YWCA’s Stand Against Racism 2021 events remained virtual as our community continued navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Our theme, Addressing Racism as a Public Health Crisis, called attention to the racial disparities that remain present in our country.
Throughout the pandemic, we have seen the racial disparities at work in our systems. Communities of color continue to face the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 with higher infection and death rates. And individuals have used their fear of this pandemic as an excuse to act on their prejudices. From March 2020 to February 2021, the organization Stop AAPI Hate has documented at least 3,795 attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.
Addressing Racism as a Public Health Crisis
Understanding and addressing systemic racism from this public health perspective is crucial to eliminating racial and ethnic inequities, and to improving opportunity and well-being across communities.
In our virtual forum, we explored the weathering effect that racism has on public health, especially for children and youth, with local public health and mental health experts. Panelists included Dr. Ophelia Garmon-Brown, SVP & chief community health & wellness officer at Novant Health, Dr. Raynard Washington, deputy public health director for Mecklenburg County, and Calvin Fox, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and therapist at Perry Counseling.
You can watch our forum any time on our YouTube channel.
Taking a Stand in our community
YWCA Central Carolinas staff also continued our racial justice and advocacy efforts through a socially distanced Sidewalk Stand on Park Road, in front of and leading up to YWCA’s campus.
Team members held signs that called for passersby to honk in support with messages like, ‘Honk for justice,’ ‘Racism is a pandemic,’ ‘Humanity – do you know what it means?’ and more.
Through our Stand Against Racism events, we were able to interact with all our neighbors, especially during our Sidewalk Stand. We cannot say that everyone agreed with our stance of calling out systemic racism and challenging others to take a stand, some individuals called our Front Desk and one individual even stopped on the Park Road to share their objections. These moments of negative feedback are heavily outweighed by the positivity and support YWCA received throughout the community.
Taking a stand against racism is not easy, but it has to be done. For yourself, your neighbor and our community’s future.
Thank you to Allie Hay, for photographing our Park Road Sidewalk Stand. And thank you to all of the YWCA supporters, partners and community members that took part in our annual Stand Against Racism events. We hope you felt connected with the racial justice community, even if from a distance.
The campaign may have ended, but the work remains. You can continue taking a Stand by supporting anti-racist legislation:
- Tell Congress it’s time to declare racism a public health crisis!
- End Maternal Mortality: Cosponsor the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act (S. 346/H.R. 959)
- Stand Against Racism: Pass the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act (S. 937)
- Demand Safety, Accountability, and Justice for All: Strengthen and Pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act (H.R. 1280)