At YWCA, we believe that our country was founded on the idea of building a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. However, more than two hundred years later, this vision has yet to be fully realized. That is why this year’s theme for Stand Against Racism, We Can’t Wait: Equity and Justice Now! was inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s book, “Why We Can’t Wait”, to honor generations of civil rights activism that led to important advancements in legal, political, social, and educational spaces for many people. The theme also reiterates the urgency by which we must collectively root out inequality in our communities and in the institutions that compose our society, by demanding justice and equity for people of color now!
During our national event, global thought leader, orator, peace advocate, and CEO of The King Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Dr. Bernice A. King, sat down with YWCA USA CEO Margaret Mitchell to talk the importance of protecting our voting rights, living wage and universal income, building beloved communities which center radical nonviolent action and justice, and how regular people, advocates, and social justice organizations can stand against racism and further the #FreedomStruggle.
Additionally, we were joined by Sharmen Gowens (CEO of YWCA of Greater Atlanta) and Shannon Isom (President and CEO of YWCA Dayton), who provided powerful remarks on the collective power of YWCA and how YWCAs across the country are working to root out inequity in the communities we serve every day. If you missed the livestream, watch the recording on our YouTube page.
Every year, Stand Against Racism (SAR) is held to raise awareness about the negative effects of institutional and structural racism in our communities, as well as to foster community among people fighting for racial justice. During this year’s campaign, we were pleased to host over 50 events and reach thousands of individuals across the country and around the globe.
New this year, we offered people from all walks of life the opportunity to take the Stand Against Racism (SAR) Challenge. This 21-day challenge is designed to help foster a virtual community of growth and learning around social, systemic, and institutional racial inequity by providing participants with dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership. This year, over 16,000 participants had the opportunity to learn more about critical race theory, reproductive justice, living wage, as well as equal representation in film and television.
Our annual Stand Against Racism was a success, but the fight for racial equity and justice doesn’t stop! You can continue standing against racism by contacting your Members of Congress and urging them to declare racism a public health crisis, pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, and support the Women’s Health Protection Act! You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram, speak out, and stay connected with the movement by telling the world why you #StandAgainstRacism.
As we close out this year’s campaign, we ask our allies and comrades to heed the call to action offered by Dr. King during the event, “There has to be a galvanizing of a critical mass to bring about change. If we don’t work together, progress is going to continue to be incremental, not substantial.” With those words in mind, we hope you will continue standing with us as we carry out our bold mission to eliminate racism and empower women!