Virginia’s Leadership Crisis: The Intersection of Race and Gender Injustice

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Virginia’s Leadership Crisis: The Intersection of Race and Gender Injustice

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Nancy Yasharoff
202.835.2364 |

The events that have gripped the Commonwealth of Virginia over the past week have brought to the fore our nation’s painful history and continued struggles around the intersecting issues of race and gender. The news from Virginia’s capital has resurrected the pain and suffering inflicted by unacceptable behavior, reminding us that racism and sexual violence is a daily reality.

Throughout our 160-year history—and 132-year presence in Virginia—YWCA has worked in communities to eliminate racism and empower women. We are committed, today more than ever, to doing the long-term, hard work of building a truly inclusive society as we provide comprehensive services to survivors of sexual violence and engage our communities in open and honest conversation to address racism.

Statement from YWCA USA CEO Alejandra Y. Castillo:

“As a leading voice for women and girls, we cannot—and will not—normalize racism in any form, and we will stand with survivors of gender-based violence to ensure their voices are heard and their safety is secured. We know from our daily work in over 200 local YWCAs across the nation, that what is happening in Virginia is happening across our country. We are committed to creating diverse, inclusive, safe communities in which women and girls can reach their highest potential, and all people of color can live free from racism.”

Statement from YWCA Richmond CEO Linda Tissiere:

“At YWCA Richmond, we are committed to honest dialogue, education and collaboration to do the hard work of healing. These are unprecedented times in our Commonwealth, and we call on our allies and elected officials to acknowledge their own history of gender and racial bias and to rise above this defining moment in Virginia’s history to make our state a safe, thriving, and welcoming place for all people of color and survivors of gender-based violence.”


YWCA USA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. We are one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations in the nation, serving over 2 million women, girls, and their families.

YWCA has been at the forefront of the most pressing social movements for more than 160 years — from voting rights to civil rights, from affordable housing to pay equity, from violence prevention to health care reform. Today, we combine programming and advocacy in order to generate institutional change in three key areas: racial justice and civil rights, empowerment and economic advancement of women and girls, and health and safety of women and girls. Learn more: