Racial Justice

YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts is committed to dismantling racism in all forms by promoting awareness of racial and gender inequity, by educating individuals and communities, and advocating for equity throughout Southeastern Massachusetts. We support and promote the YWCA USA’s National Advocacy Agenda and are intentional in advancing the YWCA’s Mission of Eliminating Racism and Empowering Women. Our work includes establishing partnerships with allies, coalitions, and organizations; engaging grassroots networks; and hosting community forums, workshops, and racism and bias awareness events.


Community Conversations

On Monday, June 11, 2020, almost 300 individuals attended two Community Conversations facilitated by YWCA Executive Director Gail Fortes. People of Color shared their personal stories of how racism has affected them, microaggressions they have experienced, fears of raising their children, especially their black and brown sons, and overt white supremacist acts against them. The goal of these conversations was about having a space to come together as a community so that people can share and hear feelings of pain, rage, frustration, and fear; to validate and listen to those stories; and to think about ways we can dismantle racism in our community.

Beginning at the end of June, the YWCA invites you to join one of three Community Conversations, where we will continue to have open, honest, authentic, and uncomfortable conversations on racism and white privilege in our country and in our community. We must work on healing and channeling our emotions into positive action that demands justice, drives systemic change, and honors the memories of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, Ahmaud Arbery, and all who have lost their lives and have been subjected to white-supremacist violence and racism on a daily basis.
  1. Community Conversation #1 – Thursday, June 25th at 10:00 am
  2. Community Conversation #2 – Monday, June 29th at 6:00 pm
  3. Community Conversation #3 -Thursday, July 9th at 12:00 noon
Sign up here! Registration will close at Midnight the day before each Community Conversation. If you have questions with registration, please email Jordan at jlatham@ywcasema.org

Join us in the next steps towards eliminating racism!

  • Join a YWCA Working Group! The YWCA will be coordinating Working Groups to address the following issues: Education, Housing, Health, Criminal justice system / Policing, Youth, and the #SayHerName Campaign. Sign up here!
  • Share your stories with the YWCA! Racial Justice Consultant Pam Pollock is collecting stories from individuals who have experienced racism and racist acts in our community. From experiencing microagressions to overtly white supremacist-motivated acts of aggression, please share your stories with Pam at pampol@aol.com. Written stories, videos, and voice memos are all welcome.
  • Sign up today for a Community Reading and Book Discussion of Robin Diangelo’s White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism. Join this 6-week series beginning June 16th through July 21st, Tuesdays 5:30 – 6:30pm. This book series is a community collaboration with the NAACP New Bedford Branch and YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts. Registration is now closed.
  • Join the 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge! This Juneteenth (June 19, commemorating the end of slavery in 1865), we will launch the first-ever YWCA 21 Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge. Adapted by other YWCA’s and organizations from across the nation, this challenge was designed to create dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits, particularly those dealing with issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership. You will be presented with challenges such as reading an article, listening to a podcast, reflecting on personal experience and more. Participation in an activity like this helps us to discover how racial injustice and social injustice impact our community, to connect with one another, and to identify ways to dismantle racism and other forms of discrimination. This is an exciting opportunity to dive deep into racial equity and social justice. Sign up at the link!

Anti-Racism Readings & Resources (updated June 12, 2020)


Racial Equity Workshops

YWCA’s Racial Equity Workshops are an opportunity to develop a foundational understanding of the systems that uphold racial inequity and the impact it has at the interpersonal, institutional and structural levels. These topics often give rise to challenging and emotional moments.

Facilitated by our Executive Director and Racial Justice Consultant Pam Pollock, all sessions utilize learning strategies intended to engage everyone, including group discussion, reading materials, awareness exercises, interactive activities and more—all in a safe, supportive environment where everyone can share their thoughts openly. Best of all, our workshops are for all ages, can be held on or off-site, and can be customized to meet the unique needs of any organization, business, institution or agency.

Sessions are available in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

For more information or to schedule a session please contact Gail Fortes at (508) 999-3255 or gfortes@ywcasema.org


Stand Against Racism

YWCA’s annual Stand Against Racism is a series of events 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.

Want to get involved in Stand Against Racism? Contact jlatham@ywcasema.org