Community Engagement Programs

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When people of diverse backgrounds come together to share stories, learn a common vocabulary, and commit to “staying in the conversation”, change is possible. Individuals gain the confidence to speak out about racial injustice, build alliances across color lines, and develop a deeper understanding of the effects of racism on all of us – and then we can identify strategies that will move us toward racial equity.

Our community engagement forums, which are hosted throughout the community, offer individuals the opportunity to come together and discuss current issues of racial justice, learn from one another, and  deepen our ability to effectively talk about racism! Free and open to the public.

It was at a Let's Talk @ Lunch session that I really started leaning in to what whiteness means, that it is important to hold and own that I am white and that it gives me unearned privilege. I thought I understood what privilege meant, and then I started hearing a few friends using the word "whiteness." I was startled and wanted to object to the negativity of the way that sounded and then I understood the way our words, when reducing our identities to a color, have loaded meanings. That for a person of color, black could be owned in a positive recognition of identity, but it could also be used by a racially biased person, to mean something negative. The use of the word whiteness to ascribe an identity is the same. It helped me level more realistically with Race as a social construct. This deepened understanding didn't happen in one discussion. It happened because I kept reading and listening and chewing on it to get there.
People walk away from YWCA Racial Justice programs in a more empowered way to deal with issues in their own home and their own neighborhood and it has an impact everywhere. It is a very powerful tool.
Marion Flynn, racial justice program participant

Have your own movie night!

Here are a few videos you could view on your own or with your family, friends, or co-workers to challenge your thinking and jump start conversation: