Uplifting an Unsung Legacy

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Uplifting an Unsung Legacy

January – February 2022

Pauli Murray once said, “Black women, historically, have been doubly victimized by the twin immoralities of Jim Crow and Jane Crow… Black women, faced with these dual barriers, have often found that sex bias is more formidable than racial bias.”

At YWCA, our mission is fueled by the perspectives of Black feminists like Pauli Murray, who worked to transform the fights for gender equity and racial justice. Pauli Murray’s articulation of “Jane Crow” — alluding to “Jim Crow,” the discriminatory system of state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the southern United States — informed her critiques of the male-dominated civil rights movement, arguing that women should be foregrounded within the movement because racism and sexism must be battled in tandem. This critique would not only lead to the founding of the National Organization for Women, but would also inspire and influence leaders such as Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King, Jr., Eleanor Roosevelt, Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and so many others.

As leaders in the women’s empowerment and racial justice movement, working at the intersection of race and gender is crucial to our social equity work. We know that without an intersectional lens, movements that aim to address injustice towards one group may end up perpetuating systems of inequities towards other groups, which is why intersectionality fully informs the work of YWCA. By encouraging conversations around inequity in communities across the country, intersectionality enlightens us to the barriers to civic engagement faced by people of color, informs us of the many inequities faced by the women we serve, and drives our advocacy agenda to address the underlying gender equity and racial justice tensions that are deeply embedded in our nation.

As you will see through the updates below, our commitment to these issues lives in the soul of everyone at YWCA, because we demand a world of equity and human decency, we envision a world of opportunity, and we commit ourselves to the work of justice. We cannot afford to abandon one commitment in exchange for another in the bold pursuit of our mission to eliminate racism and empower women.

In order to access the power we need to change lives, we must work collaboratively. Will you join us in the journey to equality and liberation? Take action with us by signing onto the initiatives and upcoming events detailed below. The critical work to create a world of true equity and justice requires the power of all of us — let’s get to it, together.

In Solidarity,
Margaret Mitchell


At YWCA, we take a Stand Against Racism every day by raising awareness of the impact of institutional and structural racism and by building community among those who work for racial justice.

This year, our campaign will take place from April 28 – May 1 and will be focused on the theme, We Can’t Wait: Equity and Justice Now! Our theme — led by the Stand Against Racism Challenge, which provides folks the opportunity to dedicate 21 days to the pursuit of racial justice starting on April 4 — merges five focus areas which will guide and inform our racial equity work. These focus areas include civic engagement, economic opportunity and insecurity, education, healthcare, and representation in media.

This year, we invite you to take a Stand Against Racism by:



Pauli Murray

Uplifting the Unsung Legacy of Black Feminists

This year, YWCA is celebrating Black “Herstory” Month by uplifting  The Unsung Legacy of Black Feminists: From Jane Crow to Intersectionality. Black feminists like Pauli Murray, Kimberlé Crenshaw, and Dorothy Height have been – and continue to be – at the forefront of how we all think, strategize, and co-conspire to address interconnected systems of inequality. At YWCA, our mission is inspired by the perspectives of Black feminists who have consistently transformed the fights for gender equity and racial justice, which is why we are thrilled to uplift their critical work. Learn more about the Black feminists whose work inspires, informs, and guides so many advocates for equity and justice in this blog..

Throughout the month, we will be highlighting just a few of the many Black feminists whose work paved the way for the next generation of activists and changemakers! Check out some of the women we have highlighted alreadyon TwitterFacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn and follow along in the national conversation by using #BlackHerstoryMonth, #BHM2022, and #BlackFeminist.


YWomenVote 2022 National Survey

This month, YWCA USA launched our national civic engagement efforts for 2022 with the release of findings from our latest national poll of women! The YWomenVote 2022 survey examined the experiences of women of various backgrounds, demographics, races, and ethnicities to deepen our understanding of specific experiences, concerns, and priorities for this Congressional session and ahead of upcoming midterm elections.

YWomenVote 2022 findings confirm what YWCAs across the country see every day in our shared work with women, families, and communities — that women across the spectrum are united in their support for economic, caregiving, gender-based violence, health, and racial justice policy solutions that address their concerns.

Learn more and access the summary of findings, full report, and spotlights of surveyed women here. Stay tuned for more on our nationwide voter registration and mobilization efforts later this spring!

YWomenVote 2022 National Survey

The Fight for Reproductive Justice Continues!

For more than fifty years, YWCA has supported the reproductive freedom of all people to make fundamental decisions about whether and when to have children, including the right to a safe, healthy, abortion. Right now, multiple states across the country – including Mississippi – are working diligently to overturn Roe v. Wade and with it, the reproductive freedom of every person in this country. If successful, this generation would be the nation’s first in almost 50 years to come of age without the constitutional right to abortion care.

In honor of the 49th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, YWCA USA hosted an Instagram Live with Eboni K. Williams and YWCA COO Elisha Rhodes for a conversation about the current state of reproductive rights in America and what it means for the women — particularly women of color — we serve. As a follow-up, Eboni also published an article that explains how abortion bans will affect the most vulnerable people and discusses the collaborative work YWCA USA did to file an amicus brief in the ongoing Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court case. Read the full article here.

During this fight to protect abortion rights, we need allies like you to speak out! Join us by urging your Members of Congress to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act and take part in the national conversation by tagging @YWCAUSA and using hashtags such as #ReproductiveJustice, #DefendAbortion, and #MyBodyMyChoice to show your support!

YWCA Spotlight: YWCA Kaua'i

YWCA Spotlight: YWCA Kaua’i

In honor of Black History Month, YWCAs across the country are uplifting the voices and accomplishments of Black people. For us, this time is not only important to celebrate the culture and contributions of Black people but also their rich history throughout the nation.

That is why we are proud to spotlight YWCA Kaua’i  and their work to educate folks on the understated history of Black people in Hawai?i. YWCA Kaua?i is honoring Black History Month by exploring the rich history of Black folks dating back to the 16th century and the contributions of just a few Black people who have shaped modern Hawai?i. They have created a series entitled “Black History in Hawai?i” which explores the stories of influential Black people in Hawai?i over 20 days. To follow this critical storytelling, check out their  Facebook and Instagram!

YWCAs across the nation will continue providing services, uplifting voices, and supporting Black communities as a part of our mission to eliminate racism and create a world of peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. Learn more about a YWCA near you today.

Powering Positive Change: Become a Sponsor

YWCA works with individuals, organizations, foundations, government institutions, and corporations to help further our mission of empowering women and eliminating racism.

We welcome new sponsors and partners to work together on standing against injustice, strengthening families, and helping communities. Our sponsors provide financial support for our signature programs, such as YW WE360, YW Strive and YW Strive for Teens, as well as our Stand Against Racism and Week Without Violence campaigns.

Join us as we reimagine the future for women, girls, and people of color. For information on our partner and sponsorship opportunities, click here.

If you are interested in making a donation, consider the many ways you can  give a gift here.

For more information contact  Ambre Reed, Director of Grants Management and Development

New on the YWCA Blog

Have you checked out the YWCA Blog? Our blog features stories, tips, and other information designed to inspire and empower girls, women, and people of color on a variety of topics from civic engagement to women’s equity in the workplace and everything in between.

Read more about our work in our latest blog posts.

Upcoming Events and Important Dates

  • February 22: Anniversary of Montgomery Boycotts Arrests
  • March 1: State of the Union Address
  • March 2: National Read Across America Day
  • March 3: International Sex Worker’s Rights Day
  • March 7: Anniversary of Women in Civil Rights First Selma March
  • March 8: International Women’s Day
  • March 14: Pi-Day
  • March 14-15: 2022 UN Commission on the Status of Women
  • March 17: St. Patrick’s Day
  • March 21: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • March 23: Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act
  • March 31: Transgender Day of Visibility

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