Racial Justice Initiatives


As the oldest and largest multi-racial women’s organization in the world, the YWCA has taken a leadership role in civil and human rights issues. Formed five years before the abolition of slavery, the YWCA has been engaged in every phase of the Civil Rights Movement.

It was one of the earliest social justice organizations that staunchly promoted anti-lynching efforts, racial integration, voting rights, and more recently, affirmative action, opposition to hate crimes and racial profiling, and comprehensive immigration reform.

In addition to public statements about the organization’s stand on civil rights, members have found simple, direct action to be most effective.

Many years ago, YWCA members cancelled plans to hold a Regional YWCA conference here in Lancaster when they learned that local hotels would not accept African American/Black delegates as guests. The action was effective, because three years later, a YWCA conference was held here and African American/Black delegates were housed in hotels with their white colleagues.

Today the YW’s Racial Justice Committee works with the community at large to use our collective power to eliminate racism wherever it exists through a wide variety of activities.

Select a Racial Justice Initiative below:

-

-

Anti-bias Curriculum

A five-session, school-based program for grades K through 8 that breaks the cycle of prejudice, hate and racism by teaching children at their most impressionable age the value of celebrating our ethnic and cultural differences. The hands-on sessions are included in the regular classroom curriculum. For further information contact Nick Miron at 717-393-1735, ext. 256.

-
-

Customized Training

These are available to address racism in our schools, businesses and community organizations. For further information contact Nick Miron 717-393-1735 ext. 256.

-

-

chestnut finish 10 (2)

 -

-

Race Against Racism

YWCA Lancaster’s commitment to eliminating racism is probably best recognized in its Race Against Racism which began in 1999 and is now the longest-running YW event of its kind in the world.  The 5K/3.1 mile race attracts well over 4,300 runners and walkers on the last Saturday in April each year, and serves as an important fundraiser for the YWCA’s racial justice initiatives.

The YWCA also hosts Humanity Fest, a multi-cultural food and craft fair in Musser Park, on the day of the race.

Click here to purchase Race Against Racism merchandise online.

-

Racial Justice Award

The Racial Justice Award is presented each year at the YWCA Annual Meeting in May to a woman who acts as a leader to identify and work against racism.

-

-

TeamRacial Justice Institute

This is a highly intensive 3-day workshop we’ve been putting on in June for over 10 years. We use national trainers, the top in their field, to examine the subtle ways racism permeates our society and look at what can be done to counteract them through a series of anti-racism skill building exercises.

There are up to 35 participants. We encourage businesses, community groups and government agencies to send along teams of two or more people because we find that’s the most effective way of changing the way their organizations operate. But many individuals come on their own. Call Nick Miron for more information, 717-393-1735, ext. 256. 2013 RJI Brochure

-

Study Circles

YWCA Lancaster will be holding several six-week Study Circle discussion groups on “Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation”. The meetings will run in the afternoon or evening hours at the YWCA, 110 N. Lime Street in downtown Lancaster and at other locations in the county.

A Study Circle is comprised of 8 to 12 people from different backgrounds and viewpoints who meet six times in two-hour sessions to talk about an issue, in this case racism. In a Study Circle, people try to understand each other’s views but they do not have to agree. The idea is to explore concerns and look for ways to make things better. A trained facilitator helps the group focus on different aspects of the issue and ensures all voices are heard and options explored.

There is no participation fee. For further information, e-mail Racial & Gender Equality Advocate Nick Miron or call him at 717-393-1735 ext. 256.