Why Stand Against Racism™?
Racism and discrimination hurt everyone and has had a profound effect on children and adults, our communities and our institutions. Today, we can look back on our history and examine the direction, development and effects of the enslavement of Africans, the dispossession of Indian and Mexican lands, the exclusion of Asians from immigration and citizenship as events that have shaped the current attitudes and actions supported by the power of law, institutional structures, and culture in this country. Race and the legacy of discrimination continue to affect our lives - whether in our everyday interactions with others at work, school, or in our neighborhoods and communities.
Racism can take many different forms. These can include, but are not limited to:
- Personal attacks of any kind, including violence
- Written or verbal threats or insults
- Damage to property, including graffiti
No One is Born a Racist
Our views and beliefs develop as we grow up. If a child or young person grows up within a racist family, or has friends who are racist, they may believe that racism is normal and acceptable. Prejudice of any kind is often based on ignorance and fear of anything unfamiliar (source: YWCA USA).
The YWCAs in America and around the world have a rich history of advocating for racial justice and today is no exception. The YWCA’s One Imperative adopted by the National YWCA movement in 1970 commands us: To thrust our collective power toward the elimination of racism, wherever it exists and by any means necessary. It is the One Imperative that guides our process to eliminate injustices in employment, education, healthcare, housing, human services and other areas that affect the quality of an individual’s life.
Throughout our history, the YWCA has been in the forefront of most major movements in the United States as a pioneer in race relations, labor union representation, and the empowerment of women. Today, we not only intend to raise awareness of the issues of racism, we intend to affect real change in the lives of our family, friends and co-workers through a process that identifies and eradicates the barriers that divide us and that perpetuate racism and other forms of oppression. As individuals learn what has kept us apart, they will develop new ways of working cooperatively by creating new models of shared resources and perspectives. Our goal is not to pave the way for the future. It is to create the future - a better future for all.