Social Justice

As the oldest and largest multi-racial women’s organization in the world, YWCA has been at the forefront of advocating and working for justice, equity and peace through the elimination of racism and empowerment of women.

Formed five years before the Civil War, YWCA USA has been engaged in every phase of the Civil Rights Movement, staunchly promoting anti-lynching efforts, racial integration, voting rights, and more recently, comprehensive immigration reform, affirmative action, opposition to hate crimes and racial profiling, and ensuring easy access to the polls. While much of our society has been transformed over time, there is still much work yet to do.

Today, in an effort to heal the wounds of racism, foster a healthy dialogue about race in Lancaster County and work toward a just and equitable nation, YWCA Lancaster offers a variety of opportunities for justice-seeking individuals and organizations. These include multi-day trainings, workshops, study circles and film forums.

1,509 students & community members

participated in anti-racism programs


Video Copyright: African American Policy Forum


The journey towards a just and equitable society begins with an introspective look at ourselves — and that begins with creating an essential foundation of understanding. Visit our Issue Education page to read term definitions and to educate yourself on some of the important issues of our time.


Customizable Training Workshops

  • Anti-Racism/Anti-Sexism
  • Social Justice
  • Deep Diversity & Inclusion
  • Discrimination/Harassment
  • Additional Customized Trainings as requested

Available in any length over one hour, these customizable workshops centered around Justice, Peace and Anti-Racism are available for schools, businesses, houses of worship, and community organizations.

3-Day Anti-Racism Analysis

A 2.5-day intensive workshop that arms participants with a foundational analysis of the systemic and institutional power of racism. Participants come away with a common language and understanding for communicating with others about racism and its manifestations. Participants will also develop working tools to identify and begin to dismantle racism within their respective institutions and organizations.

Racial Justice Institute – Part II:  July 18 – 20, 2018.

Racial Justice Institute – Part I:  December 5 – 7, 2018

Study Circles

Comprised of a small group of people from different backgrounds and viewpoints, Study Circles meet in two-hour sessions over the course of six weeks. Trained facilitators guide the conversation as racism and other associated terms are defined, our identities are explored, and an analysis of the power of oppression is completed. Study Circle sessions end with participants identifying changes they can make in their own lives as well as within their organizations to eliminate racism.

Consultation & Ongoing Support

Working for justice is complex and challenging. We offer consultation and ongoing support to begin or deepen your organizational journey towards an oppression-free environment. This can be done separately or in conjunction with other trainings and workshops YWCA Lancaster offers.

Annual 5K Race Against Racism

YWCA Lancaster’s Race Against Racism is the longest consecutive-running Race Against Racism in the United States. This annual run/walk is a staple of our community and a family-friendly way to take a stand against racism. We’re at a crucial point as a nation, and we believe that fighting racism starts with recognizing our country’s long history with it, and its impact on our systems, structures and institutions. If we want a just, peaceful society, it is our mutual responsibility to address racism. The Race Against Racism funds YWCA Lancaster’s Social Justice and Advocacy programs, and supports those who seek peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. Learn more about this year’s race.