In light of recent events, it is more important than ever to #StandAgainstRacism and address the pattern of systematic and historic racism in this country. As an organization dedicated to eliminating racism, we have compiled resources on the history of systemic racism, policy issues, and how you can make a difference in your community and show solidarity. As the country continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s essential to be mindful that inequities that existed before have been amplified.
What You Can Do Right Now
“In a racist society, it is not enough to be not racist, you must actively be anti-racist.” —Angela Davis
Signing a petition is a social act; petitions can have a long-term organizational legacy even if their short-term policy effect is zero, according to the Washington Post. Petitions do matter in showing a commitment to a movement and furthering activism. Here are some petitions you can sign onto to show your support:
Contact Local Representatives
Phone calls from constituents—and emails if you don’t have the time—matter. A large volume of calls on an issue brings a legislative issue to the forefront of priorities for a member of Congress or other representative.
Support Local, Black-Owned Businesses
Allyship and activism looks different for everyone. Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, it may be difficult for some of us to protest in-person if we or a loved one are immunocompromised. Similarly, while making financial donations is another way to support racial justice organizations, it isn’t a financially viable option for everyone. However, for those of us who are already spending money on groceries, clothes, takeout, and books, we can show solidarity making these purchases at Black-owned businesses. Supporting local businesses and eateries is a great way to stimulate the economy, and helps to keep businesses open (and their staff employed!).
Follow Other Social Justice Organizations
Other organizations in Princeton such as:
- Not in Our Town (a multi-faith and multi-racial group dedicated to advancing racial justice and fostering inclusive communities),
- The Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc. (LALDEF) is a grassroots organization formed to defend the civil rights of immigrants.
- Coalition for Peace Action (an organization which brings together people of all ages, backgrounds, professions, and political persuasions in support of global abolition of nuclear weapons, a peace economy, and a halt to weapons trafficking at home and abroad.), and
- the Bayard Rustin Center for Social Justice (a community activist center dedicated to creating safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ youth and intersectional families),engage in racial justice initiatives along with the YWCA Princeton.
Policy Advocacy and the YWCA
Breaking the cycle of continued police brutality against Black communities centers around systemic change. Through policy reforms, we can achieve sustained change in our communities and stand against racism. YWCA USA has issued a number of public statements and has sent letters to Congress in response to the ongoing fatal police killings and other racial violence in the nation. If you are interested in taking a stand with us, sign up here to receive more advocacy updates and take action by becoming a YWCA Advocate!
Consistent with the YWCA’s long-standing policy priority and the 2017 report, We Deserve Safety: Ending the Criminalization of Women & Girls of Color, we support the End Racial Profiling Act of 2019 / End Racial & Religious Profiling Act of 2019 (ERRPA)(H.R. 4339 / S. 2355). Notably, in July 2019, YWCA National Capital Area CEO Monica Gray testified on behalf of YWCA about the importance of this legislation at a legislative briefing sponsored by Sen. Ben Cardin.
The YWCA is working closely with Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights Police Reform Task Force to advance legislation that implements the policy priorities detailed in this letter.
In addition, YWCA supports the following bills that have been introduced in Congress:
- H.R. 4359 – Police Exercising Absolute Care with Everyone Act of 2019
- H.R. 4408 / S.3895 – Eric Garner Excessive Use of Force Prevention Act
- H.R. 3536 / S. 488 – Justice for Victims of Lynching Act of 2019
- H.R. 35 – Emmett Till Antilynching Act
- H.R.2034 / S.992 – Dignity Act
- S.697 – Next Step Act
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love” —Nelson Mandela
We can always learn more about the history of systemic racism and how various facets of our institutions have perpetuated forms of racism. With this collection of books, podcasts, movies, and articles, we hope that you can reflect deeply on race and issues of racism. Whether it’s unearthing internalized anti-Blackness or educating your friends and family members on racial injustices, we can teach each other to love.
- White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
- How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
- The End of Policing by Alex Vitale
- Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
- Angela Davis: ‘We knew that the role of the police was to protect white supremacy’ (article)
- MPD 150: What are we talking about when we talk about “a police-free future?”
- The End of Policing by Alex Vitale
- THE EMPATHY ADVANTAGE: Coaching Kids to be Kind, Respectful and Successful by Lynne Azarchi
Recommendations from our friends at Labyrinth Books:
- 13th: – “the intersection of race, justice and mass incarceration in the United States”
- Race: The Power of Illusion – …”the notions about race we hold…discussing diversity and respecting cultural difference to build a more just and equitable society”
- The Hate U Give (free to rent on YouTube)
- From Slacktivism to Activism! How Allies can Step Up to the Moment
- Good Ancestor Podcast with Layla F. Saad
- Unlocking Us with Brené Brown
- Seeing White hosted by John Biewen
- Pod Save the People with DeRay Mckesson
- Podcast: At Liberty — Kimberle Crenshaw On Teaching the Truth About Race in America
- The ABCs of Diversity: Helping Kids (and Ourselves!) Embrace Our Differences by Carolyn B. Helsel & Y. Joy Harris-Smith
- Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi, illustrated by Ashely Lukashevsky
- Watch the CNN / Sesame Street racism town hall
- Kidsbridge bullying prevention & diversity appreciation education
- How White Parents Can Talk to Their Kids About Race (NPR)
- Teaching Your Child About Black History Month (PBS)
YWCA is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities. We invite you to take the Stand Against Racism pledge, along with hundreds of thousands of people across the country, join us this week during YWCA’s annual Stand Against Racism – and every day.
STAND AGAINST RACISM PLEDGE
Mindful of the continuing affliction of institutional and structural racism as well as the daily realities of all forms of bias, prejudice and bigotry in my own life, my family, my circle of friends, my co-workers and the society in which I live, with conviction and hope; I take this pledge, fully aware that the struggle to eliminate racism will not end with a mere pledge but calls for an ongoing transformation within myself and the institutions and structures of our society.
I pledge to look deeply and continuously in my heart and in my mind, to identify all signs and vestiges of racism; to rebuke the use of racist language and behavior towards others; to root out such racism in my daily life and in my encounters with persons I know and with strangers I do not know; and to expand my consciousness to be more aware and sensitive to my use of overt and subtle expressions of racism and racial stereotypes;
I pledge to educate myself on racial justice issues and share what I learn in my own communities even if it means challenging my family, my partner, my children, my friends, my co-workers and those I encounter on a daily basis
I pledge, within my means, to actively work to support public policy solutions that prominently, openly and enthusiastically promote racial equity in all aspects of human affairs; and to actively support and devote my time to YWCA, as well as other organizations working to eradicate racism from our society.
YWCA USA is on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women. I join YWCA in taking a stand against racism today and every day.
*This pledge has been adapted by YWCA USA from the Pledge to Eliminate Racism in My Life, YWCA Bergen County which is an adaptation of the Pledge to Heal Racism in My Life, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, April 10, 2006.
Stand Against Racism was founded by YWCA Trenton and YWCA Princeton in 2007. It quickly grew to a national presence by 2010, when an additional 80 YWCAs across the nation took a Stand. Over 2,000 organizations across 39 states joined in the Stand Against Racism. This phenomenal success attracted well over 250,000 participants and earned the endorsement of five U.S. Governors. The event has been widely featured by local ABC, NBC, CBS, and other networks.
The 2,000 community sites included United Ways, Chambers of Commerce, State Governments and other municipalities, universities and colleges, Fortune 500 companies and small businesses, houses of worship, schools, civic associations, nonprofit organizations, hospitals and others.
Here is a history of how YWCA Princeton has taken a STAND:
The 2021 Stand Against Racism recognized Racism as a Public Health Crisis. Structural racism plays a large role in determining the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age. These factors affect people’s access to quality housing, education, food, transportation, political power, and other social determinants of health. Understanding and addressing systemic racism from this public health perspective is crucial to eliminating racial and ethnic inequities, and to improving opportunity and well-being across communities.
Watch our 2021 Thought-Provoking Talks featuring panelists Lisa Asare, Nathalie Edmond, Ryan P. Haygood, and Gwendolyn Kroll, with opening remarks by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman.
Our 2020 Stand Against Racism focused on Civic Engagement. Voting rights, census participation, and civic engagement are, and have always been, essential to racial justice. As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts all aspects of life, it is also exacerbating the impact of systemic and structural racism on communities of color across health, education, justice, and economic sectors. Our collective efforts to secure full access at the ballot box, to ensure a fair and complete Census count, and to stand against racism—whenever and wherever it happens—are more important than ever.
Our 2019 STAND theme was Building a Safe, Economically Secure Future for Women and Girls. This theme served as the foundation of our Thought-Provoking Talks.
The Open Mic and Youth Rally fostered a safe and productive space for the youth of Mercer County to share their thoughts, poems, and songs pertaining to their experiences. Click here for photos!
Summer Stand Against Racism Series
- Throughout the summer, we participated in Rachel Cargle’s Summer Reading Series. We read and discussed Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Killing the Black Body by Dorothy Roberts, and The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.
- On Thursdays throughout August we collaborated with Not In Our Town and hosed screenings of Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us followed by discussions facilitated by Dr. Joy Barnes-Johnson. We compiled a list of educational resources that put into historical context the trial and wrongful imprisonment of Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Corey Wise, Raymond Santana Jr., and Kevin Richardson, who are now known as the Exonerated Five. Click the button for resources that include recommended readings and films.
- Additional Resources
- On September 12th, Dr. Douglas Massey, an expert on Immigration, and a Professor at Princeton University, presented on immigration and the importance of the 2020 census.
The theme for the 2018 STAND was Our Power, Our Mission, Our Future. Everyone has a role to play in civic engagement – everyone can take a STAND. Several kinds of events were organized throughout the year. Some of them ere:
- STAND Summer Series
- Intergenerational Discussions on Race
- NEXT GEN Stand Against Racism Happy Hour
- Poster Making Competition
- Open Mic and Youth Rally
YWCA Princeton’s 10th Annual Stand Against Racism had the theme Women of Color Leading Change.
A Legislative / Community Leader Breakfast was held on April 27, with speakers including Dr. Cheryl Rowe-Rendleman, Winona Guo, Priya Vulchi, Elisa Neria, Leticia Fraga, Adiana Abizadeh, Fern Spruill for Shirley Satterfield, and Clara Love, followed by a Youth Rally on April 28 at Hinds Plaza.
Press Coverage: Planet Princeton
Elected officials and community leaders joined the YWCA Princeton at The Nassau Inn on April 29 for the Stand Against Racism breakfast meeting! The meeting began with a presentation from Lenora Green, the Executive Director of the Center for Advocacy and Philanthropy at ETS, who made a strong argument for the 2016 theme: On a Mission for Girls of Color!
Updates from our community partners, including the Princeton Public Library, Not in Our Town, LALDEF – The Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Princeton Human Services Commission, Princeton YMCA Committed and Faithful Princetonians, Corner House, NJ/GAIA affirmed the call for systemic change, while also celebrating the progress that has been made since our very first STAND in April of 2007.
At the end of the day, community members were called to join Princeton’s youth at Hinds Plaza to support a grassroots demonstration for racial justice. View the picture gallery from the rally here.
The 2015 Stand Against Racism campaign served as a time to focus on local, state, and federal level advocacy to end racial profiling. YWCA Princeton supported legislation that banned the practice of racial profiling at the federal, state, and local levels. To that end, YWCA Princeton joined hands with the Mayor’s office and local organizations such as Arts Council of Princeton, Corner House, The Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund, The League of Women Voters, Not In Our Town, Planned Parenthood of Mercer County, Princeton Community Housing, Princeton Human Services Commission, Princeton Public Library, local schools, places of worship, and many others to connect with policymakers, to implement policies that eradicate racial profiling.
As the federal government’s involvement was vital to ending racial profiling practices by law enforcement in communities of color, YWCA Princeton hosted a Legislative Breakfast and Press Conference where community members were encourage to contact their Congressional delegation and ask them to pass the End Racial Profiling Act. Individuals were also urged to register to vote, follow YWCA USA statements on racial justice and share them on social media.
April 7 – 13
New Jim Crow Read-Out: Excerpts from Michelle Alexander’s, The New Jim Crow were read aloud by distinguished readers, to let listeners know more about the current US prison policy and its impact on the African American community.
“Salute” Film Screening: This award-winning film recounted the role of a white man in a defining moment of the American civil rights movement, the Black Power Salute, at the ‘68 Olympics.
Immigration Reform Presentation: Special guest, Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, Sr. Lecturer, Princeton University was the keynote speaker on a presentation on National Immigration Reform. This was followed by a community gathering, with Princeton Merchants Association, Not in Our Town (NIOT), and other organizations at Hinds Plaza.
Judith Hutton, CEO of the YWCA Princeton, and Debra Raines, Director of Mission Advancement at the YWCA Princeton, joined together to host the 2012 Stand Against Racism. This event attracted over 2,200 partnering organizations that became participating sites by hosting local “stands”. Over 300,000 individuals took a stand against racism by attending one of the participating sites.
Participants were invited to join the YWCA Princeton in a special video viewing of “The Princeton Plan: 50 Years Later”, which is a historical account on what it was like to be a part of the Princeton school system in 1948, six years before Brown v. Board of Education, when Princeton integrated two schools in the Borough of Princeton – Witherspoon School for Colored Children and Nassau Elementary School.
Special guest speakers, Shirley Satterfield and Henry Pannell, who were part of the first class to integrate in the Princeton School system shared their experiences. “Although many of the students, administrators, teachers, and parents from the days of the “Princeton Plan” are no longer around, we are fortunate to have an opportunity to hear from Mr. Panell and Ms. Satterfield, who were second graders in 1948, as they give an account about a time in history that was different from the way things are today,” shared Debra Raines.
“We got along with no problem with the students, it was the teachers that needed to be sensitized because the perception was that the African American or “negro” which was the term used back then, students were not on the same level as the white students.”, Ms. Satterfield recalled. “It may have been an integrated school system but we were not treated equally.”
Participants were invited to stand against racism by paying homage to a select group of Glen Acres’ residents who chose to take a “stand” in the 1950s when racial prejudice was overt and pervasive.
“Glen Acres: A Story in Black and White” a documentary film, allows us to take a look at an important “…experiment of sorts…”. A panel discussion and words from filmmaker Diane Ciccone followed immediately after the film presentation. The event was held at the Mercer County Library in Lawrenceville.
Special Remarks by World YWCA General Secretary, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda opened hearts and minds to new perspectives and the richness of diversity.
There were over a quarter million participants and over 2,000 partnering organizations comprised of individuals, churches, community groups, and businesses including General Motors, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Paychex, Inc., Time Warner, and the City of Rochester. And there endorsements by U.S. governors as well.
By 2010, STAND Against Racism took a national foothold with over a quarter million people across thirty-nine states and more than 2,000 partnering organizations participating. Endorsements were received by five U.S. Governors and events were covered by major networks, including ABC, CBS, and NBC, as we all other smaller networks throughout the country.
The 2nd annual Stand Against Racism, sponsored by the YWCA Trenton and YWCA Princeton, was held on Friday, April 3 2009.
Joining in the STAND for the first time were 13 additional YWCA Associations – Bergen County, Binghamton, Brooklyn, Essex and West Hudson, Hartford Region, Jamestown, Mohawk Valley, Niagara, Tonowanda, Troy & Cohoes, Ulster County, White Plains & Central Westchester and onkers.
It also attracted more than 300 partnering organizations and 30,000 participants, representing 64 municipalities, ranging from school children to elected officials, executives of large corporations, and church leaders, who joined together at 323 “participating sites” in New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut to rally against racism, promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all people in their respective communities.
YWCA Trenton and YWCA Princeton participated in the 1st Stand Against Racism on April 12, 2008, along with 60 participating sites, representing 10 municipalities. There were an estimated 5,000 participants. Guest Speaker was Rev. Carlton Branscomb of First Baptist Church in Princeton