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 brutality, and fighting for LGBTQ+ rights.
Honesty in Ohio’s education is a priority for us. As we build equitable housing and childcare structures, we know we are supported by our teachers and school systems which endeavor to dismantle racism and prioritize the wellbeing of our children. Ohio’s children deserve high quality education regardless of their demographics. Education is a bridge to close the gaps caused by racism and other systems of oppression. Legislating against honesty in education will overburden teachers, turn the stories of marginalized students into “divisive concepts,” and discourage honest conversations which are the core of our mission, to eliminate racism.
Keeping our momentum from the summer of 2020, YWCA Columbus is committed to eradicating police brutality from our community. Racialized violence and lack of trust in the policing institution are well-documented and not surprising: Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by issues that place them in higher interaction with the police, such as the school-to-prison pipeline, segregation into communities that lack sufficient resources to meet basic needs (like housing, food, or employment), and well-documented implicit biases operating within the criminal legal system. In Columbus, Ohio, 80% of the white residents stated that they felt that the police were doing a good job, but only 61% of the Black residents reported the same. In Columbus, the police department receive about 22,000 nonviolent calls a year that do not need a police officer to respond. As such, we focus on advocacy around implementing an antiracist, health-centered approach to a non-police crisis response.
YWCA Columbus affirms all sexual orientations and gender identities. Gay and transgender rights across the nation are under attack, and Ohio is no different. Anti-gay and anti-transgender legislation pose a serious threat to the LGBTQ+ community. The leading cause of death for trans youth is death by suicide, with 52% seriously contemplating suicide in 2020. With gender affirming care, risk of suicidality is lowered. Gender-affirming medical care is life-saving.
Other issues that we monitor: increasing civic engagement, increasing access to broadband in urban and rural areas, and increasing health equity.
2022-2023 Advocacy Agenda
Social Justice/Eliminating Racism
• Honesty in Ohio’s K-12 curriculum
• Equitable public safety
• LGBTQ+ rights + safety
• Reproductive healthcare for all
• Ensuring Living Wage for all
• Reform local eviction policies and practices
• Emergency rental assistance
• Tax incentives for affordable housing development
• Children are Kindergarten-ready
• Access to high-quality afterschool programs
• Family representation in policies