"Eliminating racism" is at the core of the YWCA's mission, and our Racial Justice programs focus on strengthening our partnerships to address racism in the Greater Harrisburg community, and educating and equipping our staff to embody this in their work.
The cornerstone of our Racial Justice program is “Let’s Talk: A Conversation about Race.” This six-week series of facilitated discussions challenges diverse groups of individuals to “unpack” the ways that racism manifests itself at the personal, organizational and systemic levels, equipping participants with tools to deconstruct racism in their respective spheres of influence. Over the past year four cohorts totaling 80 participants have graduated, and additional sessions are planned. To read more about the program and how to get involved, click here.
As a result of relationships built with law enforcement through the "Let's Talk" program, the YWCA spearheaded the development of a two-day Law Enforcement Training entitled “To Protect & Serve in the 21st Century: Building Bridges with Diverse Communities.” Three hundred officers representing over 30 municipal police departments and state government agencies across five counties participated, and this collaboration has strengthened the organization’s partnerships with law enforcement at the local, state and federal levels. As a result, the YWCA has been invited to assist in the revision of existing state law enforcement curricula, present policy recommendations to the Dauphin County Chiefs of Police Association and facilitate police-community engagement sessions. For more information on these initiatives, click here.
The Community Responders Network (CRN) has been an integral part of moving our law enforcement initiatives forward, as well as doing important work in many other areas. This coalition of local leaders and concerned citizens seeks to build a stronger, more inclusive community by educating, preventing and responding to instances of bias and intolerance in Central PA. The YWCA continues to be proud to support such an active Network of individuals and organizations that has grown to nearly 100 members, representing a wide variety of faith communities, non-profit organizations, businesses and government entities. For more information on their work, click here.
The CRN has been a valuable partner as the YWCA has developed its "Diversity Days" Program for children ages 5-12. We believe that it is crucial to start working with our children at a young age to build a strong foundation of appreciation and respect for diversity. To that end, “Diversity Day” sessions are held throughout the school-year and during our summer Camp Reily program engaging children to understand concepts of diversity in age-appropriate ways, develop a positive sense of their own identity and instill positive ways of interacting with those who are different from them. For more information, click here.
The YWCA offers a variety of Training & Education Opportunities both internally and externally. All YWCA staff and Board members are required to complete a 2-hour Racial Justice Training, and periodic Cultural Competency trainings are offered throughout the year. Presentations and trainings are regularly given in the community, and can be tailered to the needs of your organization. For more information, click here. You can also access our Resource List and information about the Racial Justice Committee.
To learn more about Racial Justice @ the YWCA, please contact: Amanda Arbour, Racial Justice Program Coordinator at AArbour@ywcahbg.org or (717) 234-7931 x3057.