Stand Against Racism

Stand Against Racism 2020:civic engagement

The national Stand Against Racism 2020 theme is civic engagement, as it is integral to racial justice. Our areas of focus include voter rights and registration and participation in the 2020 census:

Voter rights and registration: YWCA Princeton encourages those who are legally able to vote to do so. It is civic duty, a right that has not always been afforded to women and people of color. Younger generations are less likely to register to vote and register, often because they don’t think their vote makes a difference. It does. Click here to begin the process of registering to vote online.

The 2020 Census: Every New Jerseyan, regardless of their citizenship status, needs to be counted in the 2020 census. The reporting will determine the state funding of public programs such as schools, roadway repairs, libraries, and child care for the next 10 years. It will also influence how the state of New Jersey is represented on a national level. You can complete the census at YWCA Princeton. All data collected in the census is secure.

Save the Date(s):
Thought-Provoking Talks–April 23rd, 6 pM at YWCA Princeton

Meet Councilwoman Crystal Pruitt, Our Thought-Provoking Talks Keynote Speaker

Crystal Pruitt currently serves as Chief of Staff for New Jersey State Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker.  She is a graduate of North Carolina State University (Bachelor of Science, Criminology – 2007) and John Jay College of Criminal Justice (Master of Arts, Forensic Psychology – 2009; Master of Arts, Forensic Mental Health Counseling – 2014). Crystal has worked for the Forensic Intensive Recovery Program in the First Judicial District of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Disability Services, Bronx TASC Mental Health Court Diversion Program, Bo Robinson Assessment and Treatment Center and Amplify Incorporated.

Ms. Pruitt  transitioned to politics in 2017 as Director of Constituent Relations and Community Outreach for Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker. After which, she moved into the Murphy Administration to work as Legislative Liaison for the New Jersey Department of Human Services before returning to the Legislative Branch as a Chief of Staff.

In January 2019, Ms. Pruitt was appointed to fulfill an unexpired term on the Franklin Township council in Somerset County and go on to be elected to a full term as Councilperson At Large that November.  Serving a population of over 65,000 residents, she is currently the youngest member of the Township’s council and one of only two women serving.

Outside of her responsibilities as a Chief of Staff and Councilperson, Ms. Pruitt does work with organizations to help women secure access to reproductive health services and serves on the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General’s CLEAR – Law Enforcement and the Black Community workgroup. Other notable leadership positions include her previous roles as Diversity Co-Chair on the executive board of New Jersey’s New Leaders Council, Vice-President of the JFK Democratic Club of Franklin Township and President of the Somerset County Young Democrats.

Ms. Pruitt’s strong commitment to social justice, behavioral health and criminal justice continue to inform both her personal and professional pursuits. Recognizing her as a trailblazer on the New Jersey political scene, PAM’s List honored Crystal as a “Woman Who Gets It Done” for 2019 and Insider NJ named her among its Insider 100: Millennials.

Click Here to View the Event Flyer Click here to RSVP!

NEXT GEN Poetry Slam–April 24th, 6 PM at YWCA Princeton

The NEXT GEN Poetry Slam is a competition and a fundraiser that provides poets and artists a space to perform. Tickets will not be sold in advance, but there will be a suggested donation on the day-of. Poems related to social justice and civic engagement are encouraged and welcomed. Prizes will be awarded to the top performers, based on the decision of event judges. Applications to perform and compete in the slam are open, and registration to attend is not required by is appreciated!

Click Here to Apply Click here to RSVP

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.


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:


Presenters at our Thought-Provoking Talks. From left to right: Elizabeth Williams-Riley, Councilwoman Leticia Fraga, Lauren Lalicon, Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson, Caroline Clarke, Joanne Parker, and event emcee Raya Arbiol

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.

Click the links for videos of the first and second half of 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 thoughout 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.


STAND Poster Competition: Winning Poster Colorblind by John Liang

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:



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.

April 19
“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.

April 26
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.”


2011 Stand Against Racism event at Palmer Square, Princeton
2011 Stand Against Racism event at Palmer Square, Princeton

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.


YWCA Princeton Staff at 2010 Stand Against Racism

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.




Princeton Borough Mayor Mildred Trotman, left, presented YWCA CEO Judy Hutton, center, with a proclamation recognizing the YWCA’s history of commitment and service to the Princeton community; joining them is Cynthia Mendez, Executive Director of Princeton Human Services.

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