We at YWCA Southeast Wisconsin – our Staff, our Board of Directors, and our Stakeholders from a variety of communities throughout the region – hold racial justice as a fundamental value. Thisvalue permeates our work, both public and behind the scenes, and requires us to examine our own conduct when we fall short – indeed, when we fail.
And make no mistake, we are as imperfect as any other collection of human beings. All the more reason to reflect and then (re)commit ourselves with absolute resolve to building the community and the country we wish to be.
Now, our nation is at a watershed moment – a historical opportunity to be relentlessly honest with ourselves about the painful fact that no matter how much we aspire to be a nation of equal opportunity, fairness and inclusion, we are not there. Not by any measure. And we have especially hard work to do here in Southeast Wisconsin.
Yes, we are moved at this specific moment by horrific acts of violence against George Floyd and so many others before him. Each of them deserves justice without delay. But we are not standing up at this time in history to correct only recent injustice.
We have structures and systems that have been in place for generations and, despite efforts both genuine and superficial, we have not yet dismantled them. In fact, many of us who are white, do not even see these structures and systems. But our neighbors of color do; they do more than see them, they have to survive them.
If we are honest, we cannot escape the conclusion that racial stereotypes, biases, bigotry, and power dynamics are embedded in our laws, public policies, businesses practices and even in our homes. They are reflected in the use of racial profiling, neighborhood divestment, healthcare access, employment decisions and everyday actions that further imbed racism into our culture.
These structural realities are at odds with a world of equity and human decency. But we have the power to change that reality if we commit ourselves to the work of racial justice. Some of this work will be visible and much of it will not be as it must happen at our own kitchen tables, in our workplaces, or wherever our spheres of influence may be.
At YWCA Southeast Wisconsin, we join with YWCA USA and commit to “get up and continue to do the work until injustice is rooted out, until institutions are transformed, until the world sees women, girls, and people of color the way we do: Equal. Powerful. Unstoppable.”
Please consider joining us. The first step is easy, sign up to be on our email list. And, stay with us for next steps. We will take them together.
President & CEO