Racial & Social Justice

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At YWCA Spokane, we are committed not only to providing free and confidential programs and services to women, men, children, and families but also to supporting and uplifting racial and social justice efforts within our community and serving as a voice for what is right, fair, and just.

We commit ourselves to the work of racial equity and social justice. We envision a world of equity, opportunity, and human decency. We will get up and continue to do the work until injustice is rooted out, until institutions are transformed, and until the world sees women, girls, and people of color the way we do: Equal. Powerful. Unstoppable.

As the needs of women and communities evolve, so will the work of YWCA Spokane. We will continue to work to create safety, security, and economic and racial justice for everyone, until justice just is.

the History

A group gathered in Spokane holding a YWCA sign
Image scanned at the YWCA Spokane

YWCA’s commitment to racial justice and civil rights runs deep. Since the 1800s, Black and Native women have been providing leadership in YWCA’s national movement. It’s because of their leadership that YWCA USA began working for integration in 1946 throughout the organization, adopting an ‘interracial charter’ that established that “wherever there is injustice on the basis of race, whether in the community, the nation, or the world, our protest must be clear and our labor for its removal, vigorous, and steady.” That work culminated in the creation of YWCA’s One Imperative in 1970: To thrust our collective power towards the elimination of racism, wherever it exists, by any means necessary.

Today, there are more than 200 YWCA agencies across the nation. We remain committed to ensuring everyone is afforded equal protection under the law. Our intersectional mission to eliminate racism and empower women demands that we advocate against the oppression too many groups and individuals endure. We recognize the interconnected experiences of discrimination and disadvantage that women face from their overlapping identities. 

Since 1903, YWCA Spokane has been helping women and children overcome social, economic, and personal barriers in order to accomplish their goals and achieve healthier and more fulfilling lives. Today, areas of focus include supporting victims of intimate partner domestic violence, promoting early childhood education, and confronting racial and social justice issues that negatively impact our clients and our community. By working at the intersections of inequality, poverty, and domestic violence, YWCA Spokane is able to disrupt longstanding societal patterns of trauma.


  • Community Partnerships: Enhance community outreach; develop partnerships with agencies and businesses fostering racial and social justice; share ideas, stories, perspectives, and goals; support each other with action.
  • Events: Promote and support events and activities facilitated by community partners focused on diversity, equity, and inclusivity; facilitate events and activities led by YWCA Spokane that promote racial equity and social justice such as our annual Equity For All, the Racial Justice Challenge, and more.
  • Education & Training: Provide ongoing education to YWCA staff and board members on topics of systemic racism, social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusivity; promote awareness of subconscious thoughts or attitudes that affect perceptions about people, the decisions we make, and the impact on our community by facilitating RSJ related trainings for YWCA staff, board of directors, and mission partners, and community members.


YWCA Spokane’s Racial & Social Justice Learning Community is comprised of agency leaders, programmatic staff, board members, and community partners committed to the work and mission of YWCA Spokane. Together, this group plans functions that promote diversity and inclusivity, researches tools and practices for improving multicultural services for clients in all settings, and acts in an advisory role to YWCA Spokane and the agency’s Board of Directors in order to:

  • Enhance agency knowledge and engagement in matters of racial and social justice.
  • Address barriers to a culture that embraces and celebrates diversity within the communities we serve.
  • Identify organizational policy and procedures for review and development regarding issues of diversity, equity and inclusivity.
  • Promote diversity, equity, and inclusivity in employment, in business practices, and in the services provided to the community.
  • Strengthen collaboration with community partners focused on racial equity and social justice work.

2022 RSJ Committee  |  How To Join The RSJ Learning Community   |   Statement From YWCA Board of Directors

Together, let’s continue to do the work, until justice just is.

Thank You to Our Racial & social justice Learning Community

In addition to your service in our community, we appreciate your commitment to YWCA Spokane’s mission to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. Thank you for all you do!

2022 – 2023 Racial & Social Justice Learning Community

Co-Chairs: Tamika LaMere
Existing Members: Liz Backstrom, Rachel Dannen, Jeanette Hauck, Christina Kamkosi,  Kiana McKenna, Carmen Pacheco Jones, Dr. Claudine Richardson, Jemma Riedel-Johnson, Erica Schreiber, Dr. Deborah (Deb) Svoboda, Laura Vickers, Brit Wilson
Welcome New 2022 Members: Emily Arneson, Kassa Brock, Jennifer Compau, Kathryn DePaolis, Alethea Dumas, Lara Estaris, Jessica Johnson, Steve Lloyd, Caroline Mark, Jennee Pool, Edward Renouard,  Wendy Schatz, Heather Schmitt, Ryan Simmons, Karla Trejo-Bernal

To learn more about how you can get involved with our racial and social justice efforts, please email rsjteam@ywcaspokane.org. You can learn more about joining YWCA’s RSJ Learning Community here.

Read the 2022 RSJ Impact Report here.


Join us to champion equality, end gender discrimination, and to combat injustices across economic, political, and daily life that pose as barriers for so many. This work requires action from us all. Every person is responsible for creating change. The time to act is now, and we urge the Spokane community to join us. Join us in changing our future.

Ways to step into action:
  • Stay Informed: Sign up for our email updates and read our blog. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
  • Have Courageous Conversations: Join our Racial and Social Justice Facebook Group to share resources, discuss, learn, and grow together.
  • Engage In Community: Attend events, rallies, townhalls, marches, and other virtual and in-person activities when it is safe to do so.
  • Support Partners In This Work: Local and national organizations have championed anti-racist work for generations. Review our suggested list or explore and identify groups that align with your passions or biggest area for growth.
  • Educate Yourself: dedicate time, space, and energy to deepen your understanding of concepts related to race, power, privilege, and leadership.
  • Advocate: Contact your legislators share your voice about issues that impact you, your family, and your community.
  • Donate: Your partnership is paramount to our racial and social justice work. Consider a gift in support of our mission at YWCA Spokane.
  • Volunteer: Consider volunteering for an event or join our YWCA Racial and Social Justice Learning Community for a one-year term or more.

Support Our Partners In This Work

Many local organizations are committed to peace, justice, freedom, and dignity. In addition to your partnership with YWCA Spokane, we encourage you to learn about, join, and support the organizations doing equity work in our community. We have compiled information about many of these partners to make it easier for you to get involved.

Support Our Partners

Learn about Fellow Community MEMBERS

As part of our ongoing RSJ Spotlight series, our Equity Coordinator, Lara, sits down with an organization or individual in our community each month to spotlight the work they do to create real and lasting change for a more equitable Spokane.

May’s Spotlight highlights Community Outreach & Advocacy Organizer for APIC Spokane, Naghmana Sherazi.


Have a question for us? Want to submit someone for a future RSJ Spotlight?

Ask a question or make a suggestion below!

RSJ-Related Questions
How did you hear about the Racial & Social Justice Committee?