Advocates for equality
The YWCA seeks to end all forms of oppression and discrimination in our community through education, advocacy, and direct action. Our advocacy work is inspired by the elegance and urgency of our mission, to eliminate racism and empower women. The YWCA advocates for racial and gender equity through events and programming, as well as, employing our voice as a community institution to champion social justice causes. The YWCA offers several signature events and ongoing programming that emphasize community building through youth empowerment, prioritizing the voices of women and girls of color, and supporting inter-cultural exchange and solidarity.
Stand Against Racism
Stand Against Racism is a signature event of the YWCA USA. It was developed as an opportunity for YWCAs across the nation to take a visible position against racism in localized contexts and to offer education and direct action around issues of racial justice.
The YWCA of Central Maine has held an annual Stand Against Racism event during the last weekend of April since 2012. Our events have offered key note speakers from the Lewiston-Auburn area including: local activists, community leaders, and academics. We have provided activities ranging from dance workshops and spoken word poetry performances to discussion groups and personal story sharing. Most recently, the YWCA collaborated with the Lewiston High School Civil Rights Team to offer student-lead workshops on deconstructing privilege, racism in education, and racial profiling. Stand Against Racism concludes with a call to action and a march through downtown to share our message of the urgency of racial justice. Stand Against Racism unites our community across cultures, experiences, and politics to mobilize for anti-racist action in Maine.
Community Action Day
Community Action Day began as a collaboration between the YWCA and the Maine Women’s Policy Center, through our shared commitment to the empowerment and advancement of Maine women. Community Action Day facilitates conversations around elections, grassroots organizing, and issues facing the area.
In 2015, the YWCA hosted panels of elected officials and community organizers. Panelists spoke on legislation, contacting and creating relationships with representatives, issues on the November ballot; and shared their experiences and strategies for impactful community organizing.
Community Action Day provides the opportunity for small group workshops, resource sharing, and the development of collaborations around advocacy in Maine.
L-A Women Rising
L-A Women Rising is a collaborative movement to raise awareness about violence against women in Lewiston-Auburn. In 2014, the executive directors of the YWCA, Safe Voices, Wisdom Women’s Center, and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services created an agency partnership to facilitate an on-going network of support for women and girls involved in domestic violence. L-A Women Rising advocates the idea that in order to empower and advance women in Lewiston-Auburn we must eradicate violence against women in our community and provide the resources women need to grow and thrive after surviving violence.
Week Without Violence
The Week Without Violence is a YWCA USA annual campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence and violence against women. The campaign takes place annually during the third week of October, Domestic Violence Awareness month. YWCAs comprise the largest network of domestic violence service providers in the country. While the YWCA of Central Maine does not provide direct service to victims of domestic violence, the organization is committed to advocating for resources and legislation that support the advancement of survivors, and for greater public understanding of domestic violence and violence against women.
In 2015, the YWCA USA reached its twentieth year of the Week Without Violence. This year, each day of the week focused on a different aspect of the issue, including: Domestic Violence 101; Women of Color and Barriers to Safety; Domestic Violence and Gun Statistics; Ending Domestic Violence around the World; and Financial Abuse and Economic Empowerment. The YWCA of Central Maine participated in the Week Without Violence through a social media campaign. The campaign utilized the organization’s social media presence to share articles written with a diverse range of perspectives on domestic violence, as well as, information on local resources.