YWCA Takes a Stand Against Racism
Over 200,000 individuals expected to take a Stand Against Racism
Anchorage, Alaska - YWCA Anchorage announced today an exciting new initiative. The “Stand Against Racism” initiated by YWCA is aimed at raising awareness that racism still exists in our community and that it can no longer be ignored or tolerated.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights organization located in Montgomery, Alabama, the number of hate groups operating in the United States has grown by 54% in the last eight years (there are close to 1,000 active hate groups in the United States today). SPLC’s Intelligence Report sites “immigration fears, a failing economy and the successful campaign of President Obama” as the factors that have fueled the increase.[i] Hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people. They promote hate, hostility, and sometimes violence.
In response, YWCA created the Stand Against Racism in order to combat the spread of hate and intolerance, and to honor and celebrate the richness of diversity. In 2009, the program attracted over 300 partnering organizations that became participating sites by hosting local “stands.” Nationally, over 30,000 individuals took a stand against racism by attending one of the participating sites and sending a strong message. They committed themselves to a lifetime of promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all people in their community and in the world. This powerful, unified, effort helped raise awareness that racism hurts everyone. Participants ranged from school-age children to elected officials, executives of large corporations, church leaders, and others. Racism affects everyone.
“Today, YWCA Anchorage is calling on all local organizations, corporations, churches and other houses of worship, government agencies and individuals in to join with us by becoming a participating site of the 2010 Stand Against Racism,” announced Janice Weiss, YWCA Executive Director. “Any group of any size that believes in a society free of racism is invited to join us.”
Any organization or group of individuals can become a participating site by signing up through the Stand Against Racism Web site: www.StandAgainstRacism.org. A participating site will host its own Stand against Racism event at its own location (which can be private or open to the public). Participation in the Stand against Racism is free and becoming a participating site is very simple. The YWCA will provide all the necessary materials and documents, including a How to Run the Event Template that can be customized to meet the organization’s needs. Each organization’s “stand” will range from gatherings at work to larger scale stands like rallies and marches. No matter what shape the “stand” takes in each participating site, all activities will echo the theme “racism is unacceptable.” Organizations are urged to visit www.StandAgainstRacism.org to join this important movement.
The persistence and pervasiveness of racism divides our community and keeps individuals from achieving success in education, economics, employment, and quality of life. Strength comes from numbers.
This year the Stand Against Racism will be a collaboration of 65 YWCA Associations throughout the United States. For more details, please visit www.StandAgainstRacism.org. For local information, please contact YWCA Anchorage, 644-9601 or 644-9603.
YWCA Anchorage seeks to bring people together across communities for one common goal—the elimination of racism—and we ask you to please make your voice heard by joining the Stand Against Racism.
Background:The Stand Against Racism is an annual event. Managed by the YWCA Trenton and the YWCA Princeton in New Jersey, it is a collaboration of 65 YWCA Associations nationwide. The YWCAs in America and around the world have a rich history of advocating for racial justice. Throughout our history, the YWCA has been in the forefront of most major movements in the United States as a pioneer in race relations. We intend to effect real change in the lives of our family, friends and co-workers through a process that identifies and eradicates the barriers that divide us and that perpetuate racism and other forms of oppression. As individuals learn what has kept us apart, they will develop new ways of working cooperatively by creating new models of shared resources and perspectives.