We at the YWCA of Asheville are deeply saddened by the local tragedy of events resulting in the death of Jai “Jerry” Lateef Solveig Williams. We grieve with our community for the loss of another young African-American man.
Our YWCA Summer Camp kids sang a song in response to the tragedy in Charleston.
Video by Katie Christie, School Age Director. Song written & produced by Rickey Payton & Voices United.
“Black is beautiful when you understand
It’s not the color of your skin, a woman child or man
White is beautiful together we are free
We are one we are family”
A-B Tech Community College and the YWCA of Asheville are partnering to bring a community-wide Stand Against Racism event to the college from 1 to 4:30 p.m., Thursday, March 26 in Ferguson Auditorium on the Asheville campus. The event is free and open to the public. Read the Asheville Citizen-Times article here.
Jacquelyn Hallum, Director of Health Careers and Diversity Education at the Mountain Area Health Education Center, will be the keynote speaker. She will discuss the history of racism in employment and solutions to the problem. The event is a part of the national YWCA Stand Against Racism campaign, which is designed to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism. Learn more about the Stand Against Racism and how you can sign up to participate on our website.
Following Hallum’s address, there will be a panel on the history of racism in Asheville, and a second panel on how employers in the region are recognizing and addressing organizational racism.
Panel one will feature:
· Dr. Darin Waters, UNC Asheville History Department
Housing and how it relates to employment in the Asheville community
· Oralene Simmons, MLK Association
Her personal experience growing up in Madison County, being a member of ASCORE, working for the City of Asheville, and being the first African American woman at Mars Hill University
· Beth Mazcka, YWCA
How the YW played a role in helping to desegregate Asheville
· Sharon West, YMI Cultural Center and the VA Hospital
Medical disparities within Asheville
The second panel will feature:
· Lisa Eby, Buncombe County Health and Human Services
What Buncombe County is doing to address institutional racism through employment and services
· Darryl Rhymes, A-B Tech Community College
What A-B Tech is doing to address institutional racism through employment
· Kelly Goins, WNC Diversity Engagement Coalition
How the 6 largest employers in Buncombe County have come together to provide training and networking to support people of color through gaining employment, retention, promotion and community
· Sheriff Van Duncan, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Department
How the Sheriff’s Office is addressing institutional racism through employment and training of officers
· James Lee, Racial Justice Coalition
How organizations that have a mission or program of racial justice have come together to speak against injustice, provide education on citizen rights and build relationships between community members and law enforcement
Annie Burton, Executive Director of School and Community Engagement at UNC Asheville, will served as moderator for the panels. A reception will follow in the Ferguson Lobby from 4-4:30. Members of the Racial Justice Coalition will have displays with calls to action available for public viewing during the entire event.
The YWCA Drop-In Child Care Center will provide free childcare at the YW on S. French Broad Avenue from 1 – 5 p.m. for parents attending this event. Parents will need to provide pertinent information for their children by March 20. Contact Gerry Leonard, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for the YW, at 254-7206, ext. 219 or at email@example.com.