.

3 | PAID SICK TIME in EUGENE | City Council moving ahead with paid sick time proposal

EB Logo EugeneThe Eugene City Council is working hard to craft an effective paid sick days policy, based on Portland’s, that will make Eugene a healthier place to live, work, and play.  There are some incredible elected and business leaders in Eugene who are really committed to taking this modest step towards the kind of work-family policy today’s families need – and we’re so glad to be working with them and our local coalition to bring paid sick time to the 25,000 Eugeneans who currently don’t have access to a single paid sick day!

Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy, an impressive city leader who formerly served in the state legislature, recently shared some inspiring thoughts on the topic, specifically why it makes sense for local government to be involved:

As the second largest city in Oregon and the home of a great university, we do from time to time work on policies that are of national, state and local importance. This is one of those occasions. I believe the President recently stated on this very issue, that if Congress cannot put in place protections for working families, then councils and legislatures will have to step up. In doing so, we are mindful of the importance of both those who provide jobs and those who provide labor, but most of all we are mindful of the challenges faced by families as they raise their children. This is an issue of health and well-being of our families and, really, of our nation.

Follow our paid sick days work on Facebook so you know what’s happening. 

4 | VOLUNTEER WITH US | This summer we’re having fun tabling at family-friendly events – join us!

People ask us all the time: how can I help you create a more family-friendly Oregon?  Well this summer we have a fun opportunity for you to help us engage more Oregonians in our work: table with us at a family-friendly summer event in your neighborhood (think: concerts in the park, Sunday Parkways, and the like).

Our goal is to connect with as many people as possible about our vision of a family-friendly Oregon.  The more people who know about and are engaged with our vision, the sooner we’ll achieve our goal of a family-friendly Oregon.  It’s simple: there’s power in numbers.

So please, check out our event tabling calendar on SignUp Genius to choose a summer volunteer shift that works for you.  If you can’t volunteer, keep an eye out for us and say hi!

5 | REQUIRED READING | One Book, One Article

Each month we select an article and a book that we think are so good we call them “required reading.” We know all too well that parents don’t have a lot of time to read (especially when the kids are little!), which is why we also include a shorter article.  If you have the time, of course we recommend both!

Book of the Month | Maxed Out: American Moms on the Brink

MaxedOutAt 37, Katrina Alcorn had it all: a loving husband, healthy kids, and a dream job. Then one day, she lost her ability to manage the stress of competing demands. Just like that, her carefully built career shuddered to a halt, and a year-long recovery from depression and anxiety began. Over the months, Alcorn started talking to other working moms and was shocked to learn that many of them, too, were maxed out—sick with stress, and blaming themselves.

Mothers are breadwinners in two-thirds of American families, yet as Alcorn explains, the American workplace is uniquely hostile to the needs of parents. Weaving in surprising research about the dysfunction between work and home, as well as the consequences to women’s health, Alcorn tells a deeply personal story about “having it all,” failing miserably, and what comes after. Ultimately, she offers readers a vision for a healthier, happier, and more productive way to work and live.

We highly recommend it for mom-focused book groups, especially those who work in offices.

Watch the book trailer here and order the book from Powell’s here.

Don’t Miss This Article | What Anne-Marie Slaughter Is Urging Young Men To Think About

Early summer is graduation season, and with it comes a slew of commencement speeches, some of them quite good.  This year we were struck by Anne-Marie Slaughter’s (of “Why Women Still Can’t Have it All” fame) address at Tufts University in the Boston area.  In it she offers some terrific advice for young men and women and their parents and grandparents, inviting them to “imagine marriage as a partnership, where ‘breadwinner’ and ‘caretaker’ shift fluidly between both partners.” While she has often called for the kind of policy change we are working for, this time she aspires to culture change, too.  We need both if we are going to achieve our vision of a truly caring economy.

Here’s a quick summary of her speech, or you can read the whole thing here.

6 | EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK | Mothers’ Equal Pay Day was June 12th

By now you’re probably aware of our nation’s persistent wage gap, and you may even know about Equal Pay Day, the day each year when women finally catch up to men’s earnings from the prior year (it usually falls in mid to late April).  Earlier this month we marked a different kind of Equal Pay Day: one just for mothers.  Why do we get our very own day?  Because we experience an even bigger wage gap than women do as a whole: earning just $0.69 to a father’s $1 (compared to the average $0.23 gap we often hear for women compared to white men). Which means it takes us all the way until June 12th to earn what our male counterparts earned by December 31st of last year.  It’s important that moms are paid equally for equal work, not just because it’s fair, but because 2/3 of American moms are sole or co-breadwinners for their families.  Paying moms less means paying their families less.

7 | TAKE ACTION | Tell 10 friends about us and invite them to learn more

One thing we know we’ll need to succeed in modernizing work-family policy in Oregon is an army of committed, engaged people to ask legislators and employers to do better.  You’re already in.  But what about your network of friends, colleagues, and family? Have you told them about us yet?  The single most effective way to grow our movement is for folks like you who are already part of it to spread the word.  Because people pay attention to what their friends say.

So go ahead, hekp us spread the word:

It won’t take long, but it’ll be important. We need you – and your networks – if we’re gonna win. Thank you.