Racial Justice

YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts is a part of the national movement of over 200 YWCA’s working to eliminate racism. Our commitment, like our national organization, runs deep. While the YWCA has been working in Greater New Bedford since 1911, addressing issues facing women, our mission also focuses on the challenges of racism, civil rights, and dismantling white supremacy.

In order to address racism, in all the places where we witness its oppressive power, we need people who understand it, can address it and challenge it. We will end racism when more people, particularly white people, understand the importance of taking action to intervene and change racialized outcomes impacting people of color in work, personal and structural settings.

We recognize the challenges facing our community. We know that being in denial of the history and impact of racism will not change outcomes in our community.

Our approach is to transform the landscape of our region to address racial inequities in their many forms (criminal justice, education, health, housing, employment).

Take a look at our vision and framework for a more just and equitable Southeastern Massachusetts.

YWCA Racial Justice Programming Infograph


A series of learning experiences as an opportunity to develop a foundational understanding of the System of Racial Inequity in the context of the United States, and the impact it has at the interpersonal, institutional, and structural levels. This includes stand-alone workshops and the 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge. These learning experiences afford participants the opportunity to learn about the impact, history, manifestations, whiteness, and addressing racism in one’s sphere of influence. We invite people to collaborate with other participants on their next steps in addressing issues in their neighborhoods, workplaces, and community. Through the development of this critical consciousness, we can also begin to build practices that interrupt the racial narrative of white supremacy and support personal and collective liberation grounded in equity.

  • Stand-alone workshop topics include:
  • Understanding Allyship: From Ally to All In
  • What Is Whiteness? Exploring White Racial Identity
  • Identity, Power, and Privilege
  • Race and Racism in New England


We offer tailored training to hiring managers and leadership teams at businesses, universities, nonprofits, schools, and churches throughout the region. Programs are designed to address the needs of your organization, school, business, nonprofit or collective. This technical assistance utilizes a Racial Equity Theory of Change, modeled by YWCA USA. Some examples of our services include:

  1. Facilitating learning and unlearning experiences on the system of racial inequity for staff
  2. Engaging key leaders in developing skills and practices that will make transformation for equity possible
  3. Facilitating an exercise in honesty in which you have the opportunity to explore what is currently true about your culture and practices
  4. Providing consultation and collaborative support to key staff to move the change process forward

Click here to learn more about the YWCA Technical Assistance process!


We bring people together to learn from one another while sharing information and knowledge via community guided reading circles, in collaboration with the NAACP New Bedford Branch; panel discussions (for example: Stand Against Racism, Week WIthout Violence, etc.); free monthly Until Justice Just Is workshops for the general public; and advocacy activities for racial justice legislation and campaigns.


At YWCA SEMA, we advocate for antiracist legislation at the local, state and federal levels. We recognize that stereotypes, biases, and racial power dynamics are embedded in our laws and public policies. Our advocacy framework includes legislative advocacy, coalition participation, and mobilizing public support and action.

Stand Against Racism

YWCA’s annual Stand Against Racism is a series of events in April that bring together like-minded organizations sharing YWCA’s vision and mission of eliminating racism and celebrating the value of diversity. In recent years, more than 140 organizations have participated, pledging to stand with the YWCA.

Click here for more information about the YWCA’s Stand Against Racism.

YWCA SEMA Racial Justice Programming is funded in part by our generous community partners: The Island Foundation, the Carney Family Foundation, the Women's Fund SouthCoast, the SouthCoast Community Foundation, BayCoast Bank, and First Citizens' Federal Credit Union