What We Do

Social Justice

Stand Against Racism


Andree Kehn/Sun Journal
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.

YWCA Central Maine has held an annual Stand Against Racism event during the last weekend of April since 2012. Our events have offered keynote speakers including local activists, community leaders, and academics from Maine.

We have provided activities ranging from dance workshops and spoken word poetry performances, to discussion groups and personal story sharing. 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.

YWCA Central Maine is going virtual again for the 10th annual event scheduled April 21-23, 2021. This year’s campaign will focus on the myriad of racial justice issues that impact the health and safety of communities of color. Local community organizations, leaders, and Maine residents committed to the important work of bringing light to the effects of systemic racism have come together to develop the three-day program

Structural racism plays a large role in determining the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age. These factors affect people’s access to quality housing, education, food, transportation, political power, and other social determinants of health. Understanding and addressing systemic racism from this public health perspective is crucial to eliminating racial and ethnic inequities, and to improving opportunity and well-being across communities.

Our collective efforts can root out injustice, transform institutions, and create a world that sees women, girls, and people of color the way we do: Equal. Powerful. Unstoppable.

Join Us For Stand Against Racism 2021!

April 21st
Community Concepts, Inc.,Upstander Project, and Wabanaki REACH presents the Emmy Award-winning film Dawnland followed by a live panel discussion moderated by Wabanaki REACH.
Film screening from 5:00pm – 6:00pm. Panel discussion from 6:30pm – 7:30pm. *Please note the film can be viewed April 14-24, 2021* Click HERE to register

About Dawnland: For decades, state child welfare authorities have been removing Native American children from their families to “save them from being Indian.” In Maine, the first official “truth and reconciliation commission” in the United States begins an investigation. Dawnland goes behind-the-scenes as this historic body grapples with difficult truths, reveals pathways to healing, redefines reconciliation, and charts a new course for state and tribal relations.

April 22nd

Keynote Speaker Director of Wabanaki Public Health Department of Wabanaki Public Health and Wellness (WPHW) Lisa Sockabasin to address systemic and historical racism that have contributed to Indigenous health inequities, and share what can be done to improve health outcomes and advance health equity. Click HERE to register

Guided Conversation based upon the book So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo. The discussion will be led by Nicollette Mitchell, Director of Equity and Inclusion Education at Bates College. 2:00pm – 3:30pm EST Click HERE to register
So You Want to Want to Talk About Race provides a user friendly examination of race in America and provides a tool to help us frame our discussion and provide tangible guidance on how to approach these sometimes hard conversations with empathy, understanding, and skill.

The Bridge to My Own Power BIPOC space* 4:00pm – 5:00pm EST Click HERE to register

This affinity group experience is designed to create an intimate and protected space for Black, Brown, Latinx, Asian American, African American, or other persons of color to build community, share their truth openly, and affirm each other through representation. We know the intentionality of our white allies is to offer support; however, we ask you to opt-out of this particular opportunity and seek other options to serve in our community. To further understand this space, take a moment to read this article.

April 23rd

Panel Discussion on Housing as a Social Determinant to Health. This conversation will feature panelists: Craig Saddlemire, Raise-Op Housing Cooperative; Fowsia Musse, Maine Community Integration; Maureen Boston, Pine Tree Legal Assistance; and, Amy Smith, Health Homeworks. Our moderator will be Tonya Bailey-Curry, YWCA Central Maine Board President. 1:00pm – 2:00pm EST Click HERE to register

Join YWCA Central Maine & other Maine residents in signing the Stand Against Racism pledge

Made with Padlet

Thank you to our Stand Against Racism 2021 Sponsors:

Racial Equity Challenges & Trainings

The YWCA 21 Day Challenge is an opportunity to dive deep into topics of racial equity and social justice. Participants will be provided with curated articles, podcasts, activities, and more delivered straight to their inbox each morning. Emails go out Monday – Friday for 21 days. You will be given a few options each day, with some materials only requiring a few minutes of your time! This challenge was adapted from our sister organization YWCA Greater Cleveland, and in turn inspired by Food Solutions New England. The latter was the first to adapt an exercise from Dr. Eddie Moore, Jr. and Debby Irving’s book into the interactive 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge. The challenge is designed to create dedicated time and space to build more effective social justice habits and bring awareness to issues of race, power, privilege, and leadership.

YWCA Central Maine hopes that this challenge will help participants discover how racial inequity and social injustice impact our communities, identify actionable ways to dismantle racism and other forms of discrimination in their daily lives, and–particularly while we are physically distanced–connect with others.

For more information on the Challenge, please download the 21 Day Challenge Flyer.


The 21-Day Equity Challenge was created by Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. (#BlackMind) and co-developed with Debby Irving, and Dr. Marguerite Penick (#DiverseSolutions). The plan has been adopted by Organizations, Associations and Corporations all over the nation/world. Dr. Eddie Moore Jr. is the Director of the Privilege Institute in Green Bay, WI. Dr. Moore created the Challenge to not only help people better understand issues surrounding equity, inclusion, privilege, leadership and supremacy, but also to do so in a way that would build a habit of learning by stretching it over 21 days. We are excited to be offering you this 21-Day Challenge in partnership with Dr. Moore. As you engage in the various activities over the next 21 days, be sure to tag, comment, and follow (1) 21-Day Racial Equity Habit Building Challenge | Facebook

YW Community Reads

YWCA Central Maine will host community reads (book clubs) that focus on social justice issues in line with our mission to eliminate racism and empower women. We hope that this book club will open important and meaningful community conversations on topics that are difficult to discuss by centering others’ experiences as portrayed by literature.

The club is open for all ages (with parent permission for those under 18) and meets virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why should you join us?
1. “The act of reading in a community can help you read more deeply and better understand diverse perspectives,” John Coleman writes in the Harvard Business Review.
2. You read things that you would not otherwise read.
3. Some books need to be discussed.
4. As Joyce Carol Oates said, “Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”
5. We encourage meaningful and approachable discussions. You don’t have to be a literary scholar or feel like an authority on social justice language. Just do the reading and show up to the discussion with an open mind and heart.

We are carefully choosing books (and other media) to foster empathy, inspire conversations, and educate on systems and experiences related to racial injustice. 

Thank you to Green Dot LA for supporting this book club. Through their support, free copies of books are available for participants who cannot afford or access the book(s). Whenever possible, please consult your local library to see whether a book (e-book, audiobook, or hard copy) is available. We are happy to provide participants with copies of these books so they may participate in these important community conversations! However, please note that sponsorships are limited across the community.

In July 2020, we will read:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: Join us as we explore Angie Thomas’ bold examination of the complexities of race in America through the story of sixteen-year-old Starr Carter, whose world is shattered when she becomes a key witness in the shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. YWCA Central Maine will facilitate community conversations on the effects of interpersonal and structural racism on our culture and society.

Bates Women of Color Partnership

In 2019, Bates Women of Color club and the YWCA Central Maine teamed up to offer some fun activities and important community building opportunities to young women of color in Maine. The club is inviting middle- and high-schoolers who identify as girls of color to attend events on- and off-campus.

Stay tuned for upcoming events in the 2020-2021 School Year!


The YWCA Central Maine advocates for public policy solutions to improve the lives of women and their families and create safer, healthier, more equitable communities in Maine.

In 2019, working in collaboration with community partners, we will advocate for the following issues to advance our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. We also will monitor and educate stakeholders on policy issues that impact women and girls in our state.

Past Programs: PEACE

PEACE (Positive Ethnic And Cultural Exchange) was a YWCA Central Maine initiative working to build community among women while emphasizing cross-cultural exchange. The program fostered transformative friendships through social gatherings, health, and wellness programming, art workshops, and issue-based dialogue in a women-only space.