By Amy Hunter
Director of Racial Justice, YWCA Metro St. Louis
What’s going on in Ferguson?
We have failed as a community to treat each other as kin. This is apparent in the way this incident was handled. If Mike Brown had been Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson’s son, he would still be alive. This is not about breaking the law, or being under the suspicion of breaking a law. Every adult, at some point of their lives, likely has broken the law, but it doesn’t have to cost a life. We have a judicial system to assess crime and punishment. The situation in Ferguson, where there is mistrust of that authority, exposes the issues that are deeper and more systemic, like failing educational systems, profiling, and the lack of trust between people that are different from one another. Today Missouri Governor Jay Nixon said there may be “bumps in the road” ahead. No doubt. How we navigate those “bumps” will be key.
By Donte Hilliard, Director of Mission Impact, YWCA USA
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – U. S. Declaration of Independence 1776
YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. – Adopted by the General Assembly, 2009
If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it. – Zora Neal Hurston
by Heather Nannery Communications Manager, YWCA New York City
Who is the 21st Century Girl? How can we support her aspirations? What happens when 200 girls and women unite to find out?
The YWCA of the City of New York (YW) took on these questions and more on June 2 at the First Annual Potential to Power Girls Symposium. The YW convened over 200 girls and 50 influential women to engage in important discussions about racial and gender equity in New York City.
“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.
By Sonya Burnham-Collins, MSc YWCA Bergen County Board Member
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
– Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream, 1963
by Rachel Abramson
Executive Director of HealthConnect One
I am a child of the sixties, and a Jew who takes seriously the prophetic challenge to pursue justice. But my connection to the struggle for racial justice has become more personal for me through my work in health care and in public health.
In the mid-1980′s, I was a 32-year old postpartum nurse, and I was a breastfeeding mother. I worked in a teaching hospital in Chicago, where the postpartum unit had private rooms, semi-private rooms (2 beds), and a couple of “Medicaid rooms,” larger spaces that contained 4 or 5 beds. Postpartum mothers in the Medicaid rooms were primarily women of color, and very few of them breastfed their babies. I was in love with the power of breastfeeding, in my own life and for the families I was caring for.