Standing for Racial Equality

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Standing for Racial Equality

by Sylvia Ferrell-Jones
President and CEO, YWCA Boston

Sylvia Ferrell-Jones

This week marks Boston’s third year participating in a national YWCA movement – Stand Against Racism.  We join with YWCAs across the nation to show that racism still exists and that it cannot be ignored or tolerated.  I am a positive and pragmatic person, so like to think not only of what I’m against, but also what I’m for.  What is the positive side of the equation?  In Boston, we emphasize our stand for and pursuit of racial equity.  Through all of our racial justice programs, leadership programs, and health and wellness programs, we work to create racial and gender equity and to build greater social cohesion throughout our community.

What would racial equity look like?  How will we know when it has been achieved?  One answer is found in the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:  We will have racial equity when we are all judged not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character.

I can think of many other measures. We will have racial equity when teachers believe that all children can learn and achieve, no matter their race or ethnicity.  We will have racial equity when our law enforcement officers don’t experience heightened suspicions (conscious or otherwise) when they observe people of color driving fancy automobiles.  We will have racial equity when sales associates in stores no longer ignore black customers who have been waiting and hurry to serve white customers who have just arrived.  We will have racial equity when we stop granting unearned privilege to those who happen to be white.

Boston’s 2012 Stand Against Racism will be bigger than ever, with 130 registered participating organizations, along with several dozen unofficial partners.  If you’re in the Boston area, please join the Human Chain of Diversity across the Fort Point Channel at 1 p.m. on Friday, April 27, 2012. The chain was originated by Neighborhood Health Plan three years ago, and NHP is joined by the Boston Children’s Museum, Argus and Solomon McCown.  Come to the atrium at 10 St. James at 1:45 p.m. on Friday, April 27, to hear rap scholar Dr. Emmett Price of Northeastern University, musicians from Josiah Quincy Upper School, and Paul Grogan of The Boston Foundation at the Stand organized by Holland and Knight.  Stop by the Winchester Town Center at noon on Saturday, April 28, for a Community Rally.  With over 100 Stands in and around Boston, opportunities abound.  YWCA Boston is working toward the day when all people have equal opportunities in life.  Join us as we work toward racial and gender equity and build social cohesion throughout our community.

Sylvia Ferrell-Jones has served as President and CEO of YWCA Boston since January 2007.  She has served on boards and worked in board development for 25 years.  Sylvia’s background in investment management for institutions spans the public and private sectors, and she’s especially glad to have found a home in the nonprofit sector.

Stand Against Racism logoThis post is part of the YWCA Stand Against Racism blog carnival on issues of race, justice and diversity. We invite you to join the dialogue! Post your comment below, share your story and follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #StandAgainstRacism.

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