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Take a Stand Against Racism in 2018

By YWCA Minneapolis Racial Justice Department
April 26, 2018
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The goal of eliminating racism is part of the DNA of YWCA Minneapolis. It’s reflected in our mission, our work and a motivating force for our Racial Justice and Public Policy Department. To advance this mission, YWCA Minneapolis is participating in Stand Against Racism, a campaign of YWCA USA to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism in our communities.

Why Do I Stand Against Racism?

From April 26 – 29, YWCA Minneapolis is taking the Stand Against Racism and we ask that you join us as we answer the question – Why do I stand against racism? To begin this conversation, our Racial Justice Department shares their own answers.

Rubén Vázquez, Vice President Racial Justice and Public Policy:

“I Stand Against Racism from a personal perspective. Two years ago, during recess, my son was approached by two of his peers. What they said has had a profound impact on his life. My son is biracial (white and Mexican). He was told that he was not ‘white’ enough and that he should tell his parents to send him to another school because this school was meant for white kids. When I followed up with the school, the response I got was, ‘We will make sure to talk to the kids about bullying.’ This comment made me realized there was a lot of work to do around racial justice. I pushed back and said, ‘This is not about bullying, this is about racism and we need to call it what it is.’ As a person of color, I have experienced firsthand the pain and anger that comes with being targeted because of my race. This experience brought these feelings to a whole new level. If this can happen to my son, who is half white, is fully bilingual and has parents who know how to advocate for him, how do other kids and parents who are not in the same place as I am deal with this? My fight for standing again racism is not just about me or my kids, my fight is about my community.”

Ruthie Johnson, Racial Justice Consulting Manager:

“I Stand Against Racism because I believe that to overcome hatred and evil, we must work together. Society has taught us to compete — judging and valuing ourselves based on how we compare to others. Racism causes us to identify our worth based on a perspective of fear and scarcity. But we are enough and we have enough. True power lies when we co-create and work together to dismantle oppressive systems. In solidarity, there is strength and power.”

Deqa Sayid, Racial Justice Training Coordinator:

“When a large segment of the society is continuously and systemically being subjugated, the outcome means that, collectively, we are not living up to our potential. Besides losing our humanity, we are also crippling ourselves in all forms of advancements by investing in discriminatory tactics rather than affirming all and letting everyone soar to their fullest potential. Also, the more obvious answer is, I am on the receiving end of racism/bias in many forms (due to my several marginalized identities), so I’ve got to work to make it better for myself and all who do not fit into the dominant narrative.”   

Liz Dwinnell, Racial Justice Coordinator:

“Not a day goes by that the results of systemic racism aren’t visible. It seems that reports of injustices and oppression are a daily occurrence in my news feed or social media, and constant reminders of how, as a white woman, I’m granted privileges that others are not. Instead of denying the existence of these privileges, I want to use them in this work to break down the systems and barriers that cause inequity and institutional racism. In today’s social climate, being quiet and observing from afar simply isn’t going to work anymore. We all need to be engaged. This is why I do this work and why I’m taking a Stand Against Racism.”

Continue the Conversation!

Please share with us why you Stand Against Racism on social media using the hashtag #StandAgainstRacism and tag YWCA Minneapolis.

Join the Campaign!

For more information on how to get involved, please visit: