Friday, June 6, 2008

News Item: Racism Exists

GLA is embarking on the exciting work of planning "Catapult 2011," a training initiative aimed at "catapulting" our work to eliminate racism and empower women to its furthest, most transformative end. YW advocates may have thought the the original language of the YWCA One Imperative was bold. In 1971, we proclaimed that the YWCA will thrust its collective power toward the elimination of racism, wherever it exists, and by any means necessary.

This radical statement was only the beginning. Now, in 2008, we are practically and strategically aiming to fling ourselves miles further.

In preparing background materials for this initiative, we needed common language about our core values to get us started. At our absolute foundation, YWCAs share a belief that racism exists. This may sound obvious, but we've all heard the disclaimers and counter arguments-- sometimes from our own colleagues, board members, and families. Indeed, one YWCA staffer recently discussed a conversation she had with an individual who tried to tell her that "Sexism is real. Racism is just a concept."

The NAACP's Research Department has a slew of Fact Sheets that describe conditions for African Americans in Education, Health, Criminal Justice, and Economic Empowerment. In addition, their November 2007 report "State of Emergency: Stemming the Tide of Injustice Against African Americans" gives some of the starkest evidence that the playing field is not even where race is concerned.

If we are to go boldly forward, thrusting our collective power all the way, there will always be some for whom proof is needed. I'm sure many have favorite resources that pin down some of the most egregious manifestations of racism-- feel free to leave a comment with yours.


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