Equity, Extraordinary Give and YWCA Lancaster

Equity is our middle name.  With a mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, we understand the intersections of identities and discrimination and know that equity is our path to enabling everyone in our community to thrive.

Equity is not equality.  Equality of opportunity only works when everyone starts in the same place.  But we know that’s not true.  Poverty, racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, xenophobia and more stand in the way of maximizing any opportunity presented so we need to meet people where they are and provide what they need.  Equity is a solid awareness that everyone needs something different to succeed.  We don’t have just one type of bike.  Toddlers need three wheels and so do some elders.  Some children need two wheels on a bike and others need a wheelchair.  Adults might want a racing bike or a cruiser and others want to walk.  Treating them equally is not enough.

Working as antiracists we believe our greatest impact is when we can impact both systems and hearts.  To change hearts we offer opportunities to learn in community, hear new voices and access new materials (Racial Equity Institute, Dorothy Height Social Justice Club, Antiracist Business and Community, and more…);  to change systems we are working in community with other area leaders on the Lancaster County Racial Equity Profile (March 2022) and steps we can take to create a more equitable community.

We are choosing to work with many area companies on their internal systems that perpetuate inequity using both training and policy as tools to expand equity.  One place we are choosing to work is with ExtraGive, a community wide philanthropic initiative of the Lancaster County Community Foundation (LCCF).  Over 500 area non-profits are involved in the giving day and millions are raised each year.  But does the event, and the giving ensure a future of equity in Lancaster?  No, not yet.  But steps are being taken to change and we are at the table.

We are supporting The Steinman Foundation efforts to recognize agencies pursuing equitable practices within their organizations as LCCF works to cultivate equity across our community. The Pursuit of Equity Prize is an opportunity for ten entities to receive a financial award (randomly chosen) to highlight those making progress.  In other work with LCCF we are supporting the six organizations chosen from across the county who were selected for the Equity and Inclusion Cohort on their path toward equity and we are using support from LCCF to ensure any community member can attend our Racial Equity Institute training at no charge.   We are participating in the ExtraGive and hope you will offer support on that day or any day that you feel our mission and our work reflects your values.

We believe that every step matters.  Everyone has a unique life experience and if we stay open to learning, we can move the community forward.  The choice an individual makes to meet and befriend a neighbor who doesn’t look like them, the choice not to judge a person by their skin tone or dress, the choice to change a policy or structure so that more community members benefit.  Each act matters and we won’t stop until justice, just is.