Earlier this month, we kicked off our annual Stand Against Racism campaign during a profound moment in our nation’s history. The world watched as guilty verdicts on all counts were read in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin. While this verdict was a profound moment and offered some resolution for the trauma experienced by the family and loved ones of George Floyd and our nation, we were immediately reminded that our work for equity and justice is not yet complete when Isiah Brown, Ma’Khia Bryant, Andrew Brown, Daunte Wright, and so many others whose names we know and those we don’t, were killed at the hands of the police.
For far too long, we have been faced with moments of police brutality and violence, racial trauma, and national reckoning too.
That’s why YWCA is about the business of moving from reckoning to resolution.
YWCA’s mission is clear – to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. And our commitment to that mission, racial justice, and civil rights runs deep. For the past 15 years, YWCA has observed Stand Against Racism to raise awareness about the impacts of institutional and structural racism on the communities we serve. This year, we focused on Addressing Racism as a Public Health Crisis to discuss the impacts that lack of access to quality housing, education, food, transportation, and other resources have on people of color and the ways we can collectively advance racial equity.
But our work isn’t just limited to a few days in April. In over 1,200 communities, YWCAs turn on the lights and open the doors to answer the cry for justice. We do this work so that:
students of color can capitalize on their brilliance, without fear of safety;
women of color can pursue careers with granted equal pay;
affordable childcare and housing is accessible to all;
to prevent yet another senseless, tragic death of a Black or brown person at the hands of the law enforcement;
to prevent racial violence and hate crimes against the Asian and Pacific Islander community;
to bring a new approach to addressing the racism that has plagued our nation’s history since its founding;
and to ensure that everyone is afforded equal protection under the law.
You might ask, how do we continue to do this work when it seems like the odds are stacked against us?
Our power and our motivation comes from the women, girls, and people of color we serve. And our commitment to justice is strong, because we know first-hand how much more work must be done in order to move justice out of our doors and into the power structures that determine the future and to break down systemic and institutional barriers that have plagued our nation for far too long.
Over the next few months, YWCA will be working to make sure that we intentionally stand at the intersection of race and gender to serve as a catalyst in the racial equity movement and to support women of color.
In this moment of change, we invite you to join us in the vital work of centering the voices of people of color and demanding equity. Will you join us?
Elisha Rhodes, Interim CEO, YWCA USA
YWCA Takes a #StandAgainstRacism; Addressing it as a Public Health Crisis
This year, our annual Stand Against Racism Campaign explored how From Declarations to Change: Addressing Racism as a Public Health Crisis can advance the work of justice across the country and empower people of color. We kicked off this year’s campaign with the virtual town hall event, Addressing Racism as a Public Health Crisis, which featured a robust conversation with public health professionals, advocates, policy makers, and trailblazers doing the work to improve the future of public health for people of color. If you missed the live stream, you can watch it on our YouTube page.
In honor of our annual Stand Against Racism Campaign we proudly debuted our new video series called, At the Intersections of Reckoning and Resolution, where we invited systemic racism experts to talk about the myriad of ways structural inequality affects public health outcomes in their fields and communities. To continue educating yourself and engaging in the work of addressing racism as a public health crisis, check out the video series here!
How You Can Take a Stand Against Systemic Racism in Public Health
Despite the success of our Stand Against Racism Campaign, the momentum from our collective movement to address racism as a public health crisis must not stop here. We can all #StandAgainstRacism by urging Congress to pass a resolution declaring racism a public health crisis. Additionally, you can support the following legislation that takes steps towards eliminating racial inequities along with improving opportunities and well-being across communities:
We hope that you continue the conversation, join the movement to address racism as a public health crisis, and take the pledge to #StandAgainstRacism
#UntilJusticeJustIs: YWCA Calls Out Police Violence and Urges Polices Reform
YWCA is devastated by numerous acts of unjustified police violence that threaten the well-being of the communities we serve and send our deepest condolences to all those who have lost their lives, been harmed, or impacted by police brutality and violence. Last week our nation was offered a moment of respite and hope when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all counts in the death of George Floyd. Regardless of this victory, in the 22 days between the trial start and conviction over 100 people where killed at the hands of police including Andrew Brown, Jr., Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and Ma’Khia Bryant. Additionally, the families of Breonna Taylor and countless others have yet to receive the justice and accountability they deserve.
This verdict has only re-invigorated YWCA’s commitment to address the structural inequality and racism across all communities of color, deepening our work to advocate for equity, justice, and police reform. We have and will continue to do this work, demanding a safe world of equity and human decency until injustice is rooted out, until institutions are transformed, and #untiljusticejustis.
New on the YWCA Blog
In our latest blog, Why It’s Important to Address Racism as a Public Health Crisis, Dr. Cynthia Langtiw – a community-based mental health professional, professor, and educator – provides her opinion on how race and public health intersect. During her Q&A, Dr. Langtiw defines Racism as a Public Health Crisis, the most critical ways racism affects public health outcomes in the mental health field, direction on why we should center the most vulnerable communities in our reimagining of public systems, and guidance on how individuals and communities can take a #StandAgainstRacism within public health.
In our previous blog, Shining a Light on How the American Rescue Plan Supports Women, YWCA looked into the challenges women have faced during the pandemic such as access to affordable childcare, gender-based violence, along with the racial and gender wage gaps. We are excited about the $1.9 trillion package which provides essential resources for nonprofits like YWCA who provide life-changing services during the pandemic along with relief for women and families in key areas regarding the workplace, housing, and healthcare, outlined in our 2020 Shecession Report.
Read more about our work in our latest blog posts.
YWCA Spotlights: YWCA New Britain
As we observe Child Abuse Awareness Month, we spotlight YWCA New Britain for their commitment to empower, uplift, and support survivors of child abuse.
YWCAs across the country continue to work towards ending sexual violence, educating and protecting our youth, along with providing the life changing care that survivors of child abuse desperately need. At YWCA New Britain’s Sexual Assault Crisis Services (SACS), Child Advocates provide educational presentations to a range of ages on bodily autonomy, ways to seek help, and consent. By teaching children about these concepts they can more easily identify instances of childhood sexual abuse and be better equipped to take action.
Visit the YWCA New Britain website to learn more about the impactful work they are doing and how you can support.
The Allstate Foundation: Moving Ahead Curriculum for DV Survivors
Financial planning and management is a life-long process, and for domestic violence survivors, the journey to gain control of their financial future is even more difficult.
This is why YWCA partnered with the Allstate Foundation during Financial Literacy Month to uplift the Moving Ahead online curriculum designed for domestic violence survivors to help provide the guidance and tools they need to make important financial decisions and work toward gaining long-term financial security. This curriculum helps survivors who are rebuilding their lives and healing from trauma by going over essential topics like financial abuse, learning financial fundamentals, mastering credit basics, building financial foundations, and long-term planning.
Learn more about this valuable resource, by visiting their website!
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