During this year’s Presidential campaign, we have witnessed how the current political narrative has fueled racialized anxiety, fear, tension and hatred across the country. We have seen how policy platforms built around xenophobia, misogyny, and separatism has reinforced a sense of divisiveness that continues to permeate American society. We have also seen how the media’s portrayal of stories—particularly around race—can profoundly influence our perceptions and attitudes toward race. This is a critical time for racial justice activists and allies alike to take ownership in working to reframe the contexts in which we talk about race— whether in politics, journalism or workplace conversations. Now more than ever, YWCA’s mission of Eliminating Racism and Empowering Women is paramount to reshaping this narrative.
Changing the Narrative
The 15th annual YWCA Racial Justice Summit will be themed around Changing the Narrative. The summit will offer breakout sessions and keynotes from advocates, practitioners and national experts around the awareness of institutional racism. This year’s keynotes will feature two leading voices in the racial justice movement, Rinku Sen and Vernā Myers.
• Rinku Sen is the President and Executive Director of Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation and the Publisher of the award-winning news site ColorLines. Through her leadership at Race Forward, she is transforming the way we talk about racism, from something that is individual, intentional, and overt to something that is systemic, unconscious, and hidden.
• Vernā Myers is on a personal mission to disrupt the status quo and she knows how to: she has lived it. She rose out of Baltimore’s working class to become a Harvard-trained lawyer, entrepreneur, author and cultural innovator. She has helped eradicate barriers of race, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation at elite international law firms, Wall Street powerhouses, and the 10,000 member Fire Department of New York, with the aim of establishing a new, more productive and just status quo.
Many of the breakout sessions focus on Changing the Narrative toward issues such as strategic community organizing, the criminalization of black mothers and white privilege just to name a few. These sessions hope to support national conversations happening around race, race relations, and working toward finding a common ground rooted in our collective humanity.
The Summit on September 29 and 30 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center, will provide an environment for people to learn and engage in authentic and reflective conversations around race and privilege. Attendees will be equipped with resources to help discover ways to affect systemic change and will leave empowered to carry out that work in their respective ways.
Please consider joining the YWCA and its proud sponsors at this event. For more information, visit our website at www.ywcamadison.org/rjsummit, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YWCAMadison or contact Colleen Butler at racialjustice@ywcamadison. org.
YWCA Madison is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families and strengthen our community. YWCA Madison is part of an international movement serving over 2 million in the United States and 25 million worldwide. For comprehensive information about this important work, go to www.ywcamadison.org and www.ywca.org.