YWCA Southeast Wisconsin
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September 2015

By Martha Barry, PhD, Racial Justice Director, YWCA Southeast Wisconsin

Finding Hope in the Horror

There is much in the news to provide pause. We witness thousands fleeing devastation in war-torn Syria and Iraq creating upheaval in Europe. Massacres occur in public places, even a house of worship. We watch our own community struggle with gun violence and the murders of our young people and adults.

Through all of these horrific moments, I want to encourage all of you who join us in working to resist evil, create good, and change outcomes for people of color. We can do our work with joy.

The work happening in this community at both the YWCA and among our friends and fellow racial justice advocates in areas such as changing homelessness, decreasing infant mortality for children of color, providing jobs and transportation for those most in need of work, and providing access to preventative health care are all moving us forward toward ending the stranglehold of racism.

I understand this work can be exhausting and daunting. However, I’d like to think our hearts are big enough to hold each other in our moments of horror and pain as we move collectively toward a more just and equitable community.

Eliminating racism is more than tackling oppression like a wrestling opponent or attacking a wall brick by brick. It requires us to be destructors and constructors at the same time.

While we dismantle structures of oppression, we need to replace them with ones that support us, honor us and welcome our differences. Our work includes building bridges, finding commonalities, and restructuring relationships to bring stronger outcomes for all people.

How can you listen deeply to the horrors of racism and bear witness to the pain while also holding a glimmer of light and hope that will change society for good?

Let’s stand in solidarity with one another.

 

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The 2038 Racial Justice Blog includes monthly insight from YWCA staff and community members working for a more just and equitable Milwaukee. Learn more about our 2038 goal.