Thank you for pledging to be United Against Racism in 2023!


What is United Against Racism?

United Against Racism is part of YWCA USA’s signature campaign to raise awareness and take action against institutional racism. 

When you and your organization take part, you are demonstrating your ongoing commitment to eliminating racism. More than that, you are sharing an educational journey with colleagues and allies across the city of Boston, and identifying concrete measures to reduce bias and increase inclusion and equity. 

Join your colleagues or explore on your own YW Boston’s carefully curated curriculum of racial equity content. Use the United Against Racism Toolkit to support self-reflection and conversations. Develop an action plan to promote racial equity. And showcase your commitment to the work with a digital badge upon completion of the curriculum. 

Thank you for uniting against racism with other champions and allies, expanding your knowledge, and transforming our communities…until justice just is.

Who participates in United Against Racism?

Anyone can be United Against Racism with YW Boston. Individuals, friend groups, families, student associations, colleagues, and organizations are all welcome to sign up. Organizations, in particular, can benefit from participation by gaining access to racial equity content that can support organizational learning, encourage employee engagement, and complement existing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) work. 

How do I participate?

The United Against Racism curriculum goes live online on March 31st, 2023. Participants get access to the self-paced materials as well as a toolkit with prompts and worksheets to use on your own or with colleagues. 

If you are participating with a group, identify a point person to decide how your organization can best structure the learning experience. Use the toolkit to guide your planning around participation, scheduling, and roles. 

Upon completion of our 2023 United Against Racism curriculum, participants will receive a digital badge to showcase participation.

United Against Racism spans the month of April and ends in:


A note about perspective

If you are a person of color…

Some of this content may seem simplistic or obvious. Reviewing the history and ideology that underlie your everyday lived experience may provide useful clarity and insight, but you don’t need another lesson on racism and systemic oppression to know it exists.

However, to be United Against Racism, everyone needs a shared understanding— especially those whose privilege has hidden this reality from view. That’s why we start with the fundamentals.

We hope that a shared analysis will help create a space for constructive dialogue with your white colleagues. You’ll be able to carry less of the burden of explaining core facts of your existence, and express your goals and needs with the support of the evidence and theory presented here.

At the same time, we know that reviewing the scale and impact of racism can be painful. Take care of yourself as you embark on this learning journey. We hope you will be uplifted by the bravery and brilliance of the millions of people of color who have endured, reported, and theorized this history. And that this curriculum will help you find understanding, connection, and solidarity with your colleagues.

If you are white…

This curriculum is designed to be widely accessible. Whether this is your first time engaging with the concept of racism at work or you are already deeply involved in DEI efforts, we hope you will find something valuable.

If you received a typical American education, this lens may be unfamiliar. You may find yourself surprised, shocked, or dubious. We hope you reflect on and discuss your reactions, and center curiosity above all.

The wrongs done in the past and the ongoing injustices around us raise profound questions about what it means to be “white.” How can this be a legitimate identity, when it has been so entangled with racism for its entire history? Can a white person today take responsibility for fighting racism, without taking on the shame and blame for centuries of atrocity?

You may experience a range of emotions as you contemplate these challenges. It is common to feel defensive, guilty, sad, angry, and even numb. We hope you will find the courage to be vulnerable with yourself and your colleagues as you discover your role in building a more just world. 

2023 United Against Racism Curriculum

Use the outline below to navigate to specific sections of the curriculum.

  1. What is race, anyway?
  2. Where do I fit in?
  3. Diversity in the workplace
  4. What can I do?
  5. Claim your completion badge

Download Participant Toolkit


Lesson 1

What is race, anyway?

Many people assume that, because race is such a relevant part of daily life in America, it is a biological reality. We presume that people are different along the racial lines we have come to see—White, Black, Hispanic or Latin, Asian, and Native American. Humans have a tendency to prefer people in their own group, the theory goes, and to be suspicious of those who are “different.” This assumption follows that if we can learn to stop seeing color—stop seeing the supposed differences between the races—we could finally be one race, the human race.

Many people are surprised to learn that this story is backwards. There is no inherent biological difference that corresponds to racial categories. There is likely just as much genetic variety [Race Is Real, But It’s Not Genetic | Discover Magazine] between two people we would call “Black” as there would be between a “Black” person and an “Asian” person.

And, in reality, the cause and effect of racism are reversed from the common conception. Humans didn’t develop racial prejudice solely because we mistrusted each other’s apparent differences. Rather, certain societies proposed the idea of “racism” in order to justify a profitable practice that was already going on—the practice of human enslavement. As an intercontinental “slave trade” grew in the 17th century, so did moral opposition. Influential European thinkers [The Science of Race | Facing History and Ourselves] invented the pseudo-scientific concept of “race” to counter any movement to abolish the practice. The descriptions varied, but the populations described as most inferior were always the ones most convenient to exploit: Africans and Indigenous Americans.

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Lesson 2

Where do I fit in?

When you think about your identity, what is most important to you? Your talents and skills? Your values or your faith? Where you are from or your family and relationships? Or do you think of things that are visible on the outside, like your gender expression or your ethnicity or culture? 

Are there important parts of your identity that other people seem to place more importance on than you do—like your age, or your accent, or your hairstyle?

Each of us is a mix of qualities that are internal, and attributes that are outward-facing— personal selves and social identities. 

The way others see us doesn’t necessarily match what we feel is most important about our inner selves. Sometimes, the meanings people attach to what they see are unfair: assumptions, stereotypes, and prejudice develop when groups associate certain social identities with certain characteristics. 

Whether we like it or not, the meanings attached to our social identities shape our lives. One of the most harmful ideologies in society is that social identities exist in a hierarchy. To understand racism, it’s crucial to understand both that this hierarchy is “constructed” (not based in science) and that it has real impact on people’s lived experiences and the social ideologies that have shaped our world. 

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Lesson 3

Diversity in the workplace

Thinking about our private identities and times when we have been treated unfairly can make us feel vulnerable. It’s sometimes jarring to be asked to reflect and share these topics in a professional setting. Is all this discomfort worth it?

Research [Why Diverse Teams Are Smarter] suggests that diverse groups of people working together produce better solutions to problems than homogeneous ones. The challenge is that diverse groups of people also come into conflict. When a society already treats groups unequally, these conflicts tend to repeat the dynamics of the wider world—meaning that the negative impacts of workplace tension fall disproportionately on the members of the marginalized groups. Career pathways and mentorship are typically less accessible for people of color [The Black experience at work in charts | McKinsey] than for White people. That contributes [SHRM | The Cost of Racial Injustice] to loss of trust, reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, and attrition—while their White colleagues remain. So much for diversity.

In order to attain the benefits of a diverse group, the group has to develop a culture that mitigates the oppressive systems we learned about above. This is why the work isn’t just “D” for Diversity, but DEI: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

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Lesson 4

What can I do?

No one person created racism, and no one person can eliminate it. 

Remember this if you find yourself disappointed in the pace of change, or overwhelmed by the scale of injustice. You shouldn’t measure your success as an anti-racist by the state of the world. Assess your progress not by how much work is still left to do, but by what you can do today that you weren’t able to do before.

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Claim your completion badge

Taking action is not a solo endeavor. That’s why we call the campaign United Against Racism.  

When you have identified an area where the organization can improve that overlaps with the areas where you have influence, you have the makings of a productive anti-racist action. Now, you are on a journey toward organizational change. 

We hope the conversations and reflections you have had with this curriculum have revealed insights about yourself and your organization. We hope these have led to some concrete strategies to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.

And most of all, we hope this has connected you to your colleagues. Advocating for change is difficult—especially when you are fighting a system that is biased against you. Allies, accomplices, and co-conspirators are essential.

Here are a few actions you can take right now to mark your completion of this campaign:
  • Inspire others to join the struggle for justice by letting them know about the United Against Racism campaign. Submit the form below and you’ll receive the YW Boston United Against Racism 2023 Completion Badge. You can print and display it, and share it digitally across your networks. 
  • Learn how to continue this journey with YW Boston. 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. Read about our programs here. 
  • Supporting our work to reduce the systemic inequities you have been learning about. Donate to YW Boston here.

Thank you for your commitment to justice.


Share the news on social media!

Help YW Boston engage as many people as possible in racial equity work by sharing your participation on social media and encouraging others to #UnitedAgainstRacism.

  • We are proud to be participating in YW Boston’s 2023 #UnitedAgainstRacism campaign! Learn more and sign up on @ywboston’s website:
  • We must all learn about and strive toward racial equity. Sign up to participate in YW Boston’s 2023 #UnitedAgainstRacism campaign. Participants will receive access to an exclusive, self-paced curriculum of racial equity content and a toolkit to help guide reflection and action. Plus, you’ll get a digital badge for participating! 
  • [Upon completion of curriculum. Post with badge.] We just completed @ywboston’s 2023 #UnitedAgainstRacism campaign. After wrapping up, we are empowered to continue advancing racial equity in Boston and beyond! Learn more about our inclusion efforts: [link to corresponding webpage about your organization’s work] 

If you have any questions about United Against Racism, please reach out to Aaron Halls at

Special thank you to our United Against Racism sponsor PCN Bank:

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