Social Justice and Eliminating Racism
At YWCA Columbus, we understand that a number of systems work together to create oppression and harm against marginalized communities. We see our core work as strengthening systems of support for the most vulnerable among us. To this end, we pursue a number of social justice-related issues, and are active on honesty in education, eradicating police violence, and fighting for LGBTQ+ rights.
Honesty in Ohio’s education is a priority for us. Education is a bridge to close the gaps caused by racism and other systems of oppression. For example, well-implemented social-emotional learning programs positively affect students’ success in school. Studies show that social-emotional skills—such as problem-solving, self-regulation, impulse control, and empathy—help improve academics, reduce behaviors like bullying, and create positive classroom climates. Legislating against honesty discourages honest conversations around eliminating racism, which is at the core of our mission.
YWCA Columbus is committed to eradicating police violence from our community. Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by issues that place them in more frequent interaction with the police, such as the school-to-prison pipeline, segregation into communities that lack sufficient resources to meet basic needs, and well-documented implicit biases operating within the criminal legal system. Black Americans, who account for less than 13% of the U.S. population, are killed at more than twice the rate of white Americans. In Columbus, the police department receives about 22,000 nonviolent calls a year that do not need a police officer to respond. We advocate for a health-centered approach to a non-police crisis response. Ending the ongoing threat of police violence will bring justice to marginalized people in Columbus.
YWCA Columbus affirms all sexual orientations and gender identities, and condemns attacks on LGBTQ+ rights in Ohio. Unfortunately, due to historic discrimination, one in five LGBTQ+ adults in the United States (22%) live in poverty, compared to an estimated 16% of their straight and cisgender counterparts. The leading cause of death for LGBTQ+ youth is death by suicide, with 45% seriously contemplating suicide in 2022, and 14% of LGBTQ+ youth attempting suicide in 2022. Among LGBTQ+ youth, these statistics increase by demographic, with 21% of Indigenous LGBTQ+ youth having attempted suicide in the last year, followed by 20% of Middle Eastern/Northern African youth, 19% of Black youth, 17% of multiracial youth, 16% of Latinx youth, and 12% of Asian American and Pacific Islander youth. With gender-affirming care, family, and social support, the risk of suicide is reported as less than half the rate of those without those aspects . Gender-affirming medical care and social acceptance are lifesaving.
Other issues that we monitor: increasing civic engagement, increasing access to broadband in urban and rural areas, and increasing health equity.
2023-2024 Advocacy Agenda
Social Justice/Eliminating Racism
• Honesty in Ohio’s K-12 curriculum
• Equitable public safety
• Justice and equity for LGBTQ+ community
• Ensuring living wage for all
• Protecting reproductive healthcare
• Improving access to shelter programming, renting, and homeownership
• Children are kindergarten-ready
• Access to high-quality before-and-after school programs
• Family representation in policies