Dear YWCA Champions,
I joined the staff of YWCA Southeast Wisconsin in June 2018, but I have been part of the “family” for more than 15 years as a proud volunteer, loyal donor and occasional consultant. During that time, I have had the honor of working alongside our leader of two decades, Paula Penebaker, YWCA SEW’s committed Board of Directors and a staff where everyone is a leader and a problem-solver.
Throughout the organization’s 160+ year history, YWCAs across the nation have been committed to lifting up community – women, immigrants from all walks of life, families. The mission has never wavered even as its expression has evolved. For more than 50 years we have expressed that mission as our “one imperative” to eliminate racism and empower women.
Our recognition of the intersectionality of racism and sexism long precedes common conversation. And, today, we are in the midst of dramatic expansion of all our programming, focusing on the underlying social determinants of health – economic empowerment and systemic racism – so that we can promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
I have been lucky to live in a number of places in our nation, but the City of Milwaukee is my home. Growing up at 36th and Brown, and later 37th & Lloyd, shaped my foundation. These experiences help me be honest with myself and others about what Southeast Wisconsin has going for it and about the serious work we have yet to do.
And YWCA SEW understands this serious work – we are not new to it and we recognize it demands resolve – every day. Nothing less will transform our community.
YWCA SEW’s approach to eliminating racism and empowering women – investing in both people’s personal futures and the future of our whole community – is essential to building real community. We are all grateful that you are building that future with us.