A Letter from Our President & CEO
My mother, like most matriarchs, dared to dream of a different life for her four children. She came to this country first, then sent for us one-by-one. I arrived at the age of 13.

When it came time to register for high school, I was asked to check a box… to designate myself as a race. I had never been asked that before, and I was utterly confused. None of the categories fit. Not one.

I know now that I didn’t fit because race is a social construct, built on a legacy of power and pain. And, I had just moved into a new one.

Since that day, I have been on a journey of learning, but mostly of experiencing, what it means to be Black in America. Our YWCA South Florida 21-Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge was another formative step in that journey.

Thank you for joining me, our YWCA South Florida team, and our community and neighbors in this powerful racial justice learning collective. WE DID IT!

I am also awed by our dedicated staff and team who customized The Challenge with local, regional, and statewide data, to deliver a rich, high-quality learning experience to every participant. I appreciate you!

The YWCA South Florida team is privileged to be doing the work of social justice in South Florida for 100 years and to belong to a network of 200-plus associations buttressed by YWCA USA. We’re also indebted to YWCA Greater Cleveland, creators of the original YWCA 21-Day Challenge.

We are undeniably at a palpable place in history. Our time together in The Challenge was punctuated by the passing of two civil rights champions – U.S. Congressman John Lewis and Rev. Cordy Tindell "C.T." Vivian. We have opened our eyes and our ears during The Challenge, but as we continue our journey, let us remember what congressman John Lewis once said:  When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have to speak up. You have to say something; you have to do something.”

In the last few weeks, I kept hearing from you, echoing my own thoughts. “ This is the best history lesson I never had, ” “ I had no idea, ” “ How can this still be happening today?

But, the feedback I enjoy hearing most of all is, “ what’s next? ” That means you have ignited the HABIT of pushing against injustice! Now, you must stay the course for the long haul. For our corporate and community partners, you are in the forefront of all our expectations. You must lead the way past your public statements, and start addressing policy, practice and new habits. We are here to help.

We, the YWCA Justice Movers , intend to keep building South Florida’s collective wisdom. As we asked you to do, we are listening intently to your feedback, including a region-wide survey  to gauge our readiness as a community to move toward a just South Florida. We promise more learning, more conversation and more action… with you. We urge you to stay the course and make the next best move.

Thank you for standing for justice. Thank you for standing with YWCA.

YWCA will stand with you all.

Kerry-Ann Royes
CEO & President
YWCA South Florida
 The 21-day challenge has been a very eye-opening experience. I have been a permanent legal resident of the USA for 19 years now and have never had much reason to believe I should obtain citizenship, thinking my vote is not that impactful, however, having taken part in this challenge, I have realized the value and importance of every vote and the struggles that so many people endured to obtain that right. As a result, I have applied for American Citizenship and for that I thank you and this program.

Bernard (Bernie) Roy

This challenge has been the best thing. I am seeing the world in a whole new perspective! THANK YOU!!

Patti Norris Homes
Thank you so much to you and your team for putting on such a far-reaching, thoughtful, intentional, and powerful initiative. I am eager to continue reading, experiencing, and co-learning with this community that you have assembled, and I am excited to see the impact this will have in the future.

Nicky Zarchen

I will continue to join challenges such as this and others and do all that is in my power to get rid of the effects of racism on Blacks, especially women. I will continue because there needs to be a sense of urgency to get rid of what has been declared a public health crisis, racism.

Deborah Rushing
Thank you to our Challenge participants who have shared their feedback and what they have found most impactful. We want to continue hearing from you! Your voices will help us continue strengthening our Justice Movement and future Challenges!