The Power of Art as a Vehicle for Social Justice

Remarks by Rabbi Donna Berman
Executive Director, Charter Oak Cultural Center

At the YWCA Hartford Region’s Stand Against Racism breakfast on April 25, Rabbi Donna Berman gave the following remarks:

“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.’

Stand Against Racism… What is Racism?

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

Sonya Collins

Sonya Collins

The Multiracial Network Stands Against Racism in Solidarity with the YWCA

By Victoria Malaney
@ACPA_MRN

YWCA Stand Against Racism LogoAs I sat down to write this blog as the Scholarship and Resources Coordinator for the Multiracial Network (MRN), I was thinking of recent articles that have been published online regarding multiracial beauty. Anecdotally, as a multiracial person it was not uncommon for my siblings and I to have strangers comment on our physical looks growing up. Sometimes the comments would be, “Oh your parents did good!” or “Wow, you all are just so beautiful!”, while these comments were unexpected and flattering I was always taken aback by the strangers who amongst stopping to comment us about our looks, we would also get the follow up question, “What are you?” The typical response, “I’m… [insert racial identifiers],” would ensue.

How are the lives of women impacted by racism?

By Michele Davis
Director of Community and Social Justice Initiatives,
YWCA of Brooklyn

Women must fight daily for pay equality,  safety at home and on the streets, and the right to not be victimized by “systems” that do not always value women.

Racism adds an additional fight for women. Racism creates barriers to housing, jobs, promotions, and other quality of life essentials.

Without the opportunity to have basic needs met and to have a quality life, women cannot succeed in supporting themselves and/or raising their children with adequate resources.

Additionally, women are faced with added stress, which results in increased anxiety and health issues.

Take a Stand Against Racism on April 25!

By Katie Stanton
YWCA USA Social Media Manager

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. On April 25, the YWCA USA will support our local associations and their activities to unite to Stand Against Racism.

Get involved! Participate in YWCA USA’s Stand Against Racism blog carnival.
This year, we want to know: How are the lives of women impacted by racism?

Join the YWCA Rochester & Monroe County to Stand Against Racism

By Jean Carroll, President & CEO
YWCA Rochester & Monroe County

Jean Carroll

Jean Carroll

This is the fourth year the YWCA of Rochester & Monroe County has participated in the Stand Against Racism and we’ve got some pretty big plans this year. As you know, the Stand is an annual community-wide event to build awareness about racism. We reach out to businesses, higher education, houses of worship and government agencies to create greater awareness and to encourage conversations about race.

Top Five on Friday – August 9

By Katie Stanton
Social Media & Online Engagement Manager, YWCA USA

If you have ever visited our website, ywca.org, and looked at all of the issues we work on, you might think it’s too much. How could we possibly take on immigration reform, budget and tax policy, health care, violence against women AND early childhood education? Why do we work on so many different things?

The Solution to Eliminating Racism: Small, Everyday Actions Add Up!

By Beth Tallon, Public Relations Director
YWCA Rock County

Each year on April 26, community organizations nationwide celebrate Stand Against Racism. Locally, both Janesville and Beloit City Councils have passed resolutions proclaiming Stand Against Racism Day in Rock County. This year, the YWCA USA asked its local organizations: “What will it take to create a community that is free of racism in all forms?”

While census figures show that roughly 36% of Beloit residents identify themselves as a minority, and Janesville’s minority population has doubled in the last decade, the biggest challenge in the Rock County community is that most of us do not know many people of color personally.

I’ve had coworkers who refer to minorities as “those people.” However, when there is a one-on-one relationship built, respect grows and racism diminishes.

Ubuntu: The Perfect Philosophy for Ending Racism

By Rukhsana Rahman
Co-chair of the YWCA Gettysburg and Adams County
Board of Directors

I believe that the perfect philosophy for eliminating racism is the African phrase, “Ubuntu” – pronounced oǒ’boǒntoō – which means “the essence of being human.”

Ubuntu says that it is not possible for us to exist as human beings in isolation. It is all about our interconnectedness. I can’t be human all by myself, and when we all possess this quality – Ubuntu – there is generosity, there is love and there is caring. In this modern day and age, we tend to think of ourselves far too frequently as just individuals, I and Me, separated from one another. However, we are connected, and what we do as individuals ultimately and indirectly affects the entire planet. When you do good things, there is a ripple effect: it is for the whole of humanity and God’s Kingdom.

I believe that if you and I embody this philosophy of Ubuntu, we can eliminate racism and all “isms” from the face of the earth.

Racism. Why are we still talking about it?

By Colleen Butler, Racial Justice Director, and Rachel Krinsky, CEO
YWCA Madison

Are you growing tired of talking about race with no clear solution in sight? Despite much progress, racial inequity continues to grow, and the collective feeling of disappointment in our failure to do better as a community is palpable.

We are wondering: “Why do we keep talking about this, and why doesn’t it get better? Whose fault is it? What are the solutions?”

The YWCA Madison suggests that the reason we keep talking about this without making much tangible progress has to do with the fact that racial disparities are part of a large and complex system of racial inequalities. And, to be clear, we believe that race IS a relevant issue – it is not “just about poverty.”

Racial disparities in any system can be understood in two different ways, requiring two different responses. Either we can believe that everyone has equal opportunity, requiring us to identify people of color as the source of their own poorer outcomes or we can believe that racial inequality has been built through a very long history of inequitable policies that still have lasting and real effects today, even if nobody wants them to.