April 29, 2021

Stand Against Racism 2021 – Recap

Thank you to everyone who joined us for YWCA Spokane’s annual courageous conversation.

Last Thursday, April 22nd, we held Stand Against Racism 2021: Addressing Racism as a Public Health Crisis. There were performances of rap, song, and spoken word by local artists and a panel of experts in the field of nursing and public health. The panelists shared perspectives from their professions and their lived experiences as they unpacked racism in the context of public health.

If you joined us for Stand Against Racism, please consider completing this short survey. Thank you!

Quotes from Panelists

Lydia Guy-Ortiz

“In Washington State, we typically like to imagine that we do not have the disparities that exist in other states. We have the same disparities [in healthcare] and hypertension. We have the same disparities in HIV. We have the same disparities of COVID. If I take the percentages for maternal mortality rates whether we live in Washington State the experience of Brown and Black folks has the same disparities of people that are living in Georgia. I pick a southern state because a lot of people think that the south is different. Also if I actually go more regionally and I pick Spokane versus Seattle versus Yakima, I can find the same health disparities whether you’re on the west side of the mountains or the east side of the mountains. Unfortunately it is ubiquitous. There may be some differences in percentage points, but I have not found a health area in Washington State or Spokane or anywhere else that does not have the same disparities. All that’s different is possibly the rate of disparities.”

“No matter where we are or who we are there’s something we could be doing. There’s an active role for everyone and I really believe that we all absolutely have to act. It’s not enough to just study; it’s not enough to have empathy, but to unpack this will require action whether you’re an ally or you’re a person of color.”

Dr. Connie Kim Yen Nguyen-Truong

“Is there any way to be able to outreach our leaders at community organizations and then there may be community health workers who are trusted and they’re working in the communities? Is there a way to be able to engage them to be at the table in terms of what are we not hearing because not not everything gets published and written? What I learned from cultural community organizations is the importance of the oral storytelling and being present and seeing if you can build trust and rapport and make that connection. But to not make an assumption that if you have someone on staff or someone in the leadership who identifies in terms of intersectionality that they would have automatic acceptance. That is not a correct assumption. It needs to be earned.”

It is okay to be different, to look different, to sound different. There’s power in difference. There’s beauty when we say diversity. There’s the practice of inclusion in your day-to-day that deep  reflection being cathartic that is something that I encourage for people to be able to do within yourself. Then to also reach out to peers or even someone you may not know because  you’re contacting an organization or submitting a testimony. Your voice is really important. It took a lot of work from people before us to be able to even vote and that includes women persons of color.”

What’s Next?

Step into Action!

Download & Share Action Steps

Working to eliminate racism is an ongoing process that will take the continuous efforts of us all. Below are action steps you can take to keep the momentum going.

1. ADVOCATETake The Stand Against Racism Pledge

2. LEARNSign Up For YWCA’s 14-Day Equity Challenge

3. GROWGet Involved With Local Organizations

Learn more about how you can take action after Stand Against Racism.

Take Action

Thank You!

To our hosts, moderator, and panelists, thank you for creating a brave space and contributing to this courageous conversation.

To the Stand Against Racism Event Committee and the larger Racial and Social Justice Committee, thank you for organizing, educating, and promoting racial justice in our community!

To our Event Sponsors, thank you for making this event possible through your support and commitment to justice.

By: Jemma Riedel-Johnson

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