Racial Justice and Equal Rights

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Annually, more than 160,000 individuals participate in YWCA racial justice programs and services that increase awareness, build coalitions, and transform local and national inequities in areas such as employment, housing, and voting.

YWCA’s approach to racial justice goes beyond changing hearts and minds. We strive to transform communities, systems, and public policy. Most recently, we have been focused on addressing racial profiling and police violence as they impact women and girls of color. Past issue priorities have included hate crimes, immigration reform, voting rights, and fair housing.

YWCA also supports measures at the national, state, and local levels to advance and ensure human rights for women and girls around the world. As a founding member of the World YWCA, YWCA USA supports the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), a comprehensive, international agreement on eliminating discrimination against women in every sphere – economic, political, and social.

In addition to our direct services and programs related to racial justice, YWCA USA also sponsors the annual Stand Against Racism campaign. Stand Against Racism, builds community among those who work for racial justice, raises awareness about racism, and encourages community members to take action for change.


Stand Against Racism
Photo courtesy of YWCA San Francisco & Marin

YWCA knows that in order to lead the charge against racism, we must also set the example within our own organization. African American and Native American women have been providing leadership in YWCA’s movement since the 1800s, and because of the leadership of women of color, in 1946 YWCA began working for integration throughout the entire organization, adopting an “interracial charter” that established that “wherever there is injustice on the basis of race, whether in the community, the nation, or the world, our protest must be clear and our labor for its removal, vigorous, and steady.” That work culminated in the addition of the “elimination of racism” to our mission statement in 1970.