As the global community contends with the new reality and suffering that COVID-19 presents, we at YWCA Madison are reflecting on what it means to practice our values of Humanity, Community, Growth, and Restoration during this time of upheaval. The societal response to Coronavirus and its fallout has brought many of the truths of the longstanding unjust nature of our reality in the U.S. into sharp focus.
We have seen this moment reveal or amplify existing forms of discrimination and violence:
- Verbal and physical assaults on the Asian American community both locally, and at the national level.
- Extremely disparate and alarming rates at which African Americans have contracted and died from Coronavirus.
- High and disparate vulnerability for those at the intersection of race and poverty, and the fact that the ability to socially distance is a privilege. Read more on social distancing as a privilege here and additionally here.
- Native Americans are being hit harder by the coronavirus than the overall population due to historical injustice (video of a panel of leaders) and systematic issues stemming from the federal bureaucratic shortcomings.
- Newest manifestation of the unjust nature of our system of mass incarceration is one in which detention can mean a death sentence–a sentence disparately impacting Black and Brown people.
- Our neighbors without documents are left entirely out of the public conversation about Coronavirus relief, despite the fact that they have been among the first and hardest hit by Coronavirus impact, pay billions in taxes, and are on the front lines of essential workforces.
- Manipulation of the health crisis to further engage in voter suppression (an ongoing issue in WI) and cause people to risk their lives in order to engage in their civil right to vote.
- Anti-Blackness manifesting on the global level in the profiling, harassment, and mistreatment of African people living in China.
This list is not exhaustive. We have seen–and will likely continue to see–unjust truths across every single institution as the continuing fallout of COVID-19 unfolds.
We would like to invite you to see this clarity is an opportunity to engage with this truth–and as we do so, to transform it.
The Othering & Belonging Institute offers us a helpful framework for seeing the moment we are in as the choice point that it is. In this video (2 min), Dr. john a. powell (Dr. powell will be a keynote speaker at YWCA Madison’s Racial Justice Summit in September.) unpacks some of the forces that are shaping our reality, our human tendencies in response to change, and the opportunity that we have to use this time of upheaval to build bridges, rather than continue to further break apart. For centuries, white supremacist and patriarchal ideologies and systems have been asking us to abandon our shared humanity, to engage in the kind of othering that breaks us apart. But there is another way to be. We can become a community that is built on belonging; a community that honors our interconnected nature, and that builds bridges every chance we have.
Starting next week Monday, we at YWCA Madison will be inviting you to join us in an exploration of the opportunities we have to Bridge. As we #StandAgainstRacism with our YWCA colleagues across the Nation, we hope to offer reflection and guidance on how we may work to build bridges in our structures, in public policies that center belonging, in the possibilities to engage and practice differently with one another within our institutions and organizations, in the ways that we relate and show up for one another, and in the ways that we learn and grow as people.
Please join us as we #StandAgainstRacism in the time of COVID-19.
SAVE THE DATE: Thursday, April 30th at 2pm, please join YWCA Madison for a live conversation on our Facebook page for the launch of our NEW MONTHLY SERIES YW Talk: Conversations Changing the Narrative.
Our first YW Talk guest will be Marcus Allen, Pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Join for a conversation in which we will dive deeper into our values of Growth and Restoration.
With Humanity, Community, Growth, and Restoration,