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2024 Black Artist Waystation Announcement!

Black Artist Waystation 2024: Elevating Creative Careers in Lancaster

YWCA Lancaster is proud to announce its 2024 Black Artist Waystation awardees, joining a community-run collective of artists celebrating and uplifting the Black experience. The Black Artist Waystation is a groundbreaking initiative designed to propel artists in Lancaster to new heights in their professional and artistic endeavors. This platform empowers artists to demonstrate their vision for the next stage of their careers while using their art to make an impact on the Lancaster community. This year’s Black Artist Waystation was the most competitive process yet! Awardees exemplify the program’s mission, exhibit a wealth of talent, and are ready to take the next step in their artistic journey.

A Multifaceted Approach

The Black Artist Waystation welcomes artists from diverse mediums, including but not limited to painting, sculpture, design, literature, music, theater, and multidisciplinary arts. The theme of this year’s program is “Revolutionary Aesthetics.” Artists will create works that express their current aesthetic alongside the current climate in America. Participants in the program join a community of fellow artists in Lancaster, receive a $2,500 grant, and gain access to a network of valuable opportunities.

Mentorship and Community Engagement

Participants receive mentorship from seasoned artists and have the opportunity to showcase their work to the community. Black artists, who have historically been pivotal figures in liberation movements and cultural historians in their communities, play a central role in this initiative.


Meet the Artists

Evita Colon


Evita Colon, known by her stage name PoeticSoulQueen, is a multi-hyphenate creative entrepreneur who alchemizes the many titles of poet, lyricist, playwright, creative director, cultural savant and consultant, and Lancaster City’s first Poet Laureate into soulfully captivating experiences. She is also the creative alchemist behind Speak to My Soul LLC, BLK Voices Magazine, and A Concrete Rose. Her soulful and raw spoken word have led her to credits with musical legends such as Common and DJ Jazzy Jeff and opening acts for Marsha Ambrosius and Eric Benet. She has expanded her impactful reach onto international platforms as a member of The Floacist’s International FLO Poets collective based in London and The Recording Academy. Evita pays her creative knowledge and experience forward through the Soul Tribe, a BIPOC centered artist collective which focuses on developing and building community with artists while providing them with advocacy and resources in their creative careers. Her entrepreneurial prowess has led to brand collaborations with Sprite Inc., Express Inc., and appearances in Black Girls Rock! digital, Times Square and the New York Times. Evita has received numerous accolades, including the NAACP Presidential Social Justice Award, Optimist Club Humanitarian Award, JP McCaskey Distinguished Alumni Award and YWCA Women of Achievement Award, and continues to use her creativity as a catalyst for change.

Ode to Hip-Hop

As a native of Lancaster City, my art is the imperative inclusion of the past, present and future voices of Lancaster.  I am a reflection of the parts of Lancaster that are not often amplified when promoting the beauty of the city.  For youth to see me, learn about my origins and see where I am now, they can also see themselves from a liberated and empowered place. My art is representation for many people who may feel alone or are seeking to harness the power of their own voice. I want my work to inspire others to tell their story with confidence. It is revolutionary as it seeks to empower others to liberate themselves and others through the power of their own stories.


RJ Scott

I stumbled upon Lancaster while attending school here at the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design. Falling in love with the creativity and uniqueness of the city, I’ve begun to explore it more and more. I aim to create work that encompasses the black experience in America. Combining elements of photography, traditional art, and digital art to achieve that goal.

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When I found out about the Black Artist Waystation, I was somewhat skeptical. As I’ve begun to navigate the art world, I find it rare to see people that look like me in the room. It was so refreshing to become part of something so important and groundbreaking. As an artist, I long to make an impact with my work. Being able to create something for a creative and welcoming community is something that I don’t take lightly. Programs like this help us to become a part of that community.


Blake Showers

Blake Showers is an Illustrator and creative director from Birmingham, AL, who focuses on character design and world-building. He works digitally and traditionally and uses acrylics, inks, pencil, and spray paint for works. The main subjects in his art have elements of manga, hip-hop, graffiti, sci-fi, and horror. His art depicts the Black experience and his upbringing in the South. He has recently been getting into beat production which has helped to express his feelings even further along with visual art.

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I would like my work to art to make an impact in Lancaster because there are so many voices and cultures here that should be heard. I hope that my work inspires others to use their callings to make their stories heard as well. I was very shy during the beginning of my art career and being able to tell my experiences and make things that I enjoy helped me break out of my comfort zone and be able to be my fullest self.


Brandon Webb

As a multidisciplinary artist, I’ve always found inspiration in the intersection of visual and auditory mediums. With a background in photography, filmmaking, music, and graphic design, my creative journey has been defined by a relentless pursuit of storytelling through diverse artistic expressions. From capturing the raw emotion of a moment with my camera to composing melodic narratives that resonate with the soul, each facet of my work is imbued with a profound sense of purpose and passion. Through my art, I strive to bridge the gap between reality and imagination, inviting viewers to explore the depths of human experience and connect with the world in meaningful ways.

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Lancaster holds a special place in my heart, not just as a geographical location, but as a vibrant community teeming with untold stories waiting to be discovered. My desire to make an impact on Lancaster through my art stems from a deep-seated belief in the transformative power of creativity. By weaving together the fabric of visual and auditory elements, I aim to shine a spotlight on the beauty, complexity, and diversity of life in Lancaster. Whether through captivating photographs that capture the essence of the city, thought-provoking films that challenge the status quo, soul-stirring music that evokes emotion, or innovative graphic designs that spark conversation, my goal is to foster a sense of unity, empathy, and understanding within the Lancaster community and beyond.


Join Us This Summer

Meet and Greet

We invite you to support these talented artists by attending our Meet and Greet event this summer. This will be an opportunity to connect with the artists, learn about their creative processes, and explore some of their work firsthand.

Final Showcase

Another way to support our artists is to attend our final showcase where the artists will present their completed projects to the community. This will be a celebration of creativity, diversity, and the power of art to inspire change.

Dates will be announced soon, so stay tuned!

We are thrilled to showcase the talents of these artists and the work of past Black Artist Waystation participants throughout Lancaster County. YWCA Lancaster is committed to supporting and inspiring the next generation of Black artists, ensuring that their voices are heard, and their contributions celebrated.

Together, let’s continue to uplift and empower the arts in Lancaster.

Vote for your favorite RAR ’24 logo!

For more than a quarter century, our community has come together to unite against hate and build our shared movement toward eliminating racism and empowering women. As the longest consecutively run and largest race against racism in the nation, YWCA Lancaster’s Race Against Racism, embodies the spirit of solidarity and the fight for racial justice.

For over two decades, the Race Against Racism logo has symbolized our commitment to unity, equality, and the fight against racism. Now, with your help, we’re taking the next step in our journey by selecting a new logo that captures the spirit of our event and reflects our shared values.

To reimagine the Race Against Racism logo for 2024 and beyond, we were pleased to work with Amanda Choong, a student from Pennsylvania College of Art & Design!

The designs:

Option 1: honoring our legacy to shape the future

With this refreshed look, the Race Against Racism’s iconic logo is more streamlined and legible, using more modern typography and spacing to pay homage to the era it was created in while taking us into the future. In addition, the word “AGAINST” is now capitalized and enlarged, to show the urgency of the moment.

Option 2: a statement of intent

Taking the Race logo in a different direction, this variation issues a bold statement of our intent, with a message as fierce as the urgency behind it.

Have your say!

And save the date for April 27 as we race for a reason!


Black Artist Waystation: 2024 Applications Open

Celebrating its third iteration, YWCA Lancaster is thrilled to announce that applications for the 2024 Black Artist Waystation are now open!

Originally launched in 2021, the Black Artist Waystation supports Black artists working at the intersection of art, culture, and social change by promoting artistic expression that amplifies the voices of disadvantaged communities, and harnesses the transformative power of art to foster deep healing and/or empowerment to increase opportunities for Black artists.

Through its previous two cohorts, the Black Artist Waystation has supported local artist such as Gerrie McCritty, Shelby Wormley, Dominique Jordan, and more.

More than just an investment

Beyond the grant dollars available, Black Artist Waystation seeks to connect emerging artists with established practitioners who can help them not just improve their craft, but connect them with outlets and resources that can become a springboard to future success. Referred to as Conductors, Black Artist Waystation participants will receive mentorship from other artists, and present their work to the community.

The Black Artist Waystation is for you if…

You are a creative who has understanding and interest exploring the Black American experience.

You have established an innovative artistic practice of some medium in Lancaster County.

You make art in Lancaster that meaningful to you.

You have an idea for a forward-thinking, demonstrates impactful community engagement, appears achievable, and significantly contributes to Lancaster’s arts identity.

Applications are open and will close on Friday, March 29!

Three Big Questions with: Hannah Short

We’re back with another installment of “3 Questions”, a monthly feature highlighting members of the YWCA Lancaster team!

This month’s 3Q is with Hannah Short, our new Equity Training Coordinator for the Center for Racial and Gender Equity.

1)What motivates you to do racial justice work in Lancaster?

Growing up in Lancaster City wishing I could change the social climate motivated me to do racial justice work. I love having the opportunity to give back to my community and be part of the solution to making it a more welcoming place to live.

2) What’s your CRGE super power?

My CRGE super power would probably be contributing innovative ideas that bring people together!

3) What gives you hope about the future for our community?

I am hopeful that with the future generations having access to knowledge faster and in accessible ways through the media that there is a chance for them to be conscious of the flaws in our community’s history and do their best not to perpetuate those habits of harm. There’s a chance for our community to rebuild the structures and standards passed onto us, so I’d love to see a future with embracement change!

We’re so excited to have Hannah as part of the YWCA Lancaster team, and can’t wait for you to see her in action at an upcoming Racial Equity Institute or YWCA Lancaster event!

Join our next Racial Equity Institute launching next week:

3 Quotes from PHRC’s visit to YWCA Lancaster

On July 17, YWCA Lancaster was thrilled to host the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission and Executive Director Chad Dion Lassiter to learn about PHRC’s mission, their work to prevent civil rights violations and provide support for individuals facing discrimination, as well as hear from community members in Lancaster about the issues that are concerning them. The event featured a presentation from Executive Director Lassiter, followed by a townhall style Q&A where community members could share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns directly with PHRC team members.

As Pennsylvania’s top agency for protecting civil rights, the PHRC is committed not only to making their services more accessible to all, but also to stay responsive and pro-active to emergent community needs, and launched a Statewide PHRC Beloved Community Tour hoping to make stops in all 67 counties in Pennsylvania.

Here are three quotes that resonated with us from the visit:

1. “No hate in our state.”

A simple creed, but one that is more necessary than ever. With nearly 75 active hate groups operating in Pennsylvania, it is vital to unite against hate–whether it is racism, anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry, antisemitism, and more–to build a collective culture of welcome in our state.

PHRC is committed to offering as many onramps as possible to allow community members to report ways that they have been the victim of racism, sexism, homophobia and more in their workplaces, housing searches, and community life. You can view their full PowerPoint with resources on how to contact the PHRC, file a claim, and more below!

2. “We come to every context with a pretext.”

Many of us–whether through lived experience, or through our work in the community–have seen the deep inequities that exist in Lancaster County. In order to tackle these issues at a systemic level, we also need to understand them at a human level. Creating intentional space for conversation and community is a great first step to build collective language around the issues facing each of us. We are all on an individual journey towards being better neighbors, community members, and residents to each other, so understanding and reflecting on our own personal growth areas is an important way to begin the work of understanding the challenges and opportunities before us.

PHRC offers multiple ways to engage, from personalized trainings, to Social Justice Lunch and Learns, to Diversity Speaks Series to build community with other folks throughout the state. They have also launched a Social Justice Ambassadors Program for community members to take a leading roll in their neighborhoods and networks to advocate for PHRC’s services and resources.

3. “We’re being as we continue to become…you are the experts.”

While PHRC works at the state and local levels to protect and prevent discrimination, their work–just like the work of YWCA Lancaster–is guided by the voices, insights, and ideas of the community.

During the Q&A section of the event, community members raised questions about the work being done on the availability of and discrimination in affordable housing, the PA Fairness Act, as well as the work being done to advance the findings of the Lancaster County Equity Profile, published by more than 10 local agencies this year. This input from the community is vital for helping to shape PHRC’s work, and assist them in responding to on-the-ground needs as they arise.

On a mission

The largest takeaway from PHRC’s presentation and tour stop remains that they are open and willing to support community members who are experiencing discrimination, as well as partner with any organization, business, or individual looking to build a more just community in their own backyard.

At YWCA Lancaster, our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women calls us to do the same. We are thankful for the opportunity to host statewide leaders in the movement for justice, and honored to have been in community with so many of you on the night. Check out the resources below to continue your learning, or get involved in our upcoming events!

Download PHRC slides

Includes an overview of PHRC’s work as well as relevant links for filing complaints.

See more

Read the Equity Profile

Check out the first ever county-wide Equity Profile in PA

See more

Equity Profile Workshop and Talkback

Join us August 10 for a workshop and community building around the Equity Profile.

Learn more

Join the Action Team

Join a group of community members working to raise awareness and action on the Equity Profile

Learn more



3 Questions with: Tess Feiler

Welcome to 3 Big Questions, a new series where we uplift the voices and insight of our team!

This month’s 3BQ features Tess Feiler (they/she), our Equity Training Coordinator with our Center for Racial and Gender Equity. Tess is moving on from our team to their next adventure, will continue to partner with CRGE on antibias and antiracism trainings!

While YWCA Lancaster has been doing antiracism work for generations, you were part of the first generation of the Center for Racial and Gender Equity as it now exists, what do you think adding this center did for our mission?

I think that adding the Center provided a walk for our talk. The Center allowed us to put our values and mission around anti-racism into some serious action. I also think it met community needs as antiracism education was certainly a need for the populations within Lancaster who wanted to get to a more equitable place with their companies and organizations, but lacked the understanding of how to get there.

I believe, more importantly, that the Center also provided accountability for us, internally. How can we be practicing what we preach? It created opportunities for us to take a hard look at ourselves, and I hope that accountability continues to occur and that those opportunities continue to be taken advantage of.

What was something that has really challenged you about your time here, and something that gave you hope?

I don’t know if there were specific things that challenged me here, but maybe a better framing for it is how I was inspired to be a better person, colleague, friend, and co-conspirator.

I was inspired to be accountable and own my mistakes not from a place of shame but from perspective of love and liberation. One should strive to be accountable, in general, but I think especially working in the Center, accountability is necessary to personal and collective liberation.

I also gained a lot of perspective as well as an appreciation for nuance. To honor our beloved “felt, found, feel” activity: I used to feel like doing anti-oppression work was very clear-cut and easily laid out if one would simply follow the instructions. Then, I found out that there is no framework for being in real relationship with people, and that no community is a monolith. Now, I feel that it is important to break out of rigidity (and that those frameworks really only exist to provide an easier experience for those in positions of privilege and NOT how to actually love someone who has experienced harm). I learned how to honor space for nuance, love, and raw human feelings that transcend oppressive systems.

When I ponder on “something that gave [me] hope”, I think of how during dark seasons where I was experiencing a lot of loss and confusion and grief, I saw the power in our need as human beings for community. I felt hope in knowing there was support and that during times where I felt alone- personally and professionally- all I had to do was look around and realize I had people who wanted to support me. So, community. And love. That gave me hope.

What has your time here taught you about what is possible for the future of our community?

I think this is the most frustrating thing to me. How we have SO much capacity in the community of Lancaster- even across non-profits alone if we looked at it that way. We all have so much that we could do if we could own any and all harm we’ve caused, share and listen to what one another needs, identify the barriers and find creative solutions, and combine our resources and platforms to solve the problems…not for our own benefit, but for our collective benefit. Meeting so many leaders and community members across the county through my time here, I see how much potential our county has to do the things we want to see happen. We just have to get out of our own way, listen (REALLY listen) to the needs of the most vulnerable, and do the brave thing.


Learn more about our Center for Racial and Gender Equity

Share your ideas and insights state-wide leaders!

Join us on July 17 for a special opportunity to meet and engage with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission Executive Director and team!

The PA Human Relations Commission is our state’s first line of defense for civil rights, and is essential for our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women.

As part of the PHRC’s Beloved Community Tour, YWCA Lancaster will host Executive Director Chad Dion Lassiter for a townhall-style event to learn about the work of the

The PHRC created the Beloved Community framework to assist communities of the commonwealth to intentionally build a culture of peace, understanding and tolerance despite our differences within the context of an increasingly diverse and interconnected world.

Each listening session will include a presentation on the Beloved Community framework and an overview of the services and programs offered by the PHRC. Lassiter will then open it up for questions from the community!

We hope you will join us on July 17 and have your voice heard about the issues facing Lancaster County!

YWCA Lancaster hosts diversity dialogue dinner

On April 6, YWCA Lancaster had the privilege of partnering with the UPMC Pinnacle Foundation on an evening of conversation and community building through their Diversity Dialogue Dinner series. The series, made  up of a slate of events with regional YWCA’s, featured a catered meal with facilitated conversation at each table centering on issues of race, representation, and how to better advocate in our own networks to create a more welcoming and equitable Lancaster County.

The Diversity Dinner Dialog aimed to create a safe and brave space to engage in meaningful conversations on the sensitive issues of race, bias, identity and belonging. diversity, equity and inclusion. The conversation followed general question prompts and allowed participants to learn about others’ experiences and share thoughts, feelings, and ideas while maintaining respectful, solution-oriented facilitated dialogue.

Discussion questions focused on a range of topics designed to create empathy and personal connection as we all grapple with how to best fight against bias, oppression, and white supremacy. Groups discussed questions such as:

What does your circle of influence look like?

Have you explored your racial identity or family history?

What are the positive qualities or characteristics of your community? How can you leverage those attributes to strengthen your community?

What does your community need and what can you do individually and together to address those needs?

The need for more ways to connect was a recurring theme in the evening’s conversations. YWCA Lancaster is committed to providing more ways than ever  before for community members to get involved, take action, and be part of the movement to eliminate racism and empower women.

Thank you to the UPMC Pinnacle Foundation for partnering with us on an engaging and inspiring night of connection with our community!

Want to be part of what’s next?

A new partnership for racial healing in Lancaster

A new partnership for racial healing 

YWCA Lancaster’s Center for Racial and Gender Equity partnered this month with Franklin & Marshall College’s new Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation center to train college house advisers on how to facilitate racial healing circles.

It was an incredible experience to facilitate alongside the folks at the core of the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Center: Dr. Gretchel Hathaway, F&M’s vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion and YWCA Lancaster board member; Courtnee Jordan-Cox, assistant dean of student affairs and Roschel College House dean; Jorge Mena-Ali, visiting assistant professor of biology, director of faculty diversity initiatives, and Roschel College House don; and Christian Perry, director of diversity, equity and inclusion.

What is a racial healing?

We have been using resources from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, which defines racial healing as “a process that restores individuals and communities to wholeness, repairs the damage caused by racism and transforms societal structures into ones that affirm the inherent value of all people.”

Why is it important?

Racial healing does a few important things. It helps affirm the inherent value of all people, cultivates a culture of belonging, deepens our understanding of one another’s differences; and supports relationship building, trust, authenticity, constructive dialogue, and repairs the damage caused by systemic racism. It builds community.

How can I host a racial healing circle?

If you have a group of folks ready to have a racial healing conversation and you would like to have trained individuals come to facilitate that conversation, you can contact tfeiler@ywcalancaster.org.

Other ways to get involved:


Taking action on the Equity Profile

What part of the Equity Profile of Lancaster County speaks to you? What do you want to see change in Lancaster County to make sure we have a just future for us, our children, and future generations?

There is no one right answer, but YWCA Lancaster is committed to supporting our community as we work together towards solutions.

Whether you’ve seen the report in our communications, from partner organizations, or on the front page and editorial section of LNP, there is no shortage of energy, curiosity, and enthusiasm about helping our community meet the inequities highlighted in the Profile.

The Profile is not the end of the work: it’s a foundation to help us build a just future together. And because of that, what we do now is up to all of us.


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On February 16, 2023, we met with other community members who want to get started on taking action about the Profile. Together, we discussed the big takeaways from the report, amplify work already being done in these areas, and began to plan the next steps we can take as a community.

We plan to continue to hold space for anyone in the community who would like to join this meet-up happening every third Thursday at YWCA Lancaster from 6-7:30. We will be doing a mix of discussion, as well as meeting with local leaders who are working on different indicators highlighted in the profile to connect community members with people in the grassroots movement(s) to create change in Lancaster County.

All are welcome! We hope you will join and be in community with us.

Want to get involved?