Racial Justice Advocacy and Programming

YWCA’s approach to racial justice goes beyond changing hearts and minds. We strive to transform communities, systems and public policies. We do this through supporting measures that promote equal protection and equal opportunity for people of color at the national, state and local levels. We also do this through our annual Stand Against Racism campaign and through our racial justice programs and services, which engage more than 140,000 people each year.

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Consulting, Programs, and Workshops

The YWCA offers a variety of programs and approaches in helping to unlearn racism and promote equity. Personally and professionally, it is essential that individuals unlearn the programmed messages that consciously and unconsciously promote racism, learn to communicate cross-culturally, and begin a deeper understanding of “others.”

The opportunity to take this very personal journey rarely emerges as so many of us avoid such conversation, fearing we’ll say “the wrong thing.”  The YWCA wants to help lead you and your organization through this dialogue.  Our trained staff is equipped to lead you and your company cultural competency and equity.

The YWCA Racial Justice Program Team is available to meet with your staff to find out about your organization’s size, culture, needs and resources and work with you to both develop and support your own internal diversity plan. Fees for this service vary.

There are a variety of programs to provide the opportunity that will work best for you, your business or your organization.  All programs and curriculum are adaptable to fit your needs:

Art of Mindful Facilitation

This facilitators Training teaches participants to facilitate forums to discuss race and our community through the use of Lee Mun Wah’s training films, experiential exercises, and a variety of mindful techniques.

Creating Community Behind Shields

YWCA is facilitating dialogue between law enforcement and Muslim and Latino groups to build mutual awareness and understanding, for not only communities of color, but also the police officers sworn to protect them. This approach requires a forum in which officers and community groups meet, without fear of judgment or reprimand, to share motives, challenges, and experiences. Furthermore, law enforcement chiefs and sheriffs meet with their own peer group to explore personal biases, as well as biases within department ranks and policies. Together, these groups move this awareness back into our community through proactive, culturally-sensitive approaches to public safety.

Cultural Competency

Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes and policies that come together in a system, agency or professional and enable that system, agency or professional to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. The word culture is used because it implies the integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thought, communication, actions, customs, beliefs, values and institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group. The word competence is used because it implies having the capacity to function effectively.

This nine-week curriculum includes personal reading assignments, research, group discussion and self-introspection to help move individuals through the six phases of Cultural Competency.

Unlearning Racism Workshops

This forum is designed for participants to discover conscious and unconscious ways that racism has impacted their lives. This powerful program is designed to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of differences. The workshops are scheduled quarterly and upon request from groups, organizations, or businesses.

Understanding Racism: The Color of Fear

This four-hour workshop includes a facilitator-guided viewing of the 90-minute film, The Color of Fear. The Color of Fear is an insightful, groundbreaking film about the state of race relations in America as seen through the eyes of eight North American men of Asian, European, Latino and African descent.

In a series of intelligent, emotional and dramatic confrontations the men reveal the pain and scars that racism has caused them. What emerges is a deeper sense of understanding and trust. This is the dialogue most of us fear, but hope will happen sometime in our lifetime.

Half-day workshop can be hosted at your location or at the YWCA in Rockford, IL.

RACE: The Power of an Illusion

This provocative, three-part film series questions the very idea of race as biology.  It is designed to challenge long and deeply held assumptions and provides the opportunity for people to examine their beliefs about race, privilege, policy and justice.  Each portion of the series is covered in a two hour workshop.  Participants are encouraged to participate in all three sessions to experience the greatest impact.