YWCAs’ PA Racial Healing Initiative Seeks to Unite, Heal

POTTSTOWN PA – The borough-based Tri-County Area YWCA is joining three others YWCA organizations – in greater Pittsburgh, York County, and Lancaster – to launch what it calls a collaborative “statewide racial healing initiative.” Their campaign, called “Unite to Heal PA,” is scheduled to launch today (Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022), a media release announced.

The group “is calling on individuals and institutions to recognize racism as a public health crisis in a first step toward healing,” it said. It’s planning to hold conversations in coming months that involve the public across the state to “see the patterns of racism, what it means in terms of access, and how it has played out in our communities.”

The associations define racial healing as the acknowledgment of past wrongs and recognition of the lasting effects of racial trauma on individuals, institutions, and communities of color, they said.

Their goal is to “inspire people to work together toward healing, (and) define what solutions will work in their own communities.” By actively partnering with organizations and residents throughout the state, the collaborative stated, it hopes “to begin to mitigate the lasting effects of racism and racial trauma in marginalized and under-served communities.”

“When we start to recognize the role racism has on our public health, we can see the impact on the individual, therefore we can place the responsibility on the individual but we as society must come together to address this issue, Angela Reynolds, CEO of YWCA Greater Pittsburgh, said.

“Critical disparities exist in housing, health, education, and the criminal justice system, creating barriers that impact Black families and their ability to equitably access resources, build wealth and social mobility,” Stacey Woodland, CEO of YWCA Tri-County Area, added during a recent Community Now panel discussion hosted by YWCA Lancaster.

The work, the group observed, “will require truth-telling, the acknowledgment of one another’s humanity, and a renewed call for people to work together to transform systems through collective action leading them closer to healing and progress.”

For more information about the initiative, or learn how to give time, talent, or financial support, send an e-mail to PARHI@ywcatricountyarea.org.

Photo provided by the Racial Healing Initiative