COVID-19 | A message from YW Boston President & CEO Beth Chandler

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On behalf of everyone at YW Boston, we extend our thoughts to our community during the current COVID-19 pandemic. We know this is a particularly difficult time for individuals with pre-existing health conditions, people who are economically vulnerable, and Asian Americans who may be subjected to increased racism and hostility. We consider the health and safety of our community to be our top priority. For this reason, YW Boston staff are working from home and have developed plans to move forward with upcoming programming remotely. 

 

Physical distancing policies established to help flatten the COVID-19 curve have unearthed the disparate impact that this pandemic has on employees within the same organization. Some staff cannot work from home. Others, whose primary responsibilities relate to direct service, face increased safety risks. Many parents, especially women and women of color, are juggling childcare and eldercare responsibilities while still putting in a full day’s work. On the other hand, increased tension and rushed decision-making can lead to increased microaggressions, even online. 

 

During this time, YW Boston is working to provide organizations with digital workshops and resources to help them better understand the challenges faced by their employees. As part of that work, we are helping organizations become socially connected while staying physically distant. Our Diversity & Inclusion services are being facilitated online and we are responding to an increasing need for resources on adult learning and inclusive leadership while working remotely.

 

We anticipate that new challenges will arise in the future and that this situation will heighten existing inequities in our communities. While all of us are experiencing uncertainty during this difficult time, it is as important as ever for us to continue working to eliminate racism in our communities. Studies show that ecological threats exacerbate people’s prejudice against perceived outsiders and economic downturns increase prejudice against people of color. When a majority of our population gives into this ‘scarcity mindset’, those with fewer resources are hit the hardest. It’s important to stay vigilant, as times of global uncertainty and fear can trigger automatic responses such as implicit bias. We must ensure that we (as individuals and communities) understand that if we work together, we can create more equitable outcomes.  

 

Racial and gender equity is as important as ever. Help us center diversity, equity, and inclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Operating support is critical to enabling YW Boston’s team to deliver the resources and tools that bring both greater awareness and concrete strategies for addressing the inequities in our community. Gifts can be made online at ywboston.org/donate. Additionally, if you or organizations that you know need support related to internal equity and inclusion, please direct them to our website and let them know we offer services that will help. 

 

In solidarity,

 

 

Beth Chandler

President & CEO, YW Boston

 

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About YW Boston

As the first YWCA in the nation, YW Boston has been at the forefront of advancing equity for over 150 years. Through our DE&I services—InclusionBoston and LeadBoston—as well as our advocacy work and youth programming, we help individuals and organizations change policies, practices, attitudes, and behaviors with a goal of creating more inclusive environments where women, people of color, and especially women of color can succeed.

During this time, YW Boston is providing organizations with digital workshops and resources to help them better understand the challenges faced by their employees. As part of that work, we are helping organizations become socially connected while staying physically distant. For more information, please contact Sheera Bornstein at sbornstein@ywboston.org.