Racial Justice Initiatives
Eliminating racism is a core element of YWCA’s mission. To help realize this part of our mission, YWCA Greenwich promotes dignity and inclusion; raises awareness about the negative impacts of all forms of racism, bigotry, and hate; engages with governmental and community organizations to make positive change; and offers and participates in mission-focused programs that strengthen our community.
By engaging with governmental and community organizations and participating in mission-focused programs, the YWCA plays an active role in strengthening our community. In addition, each January, we hold an event on a current racial justice challenge to honor the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and each April, we participate in the signature campaign of YWCA USA, Stand Against Racism, 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.
Honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
YWCA Greenwich, in partnership with the Town of Greenwich and community leaders, honors the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by exploring topics we believe Dr. King would have cared deeply about. On January 16, 2019, YWCA Greenwich hosted an important panel discussion on the issue of labor trafficking. We will continue to be a vocal advocate for anti-trafficking legislation at the state and federal levels. On January 23, 2020, we will explore "Women's Suffrage and Power at 100".
Stand Against Racism
Stand Against Racism is a signature event of YWCA USA to raise awareness about the negative impact of all forms of racism in our community. At this event, on April 26, 2019, we explored current immigration issues. Claudia Connor, President and CEO, Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants was our guest speaker. The 2020 event will take place on Friday, April 24 at Town Hall. The topic will be announced shortly.
YWCA Greenwich Racial Justice Scholarship Awards
Each year, YWCA Greenwich awards two $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors who live or attend school in Greenwich. The scholarship rewards outstanding contributors to racial and social justice in our community. Recipients are recognized for their special efforts to encourage people to respect differences, promote equality, and eliminate all forms of bigotry, bias and racism in their school or our community. The awards are presented at the annual Stand Against Racism event.
Candidates may be nominated by a member of the faculty of any Greenwich high school or by the general public. The application can be found here. The application deadline for 2020 is Monday, April 13, 2020.
Included in YWCA Greenwich’s 2018 – 2021 Strategic Plan was a focus on aligning our mission with all the programs that we offer including Childhood Education, Youth Health and Fitness, Aquatics and Adult Programs. To that end, in 2019, YWCA Greenwich initiated the DIVE (Diversity, Inclusion, Values and Equity) Project. Working with a consultant, curricula were developed to implement age appropriate instruction in diversity, equity and inclusion concepts. YWCA Greenwich staff and Board received the training first and some staff received additional training in the facilitation of the curricula. Phase 1 training has begun in the Childhood Education programs with plans to expand the trainings to other programs in phases 2 and 3.
Welcoming New Arrivals
YWCA Greenwich is a member of the First Selectman's Diversity Advisory Committee. In 2017, the First Selectman’s Diversity Advisory Committee hosted a special meeting at YWCA Greenwich for residents of Greenwich and the surrounding areas to discuss immigration. The purpose was to help residents and new immigrants understand fact vs. fiction as it relates to local policies, how the laws are implemented and where people can go to learn more and find access to services.
Following the event, YWCA Greenwich led an effort to create the first ever resource guide for immigrants. The purpose of this guide is to provide new members of our community and our country with help in navigating their new surroundings and in finding services, such as childcare, healthcare, employment, housing and legal services. These services will enable immigrants to lead healthy, safe, and productive lives in Connecticut or surrounding states. The guide can be found here on the Greenwich Department of Human Services Website in English and Spanish.
2019 event to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Fighting Modern Day Slavery . . . a conversation about the tragedy of labor trafficking
- Krishna Patel, Moderator; Former General Counsel and Director of Justice Initiatives, Grace Farms, and former Federal Prosecutor
- Luis deBaca, Lawyer and Diplomat who served as United States Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and as Director of the Department of Justice's Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART Office)
- Divya Demato, CEO and Co-Founder, GoodOps, and an expert in supply chain networks
- Jillian Gilchrest, Chair, Connecticut Trafficking in Persons Council and recently elected CT State Representative, District 18
- Mary Lee Kiernan, President and CEO, YWCA Greenwich
- Resa Spaziani, Director, Wage and Workplace Standards, Connecticut Department of Labor