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Racial Justice and Civil Rights


A history of racial justice leadership


1946 The YWCA established an interracial charter, and during the racial unrest of the 1950s, the Cincinnati YWCA cafeteria was the first and only place African Americans and whites could eat and meet together.

1975 The YWCA initiated the city-wide commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and led the way in establishing the day as a state holiday.

1996 The YWCA Board of Directors established a Racial Justice committee to support the establishment of programs to break down racial and cultural isolation, to raise awareness and to promote racial justice in the community.

2001 The annual Racial Justice Breakfast was established to provide a forum for keynote speakers who have had a national impact on landmark civil rights cases.

2007 The Rising Star Leadership Program was established for women ages 25-40 to enhance the development of their leadership skills with a strong focus on racial and gender equity.

2015 Toward Equity was piloted as an innovative training program that raises the bar on eliminating racism in Cincinnati.

2016 The YWCA held the first of what was to become our annual Stand Against Racism Campaign.

2017 The YWCA partnered with the University of Cincinnati’s office of Equity & Inclusion to host the first of many racial justice film screenings and panel discussions.

2018 YWCA Greater Cincinnati was one of 19 partnering organizations to launch the Cincinnati Regional Coalition Against Hate during the annual YWCA Stand Against Racism event. 

2019 In keeping with our mission to eliminate racism, YWCA Greater Cincinnati began a partnership with schools to implement Restorative Practices in an effort to end school discipline disparities for students of color.  Restorative Practices allows voices to be heard and conflicts to be resolved in a respectful and supportive manner.  Helping students build a sense of community in the classroom by learning about one another and focusing on their similarities rather than their racial differences can reduce the likelihood of doing harm.  Check out this brief video for more information.