What we stand for in 2017

The mission of YW Boston is to eliminate racism, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. If you think this is a radical mission, you’d be right. We live in a city and in a country where the systems that govern how we live, work, play, and pray were originally built by white men. As a result, at best these systems have reflected the values of that group above others, and at worst these systems have granted rights, opportunities, and privileges to white men while denying them to people of other races and genders. This has included the right to vote, the opportunity to work in certain kinds of jobs, and even the privilege of being seen as a capable person, or as a person at all. Clearly, if we want to create more equality, we need to change these systems. And changing systems can be a radical notion.

Although we assert that America’s legal, political, economic, and social systems have historically been unjust, we believe in the democratic principles of freedom, liberty, and equality that these systems were built upon. We believe in the inherent goodness of our neighbors – that if we meet people where they are, listen deeply and respectfully to their perspective, and then help them see how our society still does not grant life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness equally to all people – that they will want to do something about it. And we believe in the power of educated and empowered individuals to bring about change inside of the existing systems, to transform our society into one of true equity.

And so, in 2017, YW Boston calls for reform, not revolution.  We call for respectful and enlightening dialogue, not shame and blame.  We will search out the people, organizations, and institutions that are demonstrating the practices of equity, and shine a light on them.  We will disseminate high quality, actionable information about areas of inequity, so that they may be addressed.  We will continue to provide programs that educate and empower people to take action towards a more equitable society, from exploring personal bias to changing laws.

This does not mean that we will not speak up with force and conviction when needed. If we observe acts of discrimination or injustice, we will name them and call for restorative action. We will do so publicly, and powerfully.  But, whenever possible, we will “call in” rather than “call out” – calling on the people or groups involved in the injustice to join with us in working to correct it. Working together is how we can truly make change.

We look forward to working with you in the coming year to realize the promise of an equitable Boston for all.