YWCA South Hampton Roads launches 21-day challenge to combat racism


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The YWCA South Hampton Roads just launched the “21 Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge” to help eliminate racism and discrimination in our community.

Anyone can participate in the challenge — all you need is a computer.

“We have this tag line, ‘Our mission is to eliminate racism and empower women,'” said Dr. Mary Kate Andris, president and CEO of the YWCA South Hampton Roads.

However, Andris says the organization was struggling to meet the first part of that mission, so they decided to do something to change that.

“The idea is really that we are committed to eliminating racism but that in order to do so, we need to educate people about what is racism, what is structural racism, what is institutional racism, what is white privilege,” said Andris.

She says YWCA staff started looking into internal anti-racism training programs before the death of George Floyd and the nationwide protests, but it didn’t take long to make the program public.

Andris said, “We decided that this would be something not only to educate ourselves, but to educate our community.”

The 21 Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge starts with a daily email.

“It sets the context for discussion,” said Andris. “Every day, you receive two or three things to watch, read, or listen to.”

Then, you reflect, either privately or in a Facebook group moderated by the YWCA.

Andris says it’s all about creating an open and honest dialogue.

She said, “We are trying to educate people in our community so we can have a decent, civil conversation about the topics at hand and then come up with a solution on how we can undo the systemic racism that exists.”

She hopes people open themselves up to learning something new and then take steps to combat racism.

More than 450 people in Hampton Roads and more than 2,000 people across the state have signed up.

You can sign up for the challenge at any time. If you’ve missed any days, the content will be shared on the YWCA’s website.

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