Friday, June 6, 2020
How to be actively anti-racist

The following was written by Dr. Cheryl Johnson-Odim, Ph.D., who was one of the first women we honored with a YWomen Leadership Award , in 2008. She is now Provost Emerita and Professor of History at Dominican University.

Forgive me (and indulge me) if I am preaching. But a white friend (I would even call him an aspiring ally) just asked me what is the difference between being non-racist and being anti-racist, especially because he knows me to have taken the position that being non-racist is of very limited use in the struggle against racism, and that what is required of non-black allies is to be actively anti-racist. Why do I say that?

Being non-racist basically boils down to someone saying to themselves: I, personally, am not a racist. I don’t behave as a racist (they forget to add ‘consciously’). I think of black people as human beings, I don’t actively participate in the construction and reproduction of racism. What they fail to realize is that racism’s true power is not about individual action. It is about the systemic iconography, value system, and privilege of whiteness that is replete in our history and that has never ended but only reformed and accommodated itself to changes in laws and culture. White privilege is not just for those who have money or status, it is often about simple things: the fact that what an individual white person does is not believed to represent THEM, that is, ALL white people; not being (as a first thought) criminalized as a potential thief, danger, Inferior and unworthy the moment you are seen, and more. When you are raised in a thoroughly racist system you harbor racism even when you might not realize it —- it is a constant struggle to fight against leaping to conclusions about black people. It has to be fought against continually and consistently.

Continue reading here.

Read the statement from YWCA Evanston/North Shore CEO Karen Singer.
YWCA Evanston/North Shore Equity Institute is here to help
We offer consultations, trainings, & workshops
Change starts with each of us. If you want to champion equity in your community or workplace, YWCA's Equity Institute is here to help you. Here's how:

  • Becoming Equitable Institutions Customized consultation for businesses and organizations. Our team works with you to assess all aspects of your workplace— recruitment, hiring, employee engagement, client experience, HR policies, and more— through an equity lens. We create detailed action plans, provide custom training, and follow up to evaluate progress with you.
  • Training and Workshops Available to groups and individuals who want to deepen their understanding of equity and learn actions they can take to level the playing field.

Join us for a virtual panel discussion
featuring Sherialyn Byrdsong
Thursday, June 18, 12 - 1:00 pm

Sherialyn Byrdsong's husband, Ricky Byrdsong, was murdered by a white supremacist 22 years ago this June while out walking with two of their young children in their Skokie neighborhood. Together with friends, she started the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate as a way to "turn tragedy into victory." She entrusted the Race to YWCA Evanston/North Shore in 2006.

Join Sherialyn Byrdsong; long-time Byrdsong family friend and accredited diversity trainer , Lyle Foster; Director of YWCA’s Equity Institute, Tiffany McDowell, and YWCA Evanston/North Shore President/CEO, Karen Singer for a Zoom discussion of critical issues challenging our communities. Together they will examine where we are today, how we came to be here, and what actions we might all take to move our country toward greater equity and inclusion. This is a FREE event. Learn more and register.
Build skills at our Equity Summit:
Transformation in the New Decade
Thursday and Friday, June 25/26, 9 am - 1 pm

Our annual Equity Summit (virtual in 2020) is an opportunity to gather our collective resources in one place for a learning event designed to move us – as individuals and as systems – to transformation. The Summit will feature noted speakers, facilitated breakout sessions on a number of skill-building topics, and opportunities to develop connections and work towards change. It is appropriate for ages 17 and older.

Featured speakers include:
Understand White Fragility
June 12, 7-8:00 pm: White Fragility: A FAN Webinar with Robin DiAngelo, Ph.D. Dr. DiAngelo will be interviewed by Marcus Campbell, Ed.D., Assistant Superintendent/Principal at ETHS.

In her 2018 New York Times bestselling book "White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism," University of Washington Education Professor Robin DiAngelo, Ph.D. explores the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged. Learn more and register for this free webinar.

YWCA Evanston/North Shore is a FAN event sponsor.
Join Evanston's Digital Juneteenth Celebration!
June 19, 6 pm

Juneteenth, also called Emancipation Day, Juneteenth Independence Day, or Freedom Day, commemorates the end of slavery in the United States and is observed every year on June 19. Evanston events include a livestreamed celebration on June 19, a Day of Absence Play on June 20, and a Juneteenth Car Parade on June 27. Learn more here.
Watch "Just Mercy" to learn more about systemic racism
Throughout the month of June

Warner Bros. has announced it is making its 2019 legal drama “Just Mercy” available for free on digital platforms such as Amazon and the Apple TV app throughout June in response to the death of George Floyd. As protests continue to take place across the nation, Warner Bros. is hoping the Michael B. Jordan-starring drama can be used as an educational tool to help people learn more about systemic racism in American society.
And always Race Against Hate
We can't gather this year for the Ricky Byrdsong Memorial Race Against Hate, but you can Race Against Hate... in place in June by throwing on one of your old race tee-shirts (or get creative and design your own Race tee-shirt) and running or walking a 5K (3.1 miles) anytime between June 1 and June 21 (respecting social distancing, of course). This can be done wherever you are – on a treadmill; around your neighborhood; around a track at a school; or even the Race course along the lake – it’s your choice! Then connect your experience and offer encouragement to other participants by posting on the YWCA Evanston/North Shore Facebook or Instagram page using the hashtag #RaceAgainstHate.
You can support racial equity
Give today and help provide workshops and trainings that move our communities forward. Creating communities that are free of racism and inequities is hard work and it takes all of us working together. Your gift can make a difference.
PS: Many families are still reeling from the impact of the pandemic. If you're shopping on Amazon, you can help women and families impacted by COVID-19 by purchasing much-needed basic necessities. Check out our " YWCA Evanston/North Shore Covid Relief Needs." And thank you!
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