The YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester’s annual Stand Against Racism, being held virtually, will focus on the theme “Racism is a Public Health Crisis,” a topic that has been driven to the forefront of the national consciousness partly by the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice. It also is a declaration that has been made by the American Public Health Association, American Medical Association, several cities and counties across the US, and the CDC also has highlighted racism as a public health threat.
“We want to explore what this designation could mean for our city and county,” says Maria Imperial, CEO, YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester, “and we have assembled an impressive panel of experts to share perspectives on the topic.”
Featured on the panel, which takes place from 9:00 – 10:30 next Thursday, are Maya Bermingham, JD, senior vice president, public policy and government affairs and former interim head of diversity equity & inclusion, Regeneron; Traci Gardner, MD, medical director and chief medical officer, The Children’s Village, and Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, OH, which was one of the first cities to declare racism a public health crisis. Whaley also is vice president for the US Conference of Mayors as well as the Chair of the International Committee for the conference.
This event marks the 15th year the YWCA has taken a Stand Against Racism to build community among those who work for racial justice and raise awareness about the impact of institutional and structural racism, which plays a major role in determining the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age. It affects 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,” Imperial points out. “And it aligns with our mission to eliminate racism and empower women.”
To fulfill that mission, the YWCA also announces today the launch of the Westchester Center for Racial Equity, a dedicated space for working towards advancing racial equity in Westchester County by providing the vision, the place and the community to sustain anti-racist work. The Center offers training programs, learning opportunities, consulting services and leadership development.
The YWCA is calling on government agencies, organizations, corporations, schools, hospitals, houses of worship and individuals in Westchester County to join with other YWCA’s across the country to hold a Stand Against Racism to build community among those who work for racial justice.
Individuals and organizations of all types can take a Stand Against Racism and attend the free virtual “Racism is a Public Health Crisis” event on April 22, at 9:00 AM. Registration is required.
Youth ages 14 to 21 are invited to engage with their peers and young facilitators in a conversation about racism and their role in combatting it. Register here for the youth event.
About YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester
The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Since 1929, the YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester (YWCA) has been a pioneer for social change through innovative programs that seek to improve the lives of women and families and that strive for racial justice. For more information, visit https://ywcawpcw.org/.