YWCA Commemorates AANHPI Heritage Month by Uplifting our Leaders

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YWCA Commemorates AANHPI Heritage Month by Uplifting our Leaders

Year-round, YWCA provides support to diverse communities across the country with the vision of forging a world where women, girls, and people of color can thrive.  To honor these contributions and celebrate Asian American Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AANHPIHM), we are thrilled to showcase YWCA leaders from the AANHPI community who make all we do possible.

YWCA Berkeley/Oakland recently welcomed Executive Director Jennifer Radics-Johnson, who was named “Inspiring Leader” by the Center for Nonprofit Management in 2018 and brings more than 15 years of financial, personnel, and program management experience to her leadership role at YWCA. Jennifer is a first-generation American, born to a Vietnamese father and Filipina mother who says that as, “a woman of color, and the daughter of immigrants, I believe representation matters, and that is why I am greatly involved in local, statewide, and national committees, commissions, and projects.” In addition to these commitments, the recent racial reckoning and rise in anti-Asian attacks deeply affected Jennifer and has caused her to take pause to think about how to ensure that her staff, Board, and programs are inclusive and anti-racist while also reaching out to the community to ask what could be done to address the racial issues most important to them. We are thrilled to have a dynamic leader like Jennifer join the YWCA network, and we encourage you to read more about her here.

Director of Accounting at YWCA Greater Los Angeles Ruby Yuen knows firsthand what it means to the families at her YWCA to get the support they need. As the first person to graduate from college in her family, she deeply relates to the obstacles and commitments that are required to build a better life for ourselves and our families. At YWCA, Ruby is fueled by this passion and understanding and works collaboratively with her coworkers to assist people in need through providing economic growth opportunities, workforce development programs, early child care, and so much more! Ruby believes that during AANHPIHM, “we must embrace the different cultures in our society and promote social causes that build communities stronger economically and more inclusive socially and culturally.” We thank Ruby for this insight and encourage you to read more about her here.

Archana Nadkarni is a Finance Assistant at YWCA McLean County who applies her passion for working with the community and her love of diversity into empowering those around her. While she works diligently at YWCA to support the mission, as an Indian American woman and mother, she has also become a parent leader at local schools and regularly volunteers with the Sewa International, Hindu Temple of Bloomington-Normal, a peer-support group for Indian women in Bloomington-Normal. Archana has been working at her YWCA for 5 years and says she loves supporting the YWCA mission because, “it helps empower women from different backgrounds to be independent and build their confidence.”

These are just a few examples of YWCA leaders from the AANHPI community on the front lines of the effort to eliminate racism and empower women while being active contributors and public servants across the country. These leaders are an integral part of the YWCA story, and we are honored to share their legacies.

Like these leaders, we must continue to collaborate openly and cross-culturally to build a world where justice, freedom, and dignity for all is guaranteed and the voices of marginalized communities are included throughout our legislative, societal, and civic structures. Looking forward, we must continue to support AANHPI communities and heed the voices of AANHPI women and voters — who accounted for the largest increase in voter turnout in 2020  jumping from 56% in 2016 to 64% — and are the fastest growing voting constituency in the nation. Throughout our history, we have proudly served these communities and ask that our allies check out our YWomenVote Survey findings to learn more about the top concerns of AANHPI women ahead of the 2022 elections to ensure their voices are heard.

We hope you will join us in celebrating #AANHPIHM by following us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram to see more stories of YWCA leaders from the AANHPI community and add your voice to the chorus of people uplifting their legacy, culture, and contributions to the world.