How a Community Event Grew into a National Campaign
The Stand Against Racism (SAR) is one of the most significant components of YWCA Princeton’s legacy. Here in Mercer County, it was created to establish space for discussions about race and discrimination to be held in social, professional, and other public settings. It created opportunities for collaborations with schools, businesses, and municipal offices, and after having thousands of people participate in New Jersey, the event grew in 2009, with 13 other YWCAs participating and hosting their own events before the campaign was adopted by the national YWCA in 2010.
The Legacy of SAR, YWCA USA’s Advocacy, and Our Work Today
While the sentiments behind the Stand Against Racism still exist today, YWCA USA has moved forward with language that maintains clarity and inclusivity. The national website, now with the URL just.ywca.org, notes “We believe it’s time to be more inclusive in our language and our campaigns…[since 2010] we have invited and inspired countless activists, advocates, and allies to join us in the movement to eliminate racism through our annual Stand Against Racism campaign…[and] it is time to be more inclusive with our message as we continue to evolve and learn. ”
The annual campaign has been renamed Until Justice Just Is, and the 2023 theme of the series is Advancing Justice: Ensuring Equity for All. Areas of focus include Disability, Housing, Mental Health, and Activism through Music. The Racial Justice Challenge is the action component for the Until Justice Just Is campaign, which will run throughout the month of April to raise awareness of systemic racism and how each of us can take action to advance justice.
Today, our Advocacy, Equity, and Racial Justice work focuses on bridging gaps in opportunities by providing resources for professional development and financial literacy through programs like Strive. Similarly, we are working to provide educational opportunities to understand discrimination and dismantle discrimination through film screenings, panel discussions, guest lectures, and educational resources.