Impact Against Racism

Categories: Racial Justice

“I am so glad you’re making race part of the conversation. Thank you.” -Participant in Marin Organizing Committee’s housing crisis workshop

75 pledges

350 in-person conversations

2,000+ engaged online

Systemic racism means that race has an impact on all our systems and social interactions. And yet, even among progressives trying to build a more equitable world, we try to address major challenges without an explicit lens of racial equity.

We have got to do better. We have to get comfortable talking about race, and not just in spaces reserved for talking about race either. In spaces where we want to talk about the housing crisis or minimum wage or climate change too.

So YWCA spent April talking (and learning and listening and learning and listening again) about race. We showed up, we engaged partners, we dug deep. We met as a staff to audit our own programs for inclusion and racial bias. We flooded our online networks with videos and articles and images. We even stood on the sidewalk and invited people passing by to pledge to stand against racism with us.

2 staff brown bags

5 public events

10 elected officials

The response was overwhelming. Time and again people took the plunge into challenging territory, made themselves vulnerable, learned, and committed.

Our Inclusion Inventory helped one company rethink an upcoming hiring decision.

In a 100-person workshop on the housing crisis, YWCA’s Community Organizer was the only speaker to name the history of segregation and the importance of a racial equity framework in affordable housing solutions. The conversation shifted to how that group could incorporate affirmative action and desegregation into their work.

We generated dozens of calls and postcards in support of SB 54 for California to become a sanctuary state, went door to door with know-your-rights information in immigrant communities, and testified before the Marin County Board of Supervisors, naming aloud the implicit bias and impact of their understanding of “public safety.” And if you haven’t seen it yet, check out this must-read reflection on the May Day march for immigrants from YWCA Advocacy Intern Yonayda Rodas.

Senator Scott Wiener of San Francisco signed our Pledge to Stand Against Racism, committing to “actively work to support public policy solutions that prominently, openly and enthusiastically promote racial equity in all aspects of human affairs.”

It was an incredible, powerful week, building the relationships and groundwork we need for the long road ahead. We know this was one conversation of many more to come, and we are strengthened for the journey by all who joined us in the work.