Anti-Racism: Moving to Systemic Change

Posted By: LaVanda Brown Facing Race Together,

Since the murder of George Floyd, the Charleston community has seen weeks of multi-racial protests, removal of the Calhoun statue from Marion Square and lots of conversations about how we as a community move forward. 

As our mission is, in part, to eliminate racism, the YWCA Greater Charleston, along with our partners Tri-County Cradle to Career Collaborative and E3, have stepped up to help guide the conversation -  virtually of course.

We invited Together SC to join in, knowing other communities across our state must be struggling with the same questions.

We launched with "A Conversation About How White Leaders Can Advance Racial Equity” and had nearly 100 leaders join to explore their roles and responsibilities in dismantling racism. The conversation started with what it means to be “Anti-racist.”  Suzanne Plihcik of the Racial Equity Institute defines it this way:

“To truly be Anti-racist, we, as individuals, organizations and as communities, must commit to fully analyzing and understanding systemic racism, commit to dismantling racism, and commit to not resting until we all ultimately escape from the prison of racism.”

Many organizations have already released declarative statements committing to becoming anti-racist organizations. Thank you. If you have gotten push back, as Suzanne said, that’s how you start the conversation.

There is much more to be done.  More conversations, more training and more actionable steps.  While the recent protests have brought attention (again) to these persistent challenges, the real work begins (again) when tempers have cooled and it’s time to put words into action.

The “Moving to systemic change: another look at the Charleston Disparities Report” by Dr. Patricia Lessane and Daron Lee Calhoun illustrates - in stark detail - why a racial equity lens is crucial to viewing Charleston’s past and present, as well as planning for its future. This event will make room for discussion, reflection and actionable steps.  While the data focuses on Charleston, we invite others to join and consider if such conditions exist in your community.