From across Allegheny County—the Hill District to Sewickley—friends, supporters and partners of the YWCA Greater Pittsburgh came together for the 150-year-old agency’s 10th annual “Stand Against Racism” silent vigil at its offices on Wood Street, Downtown.
It’s a reminder that racism can only continue if good people are silent.
Chaz Kellum, the Y’s Senior Director, Advocacy for Race and Gender Equity, said he was pleased with the turnout and the support shown at this year’s event, the focus of which was Women of Color Leading Change.
“The silent vigil is intended to draw contrast to the anger and violence frequently associated with racism in the news. In fact, racism can often play out in the silence of apathy,” he said.
“By our collective action, we hope to call attention to this issue in a peaceful and respectful way that dramatizes its profound impact on all our lives.”
By alerting people to the paucity of women in nonprofit, government, and multiple sectors of the business community, Pittsburgh YWCA CEO Magdeline Jensen said in a statement that the agency hopes to affect positive change in that direction.
“The YWCA Greater Pittsburgh is committed to changing these numbers through advocacy for public policy and fair workplace practices. Workplaces can invest in formal mentoring across age, race, gender, and other differences to help level the playing field. This is especially important in White male-dominated spaces such as STEM fields,” she said.
“As we take stock of our country, our government, our business sector, and our communities, the lack of visible leadership of women of color is telling. Young women need mentors who mirror the possibilities for them to be confident, productive, and self-sufficient.”