I Stand Against Racism
Americans, especially Black Americans will come together this week for the annual festivities recognizing Juneteenth. For anyone who may not know by now, Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States and has been celebrated by African-Americans since the late 1800s. On June 19, 1865, enslaved African-Americans in Galveston, Texas, were told they were free—a full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued.
Like many others in this moment in time when it is so clear that racism is engrained into the very fabric of this country, I wonder do we need to declare Emancipation again? This time, not just on pen and paper or with our voices, but with action.
The mission of YWCA of Greater Atlanta is “eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.” The fact that we still have a mission this bold indicates we are not emancipated. The words of Dr. Martin Luther King resonate as loud today as they did when he said them, “No one is free until all of us are free.”
So, how can we find true freedom—freedom that SHOULD be celebrated and embraced? It starts with you as an individual. Let’s root out the cause of racism and become an anti-racist society. YWCA invites you to take a stand. Join us in this pledge.
STAND AGAINST RACISM: TAKE THE PLEDGE
We take a Stand Against Racism every day by raising awareness about the impact of institutional and structural racism and by building community among those who work for racial justice.
STAND AGAINST RACISM PLEDGE
Mindful of the continuing affliction of institutional and structural racism as well as the daily realities of all forms of bias, prejudice and bigotry in my own life, my family, my circle of friends, my co-workers and the society in which I live, with conviction and hope:
I take this pledge, fully aware that the struggle to eliminate racism will not end with a mere pledge but calls for an ongoing transformation within myself and the institutions and structures of our society.
I pledge to look deeply and continuously in my heart and in my mind to identify all signs and vestiges of racism; to rebuke the use of racist language and behavior towards others; to root out such racism in my daily life and in my encounters with persons I know and with strangers I do not know; and to expand my consciousness to be more aware and sensitive to my use of overt and subtle expressions of racism and racial stereotypes;
I pledge to educate myself on racial justice issues and share what I learn in my own communities even if it means challenging my family, my partner, my children, my friends, my co-workers and those I encounter on a daily basis
I pledge, within my means, to actively work to support public policy solutions that prominently, openly and enthusiastically promote racial equity in all aspects of human affairs; and to actively support and devote my time to YWCA, as well as other organizations working to eradicate racism from our society.
YWCA USA is on a mission to eliminate racism and empower women. I join YWCA in taking a stand against racism today and every day.
After you take the pledge, take a moment to tag us and tell us: @ywcaatlanta
*This pledge has been adapted by YWCA USA from the Pledge to Eliminate Racism in My Life, YWCA Bergen County which is an adaptation of the Pledge to Heal Racism in My Life, Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace, April 10, 2006.
Sharmen May Gowens
CEO/YWCA of Greater Atlanta