Message from the Executive
significant aspect of the YWCA movement is the use of Public Policies
as guiding principles for determining the services we provide and
issues we support. One of these guiding principles, which is also
a stated piece of our Mission Statement, is Racial Justice.
issue of racism is an extremely sensitive and painful one no matter
from what nationality, race, or ethnicity you address it. Those who
hold power, and therefore the ability to initiate fundamental change,
are normally white. Generally, the white race approaches the issues
of racism with a mixture of confusion, guilt, anger, distrust, frustration,
and uneasiness. Most Caucasians do not even know how to begin to understand
the reality of discrimination, and many do not care to learn. People
of color approach the issue of racism with a mixture of distrust,
anger, frustration, disgust, and impatience with a dominant race in
no hurry to change the status-quo. There is a mix of desire around
integration, and in some areas an increased desire to move away from
integration to a culturally based society.
questions the Portland YWCA is asking are: "How do we break through
the initial barriers of distrust and lack of understanding to make
real, lasting change? How can we work toward greater understanding
and collaboration in the resolution to this painful problem?"
begin finding answers, we are forming a Racial Justice Committee,
chaired by Board member Mettazee Morris, and made up of members of
the YWCA and general community. Our first task will be to clean our
own house by assessing where racial barriers exist in the YWCA. We
will review our attitudes, policies, operational materials and information,
internal employee and volunteer systems. We will also insure that
we are effectively trained on the opportunities we have, not only
to eliminate the racial barriers currently existing in the YWCA, but
also to teach us, as members of society, how to take every opportunity
to eradicate racism on an attitudinal and institutional scale. Secondly,
we will design and implement a community approach which will offer
the opportunity for local people and businesses to work with the YWCA
to make the Portland Metropolitan area a healthier and more equitable
place to live.
Racial Justice Committee will begin meeting this fall. If you are
interested in joining this Committee as an "architect" to design our
racial justice plan, please give me a call at 223-6281, ext. 3010
for an application form.