By Katie Stanton
Social Media & Online Engagement Manager, YWCA USA
This week, there were several great updates from YWCA local associations, who are working hard in their communities to empower women and put an end to racism. From New York to Seattle, association staff and volunteers worked on domestic violence awareness, provided shelter for victims of violence, started a dialogue on racial stereotypes and Halloween costumes, and showed their resilience through natural disasters.
An incredible opportunity was bestowed on me just days before the YWCA’s National Conference. As a young woman in our organization, I was given the chance to fly to Washington, D.C., and participate in a very powerful event, the 2012 YWCA National Conference. YWCA staff, board and volunteers from across the country met to voice our commitment to our mission: eliminating racism and empowering women. There I realized a significant fact: I am part of the fight for women. During Capitol Hill Day, I felt honored to have the chance to have a voice on legislative issues that affect our ability to practice our mission. The YWCA mission is especially dear to me. As the Girls Inc. Coordinator, I see the importance of empowering girls every day. I won’t soon forget the experience of being a part of that conversation on a national level.
Today’s racism, especially in politically-correct Madison, Wisc., is embedded in our institutions and opportunity structures, often hidden behind politeness. To address racism and the effects of racism in today’s world, we have to change systems, invest significant resources, and give particular consideration to solutions that come directly from communities of color.