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Center for Race & Gender Equity

YWCA Greater Pittsburgh’s primary advocacy initiative, the Center for Race & Gender Equity, provides training, organizes events, engages in advocacy, and builds community around the vision of a world in which all women and girls, especially women and girls of color, have equitable access to personal and professional opportunities, free from racial injustice.

This training experience was very inspirational, relatable and informative. I identified with a lot of the issues talked about and for that I am very grateful that the conversation about racism is becoming less awkward.

Advocacy

The Center for Race and Gender Equity serves the Pittsburgh community by providing resources related to the issues of Racial Justice, Inclusion, and Equity. We encourage individuals to become advocates by participating in YW sponsored events and using our resources to broaden their knowledge of diversity issues.

YWCA focuses our advocacy work on these public policy areas:

• Racial Justice, Inclusion & Equity
• Health & Safety
• Economic Empowerment & Education

Find out more about YWCA policy issues and contact you legislator by following the link below.

Contact Your Legislator

YW Wednesday Action Conversations

On the third Wednesday of every month, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh’s Center for Race and Gender Equity presents YW Wednesday Action Conversation on Race, a panel discussion dedicated to racial justice. Featuring local experts and leaders in fields such as equity and diversity, policy change, and advocacy, YW Wednesdays are designed to build community and create change.

Campaigns

Our Center for Race and Gender Equity leads engagement campaigns such as the 2020 census campaign, YWomen Count, and the 2020 voter engagement campaign, YWomen Vote. Please check our Home Page frequently for updates on new and existing campaigns.

Naturalization Ceremonies

YWCA hosts and participates in two annual naturalization ceremonies for incoming American citizens in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security/USCIS, coinciding with the celebration and Black History Month and of LGBTQIA Pride Month.

Training

The Center for Race & Gender Equity provides equity and diversity training in a range of topics to corporations, nonprofits, schools, community groups, and more. We develop and deliver educational workshops and programs for individuals of all ages and backgrounds.

Voter Empowerment and Registration

YWCA is committed to educating eligible voters about registering to vote, protecting voting rights, and accessing accurate voter information. Activities include National Voter Registration Day advocacy, providing assistance updating and applying for voter registration, and explaining dates and requirements related to upcoming elections.

Following Governor Wolf’s directive, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh’s operations remain largely virtual.  As we adapt to our modified schedule, appointments are required.  Our Homewood-Brushton Early Child Development Center is open, with special precautions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Our Pre-K Counts classrooms in Homewood and Braddock Hills will open in the fall. Click here to view our family welcome packet for more information. Please check our website frequently for service updates and sign up to receive our monthly newsletter. For a list of local resources, please follow this link.

If you are in need of immediate assistance, please contact United Way’s PA 2-1-1 Southwest by texting your zip code to 898-211, visiting pa211sw.org or by dialing 2-1-1.

If you need immediate assistance through the Resource Center, please complete our online application by clicking the button below.

Get Help

For over 150 years, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh has worked to improve quality of life for women and strengthen the fabric of our communities. In 1970, YWCA USA proclaimed its one imperative: “to thrust our collective power towards the elimination of racism, wherever it exists, by any means necessary.” 50 years later, eliminating racism and empowering women is more than a salient and timely mission. It is a revitalized call to collective action aimed at promoting racial justice, reducing race and gender disparities, and deliberately addressing the challenges and celebrating the triumphs of living at the intersection of race and gender.

The One Imperative: to thrust our collective power towards the elimination of racism, wherever it exists, by any means necessary.

Our strategic direction builds upon the strong legacy of YWCA Greater Pittsburgh’s previous leaders and members as we innovate and lead to secure a better future. We boldly embrace the YWCA mission and a renewed commitment to racial justice based on the following assumptions:

1) Eliminating racism and empowering women requires deliberate action.

We understand that moving forward in our imperative involves both legislative and systemic changes. As a community, we must also move beyond acknowledging disparities exist and towards dismantling the framework that perpetuates these disparities. YWCA Greater Pittsburgh’s advocacy platform promotes specific policies and systemic change for gender equity and racial justice.

2) Promoting racial justice requires a collective approach.

We are committed to building strong, strategic partnerships to be deliberate in our efforts to eliminate racism and empower women. This is a multi-faceted and cross-sectoral strategy. YWCA Greater Pittsburgh is actively engaging with the corporate, nonprofit, civic, and academic sectors to ensure women and people of color are treated with dignity and respect and children, youth, and adults are provided with access to opportunities.

3) As long as racial and gender disparities persist, YWCA will work collaboratively to reduce disparities and address their impact.

While we work towards eliminating racism and empowering women (an “upstream” approach), we also recognize that existing disparities were birthed in historical injustices. Race-specific and or disparate impact policies that have negatively affected housing choice, wealth accumulation, and educational attainment, among others, have led to present day income and neighborhood disparities. YWCA Greater Pittsburgh is committed to ensuring women, children, and families can meet basic needs and move towards financial stability. Our services to support these efforts will continue and be made more accessible. Examples include:

4) Promoting racial justice and empowering women is not a “one and done” or “checklist” effort.

We are engaged in a movement that provides short-term and long-term strategies for achieving our collective goals.

We approach all of our programming through a racial justice lens and assist our partners to do the same. YWCA Greater Pittsburgh has an educational platform to address racial justice and move towards anti-racist practices. In addition to these offerings, we are also looking internally at our programs and services to bring a racial justice and women’s empowerment lens to everything we do. Our Center for Race and Gender Equity will lead these internal and external efforts.

5) Understanding the challenges and triumphs at the intersection of race and gender is paramount to fulfilling our mission.

We strive to amplify the voices of those committed to racial justice and gender empowerment. This includes ensuring that the voices of those with lived experiences are valued and are shaping decisions being made. YWCA Greater Pittsburgh will continue to build community partnerships to present a narrative of strong women who thrive in the face of challenges. We also remain committed to removing the obstacles that hinder advancement for women, particularly women of color. Specifically, our Center for Race and Gender Equity aims to be a premier resource for understanding and addressing disparities at the intersection of race and gender. The Center recently launched:

  • Monthly YWednesday Conversations on Race for 2020-2021.

These conversations highlight issues of race and gender intersectionality and offer concrete actions that can be taken to promote racial justice. (You can watch our June 5 and July 15 Conversations at our Media Center and register for upcoming Conversations here.)

  • Short issue pieces that inform on intersectional disparities from a historical and data perspective.

These provide short-term and long-term strategies to address these disparities.

Angela Reynolds, Ph.D.
CEO, YWCA Greater Pittsburgh
July 9, 2020