Racism is a deeply rooted disease that still lingers in our society. As part of our mission to eliminate racism, we have identified ways to work toward healing discriminating mindsets in our region and in the next generation. We implement an anti-bias curriculum in our Children’s Center and Tech Gyrls afterschool program to help the youth we serve celebrate their own uniqueness and develop into individuals who are loving, kind, and accepting of the differences in others.
The first annual Bristol MLK Jr Day event was held in 2018 as a partnership between the YWCA NETN and SWVA and the Bristol Train Station. In 2019, the Appalachian Peace Education Center became a partner with the Bristol event. The MLK Jr Day celebration is an opportunity to deepen our community experience by remembering the person behind the holiday and to acknowledge all that he stood for and encouraged in others. The event begins with a community march in Tennessee (YMCA) and Virginia (First Christian Church) and participants convene at the Bristol sign before entering the Train Station for a program.
Click on links below to access video clips from 2018 and 2019 celebrations:
2018 Legacy Interview – Jewel Bell
2018 Legacy Interview - Dr. W. A. Johnson
2018 Legacy Interview – Wilhelmina Banks
“Racism, Sexism, Classism Day” at YWCA NETN and SWVA
In celebration of the annual international YWCA Week Without Violence campaign in October, the YWCA sponsors the Bristol Youth Leadership “Racism, Sexism, Classism Day” with sessions on racism, sexism and classism provided by ETSU Equity and Diversity Education Program covering the notion of privilege and disadvantage, King University Social Work Department, on Unconditional Positive, an Inclusion and Diversity Consultant on Implicit Bias and the YWCA facilitates an experiential activity around the issue of classism and dialogue about social justice and the importance of open-mindedness. The goal of the day is to catalyze a desire for change in the students and inspire them to commit to eliminating racism, sexism and classism in their communities.
Lead facilitators and trained student facilitators provide educational and thought provoking activities along with the YWCA for the full day. The YWCA will host the program at the Bristol Train Station on Thursday, October 21st from 9am-2pm during the annual YWCA Week Without Violence Campaign. This program will be included in all press releases for local, regional and national promotions. The YWCA sponsors the location, presenters and food for the classism lunch activity.
We are growing our Regional Racial Justice Resource Database to be a one-stop shop where community members can find information about any and all organizations, calendar of events, membership groups, and resources that help promote racial justice in our region. We are donating diverse multi-cultural children’s literature to child care centers within our service area. These books are appropriate for toddlers up to pre-school age children.
The literature chosen features strong positive images of women, diverse characters and explores multiple cultures throughout the world. Diversity in books is a great way to teach our children acceptance and to create positive self-image, better social-emotional functioning, and increased classroom engagement. It is also a great way to encourage important conversations in the classroom.