YWCA Spokane Board of Directors’ Statement on Racial Justice
Eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all is the Mission of the YWCA. As we witness the suffering in our community and our nation, we at the YWCA Spokane continue to turn to our Mission for guidance. While most are familiar with the exceptional work that the YWCA does to serve victims of domestic violence and families living in poverty, fewer are familiar with the social justice lens of our work.
There is a heaviness throughout our community and throughout the nation, as we all grapple with how to respond to the actions and images of injustice and violence. We have watched anger and hopelessness continue to escalate and we are watching the unrest growing here and in communities across the country. Our friends and families across the nation and the world, our co-workers and neighbors here in Spokane, are all impacted by racism, by discrimination, and by the use of power and control to inflict violence and harm, including the horrible harm we have seen inflicted by instances of police violence.
It has been two weeks now since protests began in reaction to the graphic videos of the brutal torture and death of George Floyd. Protesters invoke his name and the names of Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon Reed, David McAtee, and countless others who have tragically died at the hand of police officers who had sworn to uphold their rights, regardless of race, gender, religion or any other factor.
We salute, and we support the peaceful protesters speaking out on behalf of victims of social injustice everywhere. We stand with you as you protest against racism and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. We also applaud the honorable law enforcement officers who have knelt in solidarity with protesters and those who work to protect your rights, especially the right to engage in peaceful protest.
We strongly condemn acts by those who promote racism, bias and hate, especially those who betray our trust and faith in our system of laws, whether violating an oath to uphold the law or taking the law into their own hands.
As an organization of strong, diverse women committed to building better communities, we take the issues that are gripping our nation and our community seriously. The events of the past weeks have underscored that our work toward advancing racial equality and justice is far from finished. We must step up to the challenge of our Mission to bring greater peace, justice, freedom and dignity into our homes, our businesses, our friendships, our neighborhoods and our entire community.
As civic leaders, we are committed to speaking out against racism, injustice and violence of all kinds, engaging in difficult conversations, raising awareness, learning from one another and building community. As we speak out, we acknowledge the unique burden and privilege we hold in doing so. We CAN speak out. We each have the right, the power, the opportunity and the wherewithal to speak out against injustice, not just for ourselves, but for the victims of violence who don’t have the same power and control over their own voices. We MUST continue to speak out for EVERY victim of injustice, but especially now on behalf of our black and brown brothers and sisters.
YWCA Spokane is kicking off our 14-day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge this month, and we urge you to join YWCA Spokane in committing to dismantle racism in all the insidious, deeply-ingrained ways it has infected our country. Maybe that means joining peaceful protests, reading literature on how to recognize racism and injustice, taking action to prevent and stop hate and injustice, having tough conversations with loved ones, or engaging with our elected officials to improve our society and our laws. Our work together can root out injustice, transform institutions, and create a community that sees women, girls, and people of color the way we do: Equal. Powerful. Unstoppable.
YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism, and your voice is vital to ensuring we live up to this legacy in Spokane. Whatever you do to join us in our Mission, SPEAK OUT FOR JUSTICE.
YWCA Spokane’s daily challenges will begin on Monday, June 15th, 2020 and run through Sunday, June 28th, 2020.
This challenge is accessible to anyone interested in learning more about racial equity and social justice and examining these issues in our own communities. This is an exciting opportunity to dive deeper into racial equity and social justice. We hope you’ll join us and accept this challenge.