Tag Archives: eliminating racism

We Will Not Normalize Racism

14 Aug

We are outraged, saddened and disgusted by the display of bigotry and hatred from the white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, VA this weekend. This act of hate and terrorism was directly responsible for the death of a young woman, Heather Heyer, and injuries to numerous others who gathered to stand against racism in all of its forms.

YWCA Asheville stands in solidarity to grieve for the victims of this latest tragedy, including two law enforcement officers, and show our unrelenting dedication to the elimination of racism. While we hold this space, we keep in the forefront of our minds that this is not an isolated incident or an unprecedented one. Our country’s long history and ongoing legacy of racism continue to plague our country with violence, oppression and white supremacy.

We must listen, trust and empathize with people of color, LGBTQ people, faith communities and other groups who suffer under personal and systemic injustices of discrimination and inequities. We will not normalize racism. We will not normalize domestic terrorism. Every day we must work towards an ideal that all people are created equal and have the right to live a life without fear.

Our nation’s strength and resilience stems from our diversity and contributions made by people of different races, genders, faiths, sexual orientations and political beliefs. We call on our white allies to recognize white privilege and racial bias, and to commit to rejecting all forms of hatred, bigotry, and intolerance.

As stated in Heather Heyer’s last message to us all, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”


Read more in YWCA USA’s statement including words from association leadership at YWCA Central Virginia and YWCA Richmond.

MLK Day of Service

26 Jan

By Gerry Leonard, Volunteer & Outreach Coordinator

019 - CopyOn January 16, 2016 the YWCA of Asheville hosted volunteers from the UNC-Asheville Key Center as part of our annual MLK Day of Service. To honor and celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., the YWCA partners with volunteers from local colleges to work with our Primary Enrichment (formerly the School Age program) students to create posters to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr., and his lasting impact on our society and the YW’s continued work of eliminating racism.

16 volunteers from UNC-Asheville spent their day at the YWCA – instead of taking the day off – and gave back, by giving their time to make a difference in a kid’s life. Volunteers worked 1-on-1 with our Primary Enrichment students, creating posters highlighted with images of MLK and inspirational quotes – along with glitter, feathers and other creative ways children decorate posters.

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This was not only a day of arts and crafts, but a wonderful opportunity for the Primary Enrichment students, K – 5, to engage with college students to understand the role MLK plays in all of our lives and how his legacy continues on. Some of the conversations I heard began with, “MLK had a dream, what is your dream”? The response from our YW kids ranged from grand dreams of flying in outer space or becoming President to more practical responses of wanting everyone to love each other. This in many ways encapsulates the true spirit of what MLK Day is all about: Honoring MLK and continuing to dream of equity and peace, while believing that you can achieve anything you want.

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The YWCA MLK Day of Service is as much of a service as it is enrichment. Many of the volunteers take this time to share with the Primary Enrichment students what their major is, and what they want to do when after college. This is particularly enriching as many of the children in the Primary Enrichment program come from low-income families where their parents are working full-time, often at multiple jobs. For the kids to hear first-hand from students about what college is like provides such a profound impact on their lives. So, as our young students continue to dream of being an astronaut and running for President, these conversations could very well propel them onward to making their dream a reality.

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We’re always looking for committed volunteers! Learn more at www.ywcaofasheville.org/volunteer

Beth Maczka Talks with Katie Christie, the YW’s School Age Director

26 May

Beth Maczka, YWCA of Asheville CEO, recently sat down with Katie Christie, the YW’s School Age Director. 

Katie Christie (left) and Beth Maczka (right)

Katie Christie (left) and Beth Maczka (right)

Beth: Tell me a little bit about your background.

Katie: I moved to Asheville from Miami. I grew up in the arts, always dancing and singing. My father is a doctor who wishes he could be a musician! I grew up seeing shows, and got the bug early on. When I was a senior in high school in 1988 I traveled for a month to the then Soviet Union as part of an arts exchange program. That’s when I realized that I could take my art and do something valuable in the world. I founded a nonprofit called Voices United, and did that work for the past 25 years.

Beth: What made you interested in working at the YWCA?

A group of children from the School Age program watching their peers perform dances from across different cultures.

A group of children from the School Age program watching their peers perform dances from across different cultures.

Katie: The mission made me excited – it’s very bold and strong. I love the idea that YWCAs around the world are working towards eliminating racism and empowering women. It’s important to me to feel that I’m working at a place where change is happening, and change is happening right here in this building.

I love working with young people – I’ve been doing it my whole life. I didn’t plan on being an educator, but I have a huge passion for it. It helps me feel hopeful about the world. If you’re interacting with young people you see there’s more in the future than we can imagine.

Katie Christie talks to a group of visitors in our outdoor classroom about the importance of state child care subsidies.

Katie Christie talks to a group of visitors in our outdoor classroom about the importance of state child care subsidies.

Beth: What do you think makes the School Age program unique?

Katie: There’s a really great mix of kids in our program, which is really important and directly supports our mission. We also have a great team of people working with the kids who are enriching the lives of the kids and finding innovative ways of doing that. We’re able to move through the community, pick children up, and take them to different opportunities around town.

All that goes into the YW is also trickling down into the school age program and that sets it apart, because all this other work is going on around them the program then strives to meet the goals of the mission. This is about the kids in the community and how they can see their role in the world as they grow up.

Beth: What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

Katie: In the School Age program we have a really great core of people and programming, and lots of potential for it to be even more outstanding – the kind of place that people are hearing about and talking about. It’s exciting to think about how to get that done.

Celebrating the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

21 Jan

As we pursue our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, we are acutely aware of the efforts of the countless people who have championed civil rights over the years. Bravery and diligence have moved this country closer to truly being a land of justice. We are humbled by everyone who has made sacrifices in the fight for racial equity, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

A group from the YWCA attended the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Prayer Breakfast on Saturday. We celebrating King’s legacy today by taking our After Schoolers to the MLK Peace March and Rally.

On Tuesday, the YWCA will have a table at UNCA for the Parchman Hour, Remembering the Past: Freedom Rider Vignettes, and on Wednesday we will be there for Gwendolyn Boyd, Looking to the Future: MLK Week Keynote.

At those events we will be sharing information about our annual Stand Against Racism. The Stand Against Racism, which happens in April, has the goal of raising awareness that racism still exists and that it can no longer be tolerated or ignored. Any group of any size can become a Participating Site of the Stand Against Racism: corporations large or small, schools (from elementary schools to universities), government agencies, non-profit or civic organizations, hospitals, churches or synagogues, even two neighbors gathered around a kitchen table.

Interested in being a part of this movement? SAR_logo_white
Click here to sign up for the Stand Against Racism.

As we walk in the footsteps of the heroes that have gone before, we will blaze a trail of a better world for those who will follow.

7th Annual YWCA Black & White Gala

11 Apr

The YWCA of Asheville’s 7th annual Black & White Gala will be held on Thursday, April 19, at 6:30 pm at the Crowne Plaza Expo Center. This spirited dance party will feature high energy music by Westsound, a silent auction, and delicious food from local restaurants. Festive black and white attire is encouraged. Tickets are $50 each. All event proceeds will go to support YWCA programs which bridge gaps in child care, education, health care, and earning power. The Gala is also the kick off of to our annual Stand Against Racism awareness campaign.  Sponsors include the Crowne Plaza Tennis & Golf Resort, WNC Parent, and Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa.

Stop by the YWCA (185 S. French Broad Avenue) to purchase tickets, or click here to order tickets online.

We hope to see you there!

Our “Big Idea” for 2012

24 Jan

The Mountain Xpress asked various people around the community what their “big idea” is for 2012. This is what we submitted that was printed in the paper:

Big Idea: It’s the Mission

At the YWCA of Asheville, our mission itself is the big idea: We incorporate “eliminating racism and empowering women” into everything we do.

In 2012, the YWCA will continue to offer vital programs bridging gaps in child care, education, health care and earning power. In April, we’ll hold our third annual Stand Against Racism campaign, which is aimed at increasing awareness that racism still exists and that it will no longer be tolerated. Our community struggles with issues related to race, and the Stand Against Racism provides an opportunity to address those issues.

This year, the focus will be on how we as a community can make our common spaces more welcoming to all types of people. We invite local businesses, organizations and faith groups to join us in the Stand Against Racism.

In September, we’ll hold our annual Tribute to Women of Influence, which celebrates women who have excelled in their field and empowered others through their work. This inspiring event highlights how far we have come toward equality in the workplace, and it advocates for the day when women possess the same financial and political power as men in this country.

Throughout the year, our wellness programs address health disparities, our child care programs strive to minimize the achievement gap, and our economic-empowerment programs give people tools to succeed. We look forward to continuing to strive for peace, justice, dignity and freedom for all in 2012.

Building Bridges

23 Feb

Building Bridges is a wonderful organization in Asheville. The mission of Building Bridges is to enable our community to confront and overcome racism through a continuing process of changing attitudes and hearts through education, consciousness-raising, nurturing, and ongoing support. Their goal is to be intentional in respecting diversity within our community. Find out more about Building Bridges on their website.