November 23, 2020

YWCA Northwestern Illinois Receives Funding to Expand Implicit Bias and Cultural Competency training for law enforcement in Boone and Winnebago counties

The Healing Illinois initiative is an urgent invitation to create community-centered, inclusive and safe spaces to talk about racial disparities and design local solutions.

Rockford, IL– YWCA Northwestern Illinois is one of 86 recipients of a Healing Illinois grant, administered by The Illinois Department of Human Services in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust. Healing Illinois is a new and bold statewide initiative to address and heal the harms caused by racism. And, it’s a first step toward the larger mission of fighting poverty and ending racial inequality for all Illinoisans.

As a Healing Illinois grant recipient, YWCA Northwestern Illinois will expand implicit bias and cultural competency training for law enforcement in Boone and Winnebago counties including the following municipalities: Winnebago and Boone County Sheriff’s Departments, Loves Park, Roscoe, Rockton, Rockford Park District, South Beloit, Village of Winnebago, and Belvidere Police Departments.

“We are pleased to be a recipient of the Healing Illinois funds. Since 2013, YWCA has worked with many of these agencies in facilitating dialogue between law enforcement and communities of color to build mutual awareness and understanding. Implicit bias is a critical topic for law enforcement at this point in time, and we’re excited to have the opportunity to engage with them through this training.”– Kris Machajewski, CEO, YWCA Northwestern Illinois.

Ethnic and religious communities may not regularly interact with law enforcement due to cultural norms or past experiences. The training will provide culturally-sensitive means of communicating and interacting with a variety of communities to keep those in need of help as well as those who respond safe.

“We welcome training opportunities and are pleased our department can partner with the YWCA for these classes,” says Sheriff Gary Caruana. “Implicit bias is a human issue, not just a law enforcement issue. The additional training will complement what we already require that includes ethics, conflict resolution and de-escalation tactics.”

YWCA Northwestern Illinois has provided women’s empowerment programming and advocacies since 1891. The organization now serves more than 12,000 women, children, and families each month, through child care subsidy, quality child care access and improvement resources, YWCA La Voz Latina’s Hispanic and Latino community support and resources, and community racial justice work that promotes a clear commitment to equality. YWCA Northwestern Illinois delivers its mission, “eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all,” to women and families in the four-county area of Boone, Winnebago, Stephenson, and Jo Daviess, Illinois.