Anyone can participate in Stand Against Racism, and anyone can organize and host a Stand Against Racism event. You can host a Stand on your own or with a group like your company, organization, or place of worship, and your Stand can be any size, take place anywhere, and can even be a private event.
Community events are great ways to spread YWCA’s Stand Against Racism message: together, we can eliminate racism. A community event can provide information, motivate activists, bring allies together, increase awareness about systemic and institutional racism in your community, and celebrate victories.
Host Your Own Stand
Want to host an event? Create a Stand Against Racism account to access the Stand Against Racism digital toolkit, designed to help you plan your event. The toolkit includes educational resources, promotional materials, and more. Once you have settled on a date and event, come back to register your event to gain access to a personalized event page! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Convene an issue forum online to educate folks about the most pertinent public health issues affecting people of color in your community
- Organize a brownbag lunch (in-person or virtual) for your staff and board to learn more about the impact of racism on public health
- Host a watch party or film screening on racial justice and public health issues that are important in your community, followed by a Q&A discussion led by a facilitator
- Hold a Webinar, Virtual Learning Session, or Online Workshop with panel discussions with local leaders, advocates, public health experts, and community members
Convene a gathering of local racial and social justice organizations as well as public health officials and use the fact sheets and materials from the toolkit to host a dialogue about racism and public health in your community.
- Make a poster/sign of relevant information from YWCA USA fact sheets, and share this new resource with organizations, businesses, and others in your community.
- Invite local elected officials to take the pledge to stand against racism. Then hold them accountable to create policies to address systemic and institutional racism.
Attend a Stand Against Racism event near you
Find an event in your community and bring your friends and family with you. Encourage others to do the same. If you don’t see an event near you, organize one yourself! Check the map regularly to see new events as they are registered.
Take action in your community and with your elected officials
Create a Stand Against Racism account to gain access to toolkits and materials to support you/your organization’s efforts to promote racial justice and public health reform!
Contact your members of Congress and elected officials
Encourage our elected and public health officials to take steps to address institutional and system racism by investing in and improving social resources for communities of color. Act now and join us!
Here are some ways we can each play a role:
Starting out with declarations we can lead to change by speaking out against the systemic and institutional racism that has created the public health crisis we face today. Take the first step towards accountability and reform by making your community aware of the economic and social determinants of health. Get input from community members and public health experts, contact your local legislators, and gain support for declaring racism a public health crisis.
Social determinants of health are the conditions of the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect wide-ranging health and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. In addition to the social, economic, and physical conditions in schools, churches, workplaces and neighborhoods, patterns of social engagements and sense of security and well-being are also impacted by where people live. Decades of unfair social, economic, and political systems have created inequitable communities that are disproportionately burdened by injury, disease, and premature death. These unfair systems aren’t random. They are rooted in racism.
HISTORICALLY NEGLECTED COMMUNITIES
There has been a historical disinvestment from communities of color, from schools to fewer parks, sidewalks, bike lanes, and transit. This blocked access to quality education, safe and affordable housing, government-financed homeownership, financial development opportunities, access to transportation, access to affordable/healthy food, and other key determinants of health. Public health concerns were often used as a pretext for discriminatory policies; however, public health professionals—and the entire field—were notoriously neglected in the policymaking process.
Did you know? Racist housing practices from more than 50 years ago can be linked with poor health outcomes today. In 2017, researcher Andrea Weiler examined the relationship between racist real estate practices and health inequities in Seattle and King County, Washington. By mapping racial restrictive covenants and health indicators (such as low birth-weight, infant mortality, life expectancy, and overall mortality), they were able to find a geographic connection between restrictive covenants and poor health outcomes. Though racial restrictive covenants are no longer legal, they were common from 1926-1968; however, they were not removed from property deeds! The Seattle Civil Rights & Labor History Project and the University of Washington surveyed deeds and found 416 racial restrictive covenants still present in deeds, estimating that tens of thousands of additional Seattle homeowners have restrictive covenants in their deeds, unknowingly.
Engaging your public health officials to begin a conversation about approaching racism as a public health crisis, and the ways structural racism can be dismantled to address and improve public health. Structural racism in the United States has led to far higher rates of acute and chronic disease in communities of color, and much higher rates of death from disease. People of color are more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions (such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma, hepatitis, and hypertension) and infectious diseases (such as HIV/AIDS, and COVID-19) compared to their white counterparts. Starting conversations with elected officials, local leaders, public health experts, and community members will raise awareness about the public health impact of systemic racism and help foster calls to action.
Did you know? In the 20th and 21st century, one of the big trends in medicine has been the use of computer technologies to manage health care. But medical software can also be racist. In 2019, researchers discovered an algorithm that helps to manage healthcare for 200 million people in the US systemically discriminated against Black people; individuals who self-identified as Black were given lower risk scores by the computer than their white counterparts, resulting in fewer referrals for medical care.
There are many ways to advocate for improved public health policies and resources for marginalized individuals and communities. Supporting investment in public health determinants such as affordable housing, quality education, economic advancement opportunities, reliable transportation, availability of healthy foods, and environments free of contamination are just a few of the ways you advocate for individuals, families, and communities of color.
Did you know? During the 2015–2016 school year, Black students represented only 15% of total US student enrollment, but they made up 35% of students suspended once, 44% of students suspended more than once, and 36% of students expelled. The US Department of Education concluded that this disparity is “not explained by more frequent or more serious misbehavior by students of color.” This means Black and Latinx students face harsher discipline in school. They are taken out of the class and punished for subjective offenses at higher rates than their white peers, which disrupts their ability to access quality education. Additionally, the average non-white school district receives $2,226 less per student, and the persisting achievement gap means Black students are less likely to attend college, thus reducing their lifetime earnings by 65%.
*501c3s are more limited than individuals in how they can engage in the electoral process. Please review YWCA’s GOTV Guide for a better understanding of what YWCAs can and cannot do as an organization