Stand Against Racism

Congratulations to all who joined YWCA’s annual racial justice campaign, Stand Against Racism! Nearly 790 sites in 46 states and the District of Columbia took a Stand Against Racism in 2016, and this year’s event, which will take place from April 27-30, 2017, promises to be even larger. To register, visit

Stand Against Racism was founded in 2007 by YWCA Princeton and YWCA Trenton and is one part of YWCA’s national strategy to eliminate racism.

Here are some of the highlights from the 2016 campaign! 

790 sites 46 states + DC

Together, we raised awareness about the ways institutional and structural racism uniquely impacts the lives of girls of color.


Girls of color face unique, intersectional challenges, and too often, they are left out of conversations about gender and racial inequality. For example, much of the conversation about criminalization and the school-to-prison pipeline tends to focus on boys of color, but in fact, girls of color also face disproportionate challenges in schools and in the justice system. Girls of color are suspended at higher rates than White girls, and Black girls are more likely to be suspended than girls of any other race or ethnicity and White boys. Girls of color make up 61% of girls in the juvenile justice system, and of these, 31% are victims of sexual abuse. Girls who interact with the juvenile justice system are likely to have multiple experiences of trauma and abuse. Our girls shouldn't be punished when what they most need is support and empathy.


Girls of color struggle with the effects of both sexism and racism, and their challenges include such excessive school discipline, disproportionate trauma and violence, unequal educational opportunity, and the sexual abuse-to-prison pipeline. Want to learn more? Check out:

When YWCA USA first announced this year's Stand Against Racism theme, we also posted an open call for young women and girls of color to submit original writing about their life experiences, to be featured on our blog and social media channels. We never anticipated the response this open call would generate, especially in this Facebook post – while many comments were supportive, many other replies were negative, interpreting this as racist and discriminatory against White girls.

Our former CEO, Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron, addressed this backlash in a thoughtful op-ed in Ebony.


Regardless of the controversy surrounding that initial open call for original writing from young women and girls of color, YWCA USA received a number of wonderful submissions. We selected three to share on our blog:


To officially kick off Stand Against Racism 2016 on April 28, YWCA USA hosted a National Day of Action policy briefing about the unique, intersectional needs of girls of color. The event, which featured a keynote from U.S. Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine Lhamon and a panel that included a number of key thought leaders, was livestreamed. You can watch the full video below, and look at photos and tweets from the event:

SOCIAL MEDIA: #StandAgainstRacism

Thank you to all who participated using #StandAgainstRacism on social media, sharing event photos, videos, quotes, and messages of racial justice, empowerment, and education. Check out the Storify below to see some of the wonderful work and powerful Stands that took place during the campaign:


Did you know that Stand Against Racism was founded in 2007 by YWCA Princeton and YWCA Trenton? It has since grown into a national presence, and is our signature campaign that is part of our national strategy to eliminate racism. We spoke with Judy Hutton, CEO of YWCA Princeton, to get some insight into the origins of Stand Against Racism and her reflections on how it has changed and grown over the years.

A Gift to YWCA USA for Racial Justice Work

YWCA Mid-Peninsula (Palo Alto, CA) Donor Advised Fund of the Women's Foundation of California announced its support of Stand Against Racism with a gift of $1,000 to YWCA USA for racial justice work in memory of long-time YWCA leader Marguerite Anderson, whose 50 years of service included work as board president and as a delegate to the 1970 YWCA Convention that adopted the One Imperative to Eliminate Racism.

Marguerite Anderson YWCA Mid-Peninsula