YWCA USA is now accepting blog submissions from young women and girls of color under 21 as part of our 2016 Stand Against Racism campaign. Throughout the campaign, which is themed “On a Mission for Girls of Color,” we will highlight issues that impact girls of color such as racial profiling in school, access to safe play, and healthcare.
Want to share your story? Send submissions of 700 words or less by March 31 to firstname.lastname@example.org. If your submission is selected, we’ll feature it on YWCA USA’s blog and share it on our social media channels.
By the time she’d reached the refugee camp where I was working the nightshift, she’d walked 17 kilometres from the Serbian border. Carrying her 4-month old in her arms, her shoes were sodden and caked in mud. There had been heavy rain in Croatia that week and the ground in Opatovac Refugee Camp was flooded. A heavy fog had descended, cloaking much of the camp and limiting visibility. It was also freezing. That was the night she’d become separated from her husband in the crowd.
In McKinney, Texas, 14-year-old Dajerria Becton was slammed on the ground while she was wearing nothing but a two-piece bathing suit. Her friends rushed to help her and then one of the officers drew his gun. Most of the teenagers involved lived in the community where the pool party was held or were invited guests. It has been reported that white members of the community instigated the entire chain of events by yelling racial slurs and assaulting at least one of the teens.
Racial profiling has long been a crisis in our country stemming as far back to slavery when slave masters and police would use brutal excessive force as a method of control. The practice continued into Jim Crow when protestors would stage civil demonstrations opposing segregation and thrives today though institutional racism.
Before today’s camera phones captured the police racial profiling and killing of unarmed black males like Walter Scott, Mike Brown, Eric Garner; there was Amadou Diallo, Abner Louima, Sean Bell and most notably Rodney King. Though there were significant eye witnesses, only two police officers were convicted and served jail time for these brutal racial profiling practices.
The YWCA of Asheville is dedicated to eliminating racism and empowering women. We offer programs that bridge gaps in education, health care, child care and earning power. The YWCA has been in Asheville since 1907 and currently serves more than 2,500 families a year.
Michael Brown in Ferguson, Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Eric Garner in Staten Island, Yvette Smith in Bastrop, Texas, Aiyana Stanley-Jones in Detroit, Kathryn Johnson in Atlanta, the shooting of three young Muslims in North Carolina. The next few months will determine whether this heart-breaking litany of deaths becomes the catalyst for positive change in our society, or just another chance that passed us by.
Eliminating racism is at the center of the YWCA’s mission. That’s why each year local associations participate in Stand Against Racism, a campaign and ongoing public conversation about race and equality.
In support of this nationwide campaign, the YWCA USA was proud to convene our blog carnival for Stand Against Racism. Racial justice is an integral and defining part of the work of the YWCA. Stand Against Racism is a signature event that furthers our mission to eliminate racism and empower women across the country.
This year, we asked: How are the lives of women impacted by racism?
“The power of the arts to start conversations we might not otherwise have, to sneak past our intellects and enter our souls and change our perspective, is vast. The arts have this uncanny ability to circumvent politics and ideology and, therefore, fly under the radar and soar directly into our heart. The arts can sneak in beneath the defenses so rigidly held by our intellects and help us get unstuck in our ways. Charles Bukowski said: ‘An intellectual says a simple thing in a hard way. An artist says a hard thing in a simple way.’
This week, the Supreme Court dealt a serious blow to affirmative action by upholding a Michigan law prohibiting public universities from considering race as a factor for admissions. Also this week, President Obama unveiled a new clemency process intended to reduce prison overcrowding and to begin addressing the stark overrepresentation of prisoners of color resulting from the war on drugs. These contradictory federal decisions cut to the core of our nation’s beliefs about the state of race in the U.S.
Racism impacts the lives of women creating social division and power structure, which limits opportunities for women in all areas of their lives. Women fight for equal education, health, protection against victimization, (both at home and in society) and take a stand against the social structures that sustain discrimination and exploitation. As the month of April combines two significant recognition days, April 20th as Equal Pay Day and today’s, Stand Against Racism, it’s of great interest that women continue to fight 51 years after the Equal Pay Act when women average 77 cents earned for each male dollar. African American women are less at 69 cents and that number continues to drop even more to 57 cents for Hispanic women.