Just sitting here, early in the morning, and lifting up gratitude for YWCA Evanston/North Shore. Your tireless work in racial equity and justice is inspiring to our whole community and bears fruit everywhere. YWCA Evanston/North Shore is committed to helping our community understand, challenge and eliminate racism. We foster opportunities to engage in open dialogue about race, racism and race relations -- combating racism at individual, interpersonal and institutional levels through programs and forums. Our efforts in this area include:
- Racial Equity Trainings help participants develop the skills and vocabulary necessary to engage in honest dialogue, in order to understand how systemic racism affects the lives of all who live and work in our communities. Trained facilitators help the group envision what racial equity could look like and identify roles individuals can take to move us, and the systems in which we participate, toward the goal of becoming equitable communities.I am especially fond of the “Let's Talk at Lunch” effort, as it reaches people who might not be drawn to other work. It never fails that someone in the group, most of whom have been progressive thinkers all their lives (and that includes me) have an "Aha" moment, some time along the way. It is such a gift in keeping our community alive and responding to new challenges all the time.
- Building Equitable Institutions: In order to effect lasting change, transformation must occur at the systemic level. Building Equitable Institutions (BEI) is designed to guide organizations through the steps necessary to become models of equity, inclusion and racial justice. We are excited to be able to offer this initiative to institutions ready to make the commitment to the work!
- Let's Talk @ Lunch is a drop-in discussion series which uses short articles, video clips, and/or recent community events as a catalyst for honest conversation about racial issues. LT@L occurs monthly in several locations, including here at the YWCA Evanston/North Shore.
- Watch, think, react, share, listen, learn! "Reel" Talk About Race provides another forum to challenge your thinking and deepen your understanding about issues of race and racism. Our monthly "Reel" Talks feature a movie or video followed by facilitated discussion.
- Stand Against Racism is a signature campaign of YWCA USA. The annual event is designed to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness about the negative impact of Everywhere I turn - churches, schools, neighborhoods and workplaces - there are conversations on race happening that would not be, without your work. Your ambitious sponsoring of the “Race: Are We So Different?” exhibit, and your even more ambitious programming activities have been quite a catalyst. It would be pretty easy to have "eliminating racism" as a goal and not take the brave steps you do! The YW is a great leader and we are in your debt. -- Marion Flynninstitutional and structural racism. Community organizations, businesses, schools, faith groups can take a Stand Against Racism by hosting an event where participants may gather to take part in a variety of activities: trainings, film/book discussion groups, community education, public policy advocacy, etc. YWCA Evanston/North Shore then encourages all to join our visible Stand Against Racism, lining the streets of our communities, culminating in a commitment or re-commitment to work for racial justice. In 2016, the public Stand Against Racism takes place April 29th.
- YWCA Evanston/North Shore's Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate raises awareness by bringing together thousands of people to participate in our 5K/10K/walk/youth mile and take a stand against racism, violence and hate crime.
We are pleased to partner with local organizations and institutions that share our commitment to engaging the community in steps to eliminate racism. We are proud to work with congregations, businesses, educational institutions and other community groups to make racial equity a goal for all of us. Contact Racial Justice Program Co-Directors Eileen Heineman and Donique McIntosh to learn more.