Race & Social Justice
Founded in 1894, YWCA from its inception has been dedicated to the well-being of women and families of all races and faiths. Our work to advance social justice is grounded in the belief that all people deserve to live in dignity, free from violence, racism and discrimination. In 1919, we provided one of the few public meeting places for Seattle’s African-American community at what is now our Phillis Wheatley branch, one of the first interracial YWCA branches in the country.
Beginning in 2009, YWCA began the challenge of deepening the integration of racial equity and social justice in every aspect of its work. The Race and Social Justice Initiative keeps the agency focused on the manner, process and actions by which it will achieve its mission.
Three Basic Goals of RSJI:
- Internal culture which supports the elimination of institutional racism, sexism, and other discriminatory practices
- Increased knowledge on the intersection of poverty, class, race, and gender
- Support authentic, trust-based relationships with communities and each other
How RSJ work helps staff:
- Deepens their understanding of YWCA’s Vision, Mission, and the current Race and Social Justice Initiative
- Understand that YWCA’s works to eliminate racism and empower women is paradigm-shifting social justice work
- Understand that to eliminate racism, neutrality is not an option
- Understand the preferred racial equity and social justice terminology and concepts in use at YWCA Seattle | King |Snohomish
- Understand the need to critically examine, and confidently call out white supremacy, racism, social injustice, patriarchy, misogyny and internalized oppressions
- Assist their understanding that YWCA’s work to eliminate racism and empower women is paradigm-shifting social justice work
- Recognize and better understand ways in which we must collaborate and build on partnerships with people and organizations from communities of color and other marginalized communities
- Understand and be able to discuss the ways in which each participant will use knowledge learned through RSJ presentations and workshops to continue placing people served through YWCA at the center of our work
YWCA is a key member of the community. We share a passion for change and work toward it locally by advocating on issues that impact our program participants and services.