Thousands take a Stand Against Racism in Massachusetts


This April, thousands of people all over Massachusetts joined the Alliance of YWCAs of Massachusetts for our first-ever joint Stand Against Racism campaign. Stand Against Racism is a nationwide YWCA USA movement. Every year, the STAND campaign brings people together to raise awareness and empower action toward eliminating racism. YW Boston has been hosting its own month-long Stand Against Racism campaign since 2010. This year, we teamed up with YWCA Cambridge, YWCA Central Massachusetts, YWCA Malden, YWCA Greater Newburyport, YWCA Northeastern Massachusetts, and YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts. Each April, we provide participants with prompts and tools to facilitate conversations about racial equity, ultimately propelling them to take action toward building more just communities.

Individuals and organizations could choose to participate in Stand Against Racism by filling out their unique Stand Against Racism online pledge boards and hosting a discussion using resources from our curator content library. We are immensely grateful to the Alliance of YWCAs of Massachusetts for this partnership, to our generous Stand Against Racism sponsors, and to our participating organizations and individuals. This year, over 140 organizations and 100 individuals registered for our Stand Against Racism campaign, making up an estimated total of over 13,000 participants across Massachusetts. This included over 90 virtual pledge boards and 60 conversations about racism using our curated content.

Stand Against Racism is an important annual campaign as it helps introduce or strengthen knowledge about systemic racism in our communities and institutions. Using the tools provided, participants are able to identify follow-up actions that they can take to work towards eliminating racism as individuals and organizations. This year’s collaboration with the Alliance of YWCAs of Massachusetts allowed us to reach an even greater number of people who wish to deepen their commitment to racial equity. While April 30th is the final official day of the 2021 Stand Against Racism campaign, and the last day to register, registered organizations will be able to use the resources provided for months to come.

1. Digital Stand Against Racism pledge boards

Organizations, groups, and individual participants filled out their own digital pledge boards with messages from their team, colleagues, friends, or family on how each will commit to helping eliminate racism in 2021.

2021 Stand Against Racism Pledge board

2. Curated content discussions

Participants received access to our 2020 Stand Against Racism curated content. They gathered a group, such as their colleagues, friends, or family, to hold a virtual conversation around an article, book or video selected by YW Boston’s guest curators. Our curators come from diverse fields and are actively working to end racism in their communities and create a more equitable society for all.

Here are our 2021 Stand Against Racism curators:

  • Laurel Berryman, Activist, Former Racial & Gender Equity Program Coordinator, YWCA Southeastern Massachusetts
  • Dr. Matilde Castiel, City of Worcester’s Commissioner of Health and Human Services
  • Damon Hart, Executive Vice President, Deputy Chief Legal Officer at Liberty Mutual Insurance
  • Jennifer Hedrington, 2021 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year
  • Irene Li, Co-Founder of Mei Mei Restaurant Group
  • Devin and Jason McCourty, Professional Football Players and members of the New England Patriots
  • Eva Millona, President and CEO of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA)
  • Wendy Mota, Program Manager with the Children’s Team, Futures Without Violence
  • Dr. Kenvi Phillips, Johanna-Marie Fraenkel Curator for Race and Ethnicity, Harvard Radcliffe’s Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America
  • Ketshaly Philome, Lead Organizer, Curriculum Reform Committee, Malden High’s Students for Racial Equity committee
  • Dr. Julia Rodriguez, Professor of History, University of New Hampshire
  • Billy Zeng, Youth Board Member, Greater Malden Asian American Community Coalition

Check out what some of this year’s participants had to say about Stand Against Racism.

Thank you to our YWCA partners, our Stand Against Racism sponsors, this year’s guest curators, and all of our Stand Against Racism participants for making this such an impactful campaign.

Although Stand Against Racism month ends on April 30th, our commitment to eliminating racism should be year-long. We encourage you to take what you learned during this month-long campaign and turn it into meaningful action within your communities and organizations. You can utilize our 2021 Stand Against Racism toolkit to find helpful definitions and frameworks for advancing inclusion.

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—including InclusionBoston and LeadBoston—as well as our advocacy work and F.Y.R.E. Initiative, 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. 

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