Take a Stand at YWCA’s Stand Against Racism

YWCA of Asheville calls on all community members to join us in taking a Stand Against Racism during its annual campaign Thursday, April 27 to Sunday, April 30.

Stand events will also be taking place all throughout the month of April in Asheville & Buncombe County with many ways for individuals and groups to participate.

The YWCA’s Stand Against Racism, in partnership with YWCA Associations throughout the country, aims to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness around the negative impact of institutional and structural racism. Stand Against Racism will unite our community in a bold demonstration that delivers a clear message: we are on a mission to eliminate racism.

“Every year, the YWCA of Asheville and our local Stand Against Racism partners coalesce around this awareness campaign, and we continue to be one of the most active Stand sites in the country,” said Gerry Leonard, YWCA of Asheville Volunteer & Racial Justice Coordinator. “In an ever-changing social and political landscape, we have seen our community stand up and speak out against systemic racism that disproportionately impacts people of color.”

In 2016, over 60 different local organizations, businesses, faith communities, government leaders and agencies, and individuals in Asheville & Buncombe County participated in Stand Against Racism, consisting of 37 public Stand events and thousands of community members in attendance.

Find local participating Stand sites and events for 2017 at StandAgainstRacism.org.

It is not too late to plan your own private or public Stand Against Racism event, and there are many ways it can take shape:

  • Talk Within Your Group: Have a dialogue about race based on inspirational quotes, a common reading or a video, which brings out these issues. You could also research ways your organization does or does not serve African-American, Latinx and other communities of color. Discuss with your colleagues and look for ways to be more inclusive and equitable.
  • Day of Support: A day of support can be as simple as having employees at a business or students at a school wear “Stand Against Racism” T-shirts or buttons. Put up Stand Against Racism posters or create a sign in front of your building that says, “We stand against racism with the YWCA.”
  • Educational Events: Host a film screening, panel discussion or local speaker.
  • Rally: Host an inspirational rally to raise public awareness, put pressure on local decision makers or take local action.
  • Service Project: Partner with another local organization or business to reach out and give back to the community. Service projects are an excellent way to start conversations, bring people together from different parts of the community and gain perspective around racial issues in the Asheville area.
  • Social Media Action: Encourage people to tweet or post on Facebook about how they plan to combat racism in the community. Participate in the #standagainstracism photo petition by sending in photos of you and others wearing a Stand Against Racism t-shirts and buttons.

For more details about this campaign, or to look up a participating site, visit StandAgainstRacism.org. For local information, please contact Gerry Leonard, Volunteer and Racial Justice Coordinator at gerry.leonard@ywcaoasheville.org.


About Shelby Harrell
Shelby Harrell is the editor of the Biltmore Beacon, editor of The Guide arts and entertainment publication and is a staff writer for Mountaineer Publishing. Originally from Asheville, she has worked in journalism for seven years and currently lives in Clyde, NC.