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White Plains City Council Joins Mount Vernon in Support of “Cities for CEDAW” Campaign to Eliminate

WHITE PLAINS, NY -- (Sept. 8, 2020) UNA-USA Westchester Chapter is pleased to recognize the City of White Plains as the second city in the State to adopted a resolution supporting the “Cities for CEDAW” (C4C) campaign on September 8, 2020, joining Mount Vernon, the first city to adopt CEDAW on September 23, 2015. The monumental task of getting the Westchester County Board of Legislators and eventually the six cities of the county to get onboard was spearheaded by UNA Westchester President and former Mount Vernon City Council member, J. Yuhanna Edwards. Edwards is strongly urging other cities of Westchester, especially New Rochelle, Peekskill, Rye City and Yonkers, to follow Mount Vernon and White Plains’ lead and adopt a local ordinance for a Women’s Bill of Rights based on CEDAW principles. White Plains Common Council President Nadine Hunt Robinson made remarks on behalf of the Council.

The UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) was initially adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979, at which time it was signed by the United States of America. It came into force in 1981 and has been ratified by 188 countries. However, the U.S. Congress has not ratified it, and the U.S is one of six countries that has not done so (the others being Iran, Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan and two small island nations). One of the challenges in the U.S. is the coordination among federal, state and municipal/local laws.

In an effort to address this, in 1998 San Francisco became the first city in the world to adopt a city ordinance reflecting the principles of CEDAW. Since then 41 diverse cities around the country have decided to take the initiative and have begun to adopt the CEDAW framework into local ordinances protecting women’s human rights. Recently, over 100 Mayors, include Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City, have committed to supporting this campaign. Mount Vernon is the only city in New York State that has adopted a CEDAW resolution.

For more information visit: www.citiesforcedaw.org, which includes a toolkit and a template for a city ordinance. You can also visit www.unawestchester.org or contact unawestchester@gmail.com.


The City of White Plains

Office of the Mayor

PROCLAMATION

September 8, 2020


WHEREAS, Equality of rights for women is a basic human right and principle of the United Nations. The Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations states one of its central goals is the reaffirmation of “faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in thee equal rights of men and women;” and


WHEREAS, United Nations Women Executive Director, Phumzile Miambo-Ngcuka has designated 2020 as the year for gender equality and calls on everyone to tackle the persistent barriers against gender equality; and


WHEREAS, the benefits of gender equality are not just for women and girls, but for everyone whose lives will be changed by a fairer world that leaves no one behind; and


WHEREAS, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) on December 8, 1979. Described as an international “Bill of Rights” for women, CEDAW was ratified on September 3, 1981 and one hundred and eight UN member nations have agreed to bee bound by its provisions; and


WHEREAS, CEDAW provides framework for governments and communities to examine their policies and practices in relation to women and girls and to rectify discrimination based on gender; and


WHEREAS, the work of CEDAW has resulted in a number of important declarations and conventions that protect and promote the human rights of women; and


WHEREAS, CEDAW Article 3 refers to thee political, social, economic and cultural actions necessary to ensure the full development and advancement of women while Article 5 addresses prejudices, inferiority or superiority of either sex and stereotyped roles for men and women; and


WHEREAS, while women have made strides in the struggle for equality in many areas, much more needs to be accomplished to fully eradicate discrimination based on gender and to achieve one of the most basic human rights – equality; and


WHEREAS, the City of White Plains is proud of its long-standing history of promoting gender equality and providing programming that empowers girls and women and which strives to eliminate all forms of discrimination; and


WHEREAS, White Plains is a city in which women can thrive and discrimination or violence against women and girls will not be tolerated; Wee are ready to tackle barriers against gender equality and are identifying issues that unite us and which provide opportunities for all; and


WHEREAS, The City of White Plains will continue its commitment to: eliminating all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, promoting the health and safety of women and girls, and to providing women and girls equal academic, economic, social, cultural, political, and business opportunities; now


THEREFORE, by virtue of this proclamation, the City of White Plains joins with the Westchester County Board of Legislators, the Westchester County Human Rights Commission and the United Nations Association Westchester Chapter in solidarity and in support of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, to ensure the development and advancement of women and fundamental freedoms on the basis of equality with men.


Given Under My Hand and Seal

This Eighth Day of September, 2020


Thomas M. Roach, Mayor


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