On January 24, the YWCA of Nashville and middle Tennessee and CABLE co-hosted a Conversation on Race, Diversity, and Inclusion in Nashville with distinguished panel of professional women:
Kasar Abdulla, Community Activist
Mendy Mazzo, Vice President Business Development, SKANSKA
Gini Pupo-Walker, Director of Family and Community Partnerships, Metro Nashville Public Schools
Phyllis Qualls-Brooks, Executive Director, Tennessee Economic Council on Women
Beverly Watts, Executive Director, Tennessee Human Rights Commission, moderated the session and invited panelists to respond to questions in the context of their profession, civic involvement and personal experiences.
Panel members shared inspiring stories representing their rich cultural heritages and addressed the challenges they have experienced and the successes they have witnessed as they have lived, worked and played in Nashville.
It was a lively Conversation with much laughter and pause as we considered that there is still much work to be done.
The event, held at the YWCA, was well attended and represented a wide range of organizations across the greater Nashville area, including Nissan, Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, UPS, Vanderbilt University, UBS, Deloitte, Adventure Science Museum, Nashville Post, Tennessee Board of Regents, Scarritt-Bennett Center, Operation Stand Down, Harpeth Hall School, Gaylord Hotels and others.
The YWCA is committed to continuing the Conversation about ways to make our community more inviting and inclusive to all.
YWCA hosted a lecture on The Role of Freedom Schools in the Civil Rights Movement
L to R: Dr Jon Hale (College of Charleston), Pat Shea (YWCA CEO) and Stan Thanqaraj (Vanderbilt University). Men and women from across Middle Tennessee gathered last night at the YWCA to hear Dr. Jon Hale, assistant professor of education, College of Charleston, present a lecture on Freedom Schools, a central component of the freedom struggle during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s.
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YWCA Workshops: “Tools for Anti-Racism Work”
The YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee offered three workshops last year that explored differemt tools for anti-racism work.
The changing social climate nationally in a more general sense and the changes in Nashville in particular, it is timely and important to have discussions on race. These discussions will be structured in a way in which participants have honest conversations about race and gain a toolkit to go forth with anti-racist, social justice work.
Race has taken many shapes in US history with the same aim of exclusion, inequality, and oppression. The classes will start with a 15 minute introduction to various aspects of race in US History. These elements of US History will allow participants to better understand how race in the contemporary period is always in discussion with yesteryear. Therefore, they will be able to engage History as one of the main means to understanding race. This historical approach will also give them the language to engage race and racial inequality in their everyday lives. Without knowing history, a move towards social justice and anti-racism is ill-informed.
Sessions will be experiential in nature and structured to move away from making race and racism into individual acts but rather show participants how to understand institutional racism. This enhances an understanding of race and facilitates honest discussions of how everyone is implicated in racial processes. The sessions will go into depth to examine how each participant can take their understandings of race and History as a tool kit, to better equip them to respond to racism when they experience or witness it.
Dr. Stan Thangaraj
Post-Doctoral Fellow in Sociology at Vanderbilt University
Researches race, gender, and sexuality in immigrant communities in the US South.
Director of Advocacy & Education
Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition
Girls Inc. Spring Break Camp 2011 Includes Racial Justice Project
Twenty-four girls participated in the second annual Girls Inc. Spring Break Camp at Hartman Park Community Center from 8:30 - 4:30. The theme this year was "Laugh More, Stress Less". Girls from Jere Baxter Middle, West End Middle, and Brick Church Middle were engaged in a number of healthy, stress relieving activities throughout the week. The week ended with a luncheon at Maggiano's, where the girls participated in a Racial Justice project with Totally Outstanding Teens Advocates for the Library (T.O.T.A.L.).
Girls Inc. is a YWCA program offered in five Metro Nashville Public Schools, inspiring middle school girls to be strong, smart and bold.
|Community Nashville Partners
||Teka shares her cultural autobiography with the group
Student Essay Program
The YWCA’s First Annual Student Essay Program, a Racial Justice Initiative, provided an opportunity for girls in 5th- 7th grades (participants of YWCA Girls Inc) to understand and respect diversity through education and open dialogue. The program aims to increase young girls’ knowledge and understanding about current events in their community, and provides them with the experience, confidence, and courage to let their voices be heard.
The YWCA Racial Justice Committee invited Girls Inc participants at three Metro middle schools, Ewing Park Middle School, West End Middle School, and Jere Baxter Middle School, to enter an essay contest about the “English Only Charter Amendment” prior to the Nashville Metro Special Election on January 22, 2009. The students reviewed the proposed Charter Amendment and participated in a facilitated dialogue about the election process, issues concerning race and racism, and immigrant rights. Participants wrote a one-page essay explaining the proposed amendment, as well as their personal perception of the English Only Amendment. The essays revealed that students emerged with a better insight into their community and greater appreciation of differences.
A panel of judges from the YWCA’s Racial Justice Committee ranked the essays and awarded prizes to:
Ewing Park Middle School, 6th grade
1st Prize: Ipod Shuffle
Ewing Park Middle School,
2nd Prize: 2 tickets to the Adventure Science Center including 2 tickets to the Planetarium
West End Middle School, 6th grade
3rd Prize: 2 tickets to the Movie Cinema
Remember as You Pass Me By
In 2008, the Racial Justice Committee of the Board, hosted a half day event for women and preteen girls, centered on Remember as You Pass Me By, a historic novel by L. King Perez. It is a book about friendship across racial lines in Texas during the trying summer of 1954. It is written for young readers and it offers insights into America’s ongoing internal struggle of social change.