Senator Loretta Weinberg, YWCA Northern New Jersey, and Key Advocates Unveil Anti-Harassment Training Video to Create Safe Workplaces Within NJ Politics

Today, in commemoration of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, YWCA Northern New Jersey (YWCANNJ) CEO Helen Archontou along with Senator Loretta Weinberg; Kirsten Schuerer Branigan, Managing Partner at KS Branigan Law; Kathleen N. Fennelly, President of the NJ State Bar Foundation; and Sabeen Masih, Vice President at Capital Impact Group and member of Senator Weinberg’s Workgroup on Harassment, Sexual Assault and Misogyny in New Jersey Politics unveiled a workplace training video to help prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment, “Creating Safe Workplaces in NJ Politics.” The video will be distributed to political campaigns and offices with the goal of raising awareness and educating on how to create safer environments that also encourage a culture of respect in the workplace.

The training video features insights from Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver; Senator Loretta Weinberg (ret.); Helen Archontou, CEO of YWCANNJ; Kirsten Schuerer Branigan, Managing Partner at KS Branigan Law; and Beth P. Zoller, Counsel, Arbitrator, and Investigator at KS Branigan Law who addresses how to identify sexual harassment at the workplace, what legal rights victims have when experiencing harassment, and what resources victims can access if they experience harassment. The video is based on the findings of “The Report of the Workgroup on Harassment, Sexual Assault and Misogyny in New Jersey Politics” developed by Senator Weinberg’s workgroup.

“After reviewing the final report of Senator Loretta Weinberg’s workgroup on sexual assault in New Jersey politics, it was clear to me that the YWCA Northern New Jersey had an opportunity to help facilitate this urgently needed culture shift. This video will help empower staffers to not only stay safe and protect others but to be an agent of change in eradicating this deep-rooted systemic problem,” stated YWCANNJ CEO Helen Archontou. “No one should be subjected to harassment or assault in their workplace, and YWCA Northern New Jersey is here for victims seeking help and assistance. I want to thank Senator Weinberg, Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, New Jersey State Bar Foundation President Kathleen Fennelly, and the rest of our allies who dedicated part of their busy schedule to create this critical training tool.”

A toolkit will be provided with the video with recommendations to political leaders on best practices when showing the video, as well as resources for new hires during the onboarding process.

“The work of the YWCA in producing this training film is a giant step forward. If I’ve learned nothing else in public life, passing a law or a series of laws to correct any inequities is never enough,” remarked Senator Loretta Weinberg. “These issues need constant nurturing, oversight, and accountability. Thank you, YWCA.”

Financial support for “Creating Safe Workplaces in NJ Politics” was provided by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation. The video can be viewed here. To learn more about YWCANNJ and healingSPACE, visit ywcannj.org.

About YWCA Northern New Jersey
YWCA Northern New Jersey is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting equality for all. We operate healingSPACE, Bergen County’s only Sexual Violence Resource Center (hotline: 201-487-2227), and a provider of year-round child care, and senior wellness programs. Our 100th year kicked off the expansion of our service area to include Essex, Hudson, Morris, and Passaic counties and our continued commitment to Bergen. We improve the lives of thousands of women, girls, and families with the generous support of our donors. Learn more by visiting ywcannj.org, and following @ywcannj on social media.

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