What We Do

Social Justice

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.

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. In 2020, were were proud to host Dr. Abdul El-Sayed in a conversation on racial inequities & COVID-19.

 

Stand Against Racism unites our community across cultures, experiences, and politics to mobilize for anti-racist action in Maine.

 

Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Racial Equity Challenges & Trainings

The 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 will 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!

YWCA Central Maine will also be facilitating conversations in a private 21 Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge Facebook group, where participants can discuss the content and engage with others taking the challenge. It is our hope 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.

Download the flyer from the first challenge held in May 2020 here.

Back by popular demand! Based on feedback from challengers, we’ve decided to run another cohort of our 21-Day Challenge! Please share with your friends so they can register before the start date: Friday July 31, 2020. Registration information coming soon!

Want to take the challenge at your workplace, book club, religious institution, or other private group? We can help! We can adapt the challenge as a private 21-day exercise, focus and/or expand on one week’s topics, and even implement and facilitate a year-long micro-training model based on YWCA Central Maine’s own anti-racism training for staff. Email Amanda Hatch, Director of Programs & Mission Impact, to discuss ways the YWCA can help facilitate the Challenge or implement other training opportunities for your organization.

YW Community Reads

YWCA Central Maine will host a series of 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?
–>“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.
–>You read things that you would not otherwise read.
–>Some books need to be discussed.
–>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.”
–>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.

You can sign up to discuss the book throughout the month, as well as request financial assistance to obtain a copy, here. Chat discussions will be held on our GoodReads group, in addition to two virtual video conferences during the month (details coming soon).

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!

Advocacy

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.