Posts Tagged eliminate racism

Eliminate Racism With YWCA St. Joseph

Celebrating Black History Month and Working to Bring Awareness to Eliminating Racism

Did you know that the early days of Black History Month go back more than 90 years in history? In 1926, the second week of February was designated to celebrate the lives and contributions of African Americans and coinciding with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. While the event has changed over the years, its recognition is part of bigger efforts to eliminate racism.

In the decades that followed, mayors of cities across the United States began celebrating the week with proclamations, and by the 1960s the week had been extended to celebrate an entire Black History Month. President Gerald Ford formally recognized the celebration in 1976, encouraging Americans to recognize the contributions and accomplishments of Black Americans.

Each year since 1976, the president has designated the month of February as Black History Month and announced the endorsement of a specific theme. In 2019, Black History Month has a special focus on “Black Migrations,” a theme that tracks the movements of black Americans from the South to the industrial regions of the North and beyond.

From the early 20th century, black businessmen and entrepreneurs began making an important impact on the business world. Musicians introduced entirely new genres like jazz, blues and ragtime and the Harlem Renaissance showcased the black influence on visual and literary arts.

YWCA St. Joseph celebrates Black History Month, but it also works to eliminate racism throughout the year with programs designed to help women and children overcome adversity. The Shelter for Abused and Homeless Women and Children provides for immediate needs for families that need a fresh start, while also empowering them with services for ongoing empowerment. From court advocacy to individual counseling and life skills training, families are equipped for a brighter future.

Another YWCA St. Joseph program, “Stand Against Racism,” will be observed on April 25.  This is a nationwide annual YWCA-USA event with more than 225 YWCA associations and 600 other organizations in the United States participating.  In September, our YWCA St. Joseph will host their 23rd annual “Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism” breakfast program.  During this program the Kelsy Beshears Racial Justice Award will be given to a community member who exemplifies Ms. Beshears’ work for political, educational, social and economic equality of all persons.  The public is invited to attend both events.

To learn more about the programs of the YWCA St. Joseph and efforts to eliminate racism in the region, contact us today.

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NAACP and YWCA St. Joseph Host Breakfast for The Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism

Breakfast Event to Honor Those Working to Eliminate Racism in Community

The goal to eliminate racism is one of the core missions of YWCA St. Joseph. Every year, the staff and volunteers of YWCA work through programs and plan events that support this goal, but the efforts of community members are showcased each year on the Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism.

This year, the Day of Commitment is on Thursday, September 20, and the community is invited to celebrate with a special breakfast at 7:15 a.m. in the YWCA Terrace Room. The breakfast buffet will be prepared and served by members of the Grace Evangelical Church.

Guests will have the privilege of hearing the mayor of St. Joseph, Bill McMurray, share his proclamation and his thoughts on the importance of community engagement in the effort to eliminate racism. His remarks will be followed by performances by The Praise Team and Trash Can Band from MidCity Excellence.

Each year, the community honors individuals or groups that have demonstrated a commitment to eliminate racism in the St. Joseph area. Honorees receive the Kelsy Beshears Racial Justice Award, created to honor the famous civil rights activist who worked tirelessly from 1946 until she passed away in 1999.

The recipients of the Kelsy Beshears Racial Justice Award for 2018 are Kimberly Warren, MS Ed and Pastor Robert Warren, MS Ed, who established the MidCity Excellence Community Learning Center in 2001. The nonprofit reaches out to disenfranchised families and provides them with access to enrichment education, creative and performing arts and counseling. They also engage the families with conversations surrounding racial reconciliation solutions.

Jessie Parker, a junior criminal justice major at Missouri Western State University and a single mother with two young sons, will receive the Kelsy Beshears Scholarship, a $1,000 award.

Reservations for the event must be received by Wednesday, September 12. While there is no charge for the breakfast, a free will offering ($15 suggested donation) will be collected to contribute to the Beshears Scholarship fund at MWSU. Reservations can be made by contacting Shelbi Dawson at 232-4481 or

To learn more about the Day of Commitment breakfast event, or to learn more about the ways we’re working to eliminate racism in the St. Joseph community, contact us at YWCA St. Joseph.

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Working to Eliminate Racism in our Community

YWCA-Transparent-LogoWhat You Can Do to Help Eliminate Racism

At the YWCA you will find people who are committed to the belief that we can and should make every effort to eliminate racism in the land of the free.

You may be just one person, but there is much you can do to be part of this effort. After all, a city, state or country is made up of individuals and each person has a sphere of influence. Here are some ways that you can aid in the work to eliminate racism right where you live.

Build Some Bridges
It’s easy to hold misperceptions about people you don’t know. The best way to tear apart prejudice is to build bridges with people who are different from those in your own circle. Not only does this destroy misperceptions – it also makes life so much more interesting. Make an effort to meet and get to know people from other backgrounds, countries or cultures. Join a group that doesn’t look exactly like you and work on something together.

Try exploring a new language. Cook ethnic food or visit ethnic restaurants. You may not ever develop a taste for Korean kimchi, but once you learn that it was a method of preserving vegetables for long, harsh winters – you can appreciate its cultural value. You’ll be surprised how many people around you assume that everyone in South America eats Mexican food. A little bit of learning can make a big difference in how you think and speak about people from other cultures.

Avoid Stereotypes
No people group is monolithic. Afford others the courtesy of individualism. A person, Martin Luther King Jr. once said, should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. Your gentle objection to stereotypes can help to create heightened awareness.

You can also watch for events like Stand Against Racism, held in April every year at the St. Joseph YWCA and across the country. Decide to set time aside in your calendar to help create awareness and action toward this incredibly important mission.
Even though you’re just one person, you touch many lives. How can you help eliminate racism? By changing how you interact with those in your sphere. By including those from diverse backgrounds in your life. By working with groups like the YWCA who take definite steps toward combating racism. Don’t just speak out against racism, but go a step further to do your part in the work to eliminate racism.

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