Standing Against Racism: Working for justice, any day of the year
Captured by Lindsay Kappius of Kappius Photography (https://kappiusphotography.myportfolio.com/)

Standing Against Racism: Working for justice, any day of the year

YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women every single day. We strive to achieve our mission through our various works like transitional housing for women and families, after-school literacy support for students K-5 and most of all, by advocating for peace, justice, dignity and freedom with our racial justice forums, events and resources.

With the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve had to move some of our programs to be virtual, or have virtual components, and our annual Stand Against Racism event was no exception.

SAR, stand against racism, anti-racism, YWCA
YWCA's regional director of youth programs, Dr. Sheila Ijames, at YWCA's June 28, 2020 Sidewalk Stand captured by Lindsay Kappius of Kappius Photography

We want to thank all of the individuals and organizations that came together throughout the Charlotte community to take a Stand where they were and raise awareness of the racial disparities that are embedded in the very foundation of our country.

SAR, stand against racism, anti-racism, YWCA
SAR, stand against racism, anti-racism, YWCA

For some it was signing our Stand Against Racism Pledge and posting how they take a stand for justice in their every day lives.  For others, there were neighborhood Stands with families and friends involved, like Renee and Ashley.

Renee found out about YWCA Central Carolinas’ Stand Against Racism event through her employer, Bank of America. After learning the ways that she could support our anti-racist event, she spread the word to her family and neighbors, including Ashley. They made anti-racism signs, wore orange on June 26, and asked drivers to honk!

“For every honk I committed a donation,” said Renee. “As a result, we had close to 250 honks, resulting in a $250 donation to YWCA. Two other neighbors also committed they would donate $250. We all work for Bank of America [in Charlotte] so we’ve processed a matching gift to be sent to YWCA. With a few other donations, a total of $1600 was sent to YWCA!”

Supporting anti-racism work can be simple and lead to some amazing impact. By spreading the word about our mission and event, Renee brought her neighborhood closer together while supporting our work and programs.

SAR, stand against racism, anti-racism, YWCA

Racial justice work doesn’t take a break.

Though our Stand Against Racism event has passed, there are still so many ways that you can make an impact in your community, workplace and family:

  • Look back at our Stand Against Racism action items
  • As our Stand Against Racism panelist Shay Merritt said, “Be willing to be uncomfortable.” 
  • Take the Implicit Quiz at implicit.harvard.edu.
    • Read about and define implicit bias, systemic racism, structural racism, and white supremacy and list 2 examples of each in your life.
    • Talk about race with someone whose ethnicity is different from yours and each of you names 3 ways you know you demonstrate implicit bias then discuss ways you can begin to dismantle your implicit biases.
    • Think about the ways you have benefitted from someone else’s implicit biases.
  • Go online and listen to a webinar or take part in a zoom meeting around race or an issue where race is a component.
  • Talk with your co-workers, neighbors, friends, social groups, professional associations about hosting/participating racial equity/diversity training.

But most all, just don’t stop learning. Understand that we all have ways we can grow in the work to advocate and work for a brighter future. Be patient with yourself and with others, and use the resources that you have.

Taking a stand against racism is something we can each do every single day. How are you taking a stand?

SAR, stand against racism, anti-racism, YWCA
YWCA's director of Women In Transition, Rebecca Stickel, at YWCA's June 28, 2020 Sidewalk Stand captured by Lindsay Kappius of Kappius Photography

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