YWCA Focuses on Civic Engagement for Stand Against Racism

On April 23-26, YWCA New Britain joined YWCAs across the country in going virtual for the annual Stand Against Racism campaign. Stand Against Racism is a signature YWCA campaign that aims to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness about the negative impacts of institutional and structural racism in our communities.

Our efforts focused heavily on this year’s theme – civic engagement – and its role in racial justice work. With 2020 being both an election year and a Census year, civic engagement is critical in ensuring our communities get the resources and representation they deserve for years to come.

We shared ways each of us can stand against racism and engage in our communities in a meaningful way, even from home. This includes completing the 2020 Census, checking our voter registration status, and contacting elected officials.

Members of the community were also encouraged to participate in the campaign by interacting with us on social media and submitting videos of themselves taking the Stand Against Racism pledge for a video mashup.

“The recent news that the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting communities of color harder than others illustrates the continued negative impact of racism on our communities,” said YWCA New Britain Executive Director Tracey Madden-Hennessey. “The Stand is our opportunity to recommit to our mission – the elimination of racism – and the current situation highlights its relevance to our country and to those we serve.”

In place of in-person events, YWCA USA hosted a virtual town hall as an opportunity for people to unite digitally against injustices. National leaders from Supermajority, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and more discussed why voting rights, census participation, and civic engagement are essential to racial justice. The full event is now available on YouTube.

In addition, YWCA USA released a Stand Against Racism mini-series of the Organize Your Butterflies podcast. Guests included Michelle Kim, the Co-Founder and CEO of Awaken, and Dr. Ariana Curtis, the first-ever Curator of the Latinx Studies program at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture.

We typically hold a community event each year for Stand Against Racism, however, given social distancing measures, that event is being pushed to a later date. Additional details and information will be forthcoming.