Living Our Mission
Join YWCA Northeast Kansas in our mission to break through the barriers that perpetuate racism.
YWCA Northeast Kansas is dedicated to promoting racial equity by partnering with individuals, organizations, and businesses through racial justice training, advocacy, outreach and education.
Join the Conversation
In partnership with the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, YWCA Northeast Kansas hosts a community book club that will feature books written by Indigenous people and people of color. All are invited to participate in monthly meetings to discuss the books and relevant social issues within our community. Discussions will be guided by YWCA’s volunteer racial justice facilitators.
Stay updated about Racial Justice Book Club information, including receiving the meeting details and bi-monthly Zoom link, by signing up here.
“We were eight years in power” was the lament of Reconstruction-era black politicians as the American experiment in multiracial democracy ended with the return of white supremacist rule in the South. In this sweeping collection of new and selected essays, Ta-Nehisi Coates explores the tragic echoes of that history in our own time: the unprecedented election of a black president followed by a vicious backlash that fueled the election of the man Coates argues is America’s “first white president.”
But the story of these present-day eight years is not just about presidential politics. This book also examines the new voices, ideas, and movements for justice that emerged over this period—and the effects of the persistent, haunting shadow of our nation’s old and unreconciled history. Coates powerfully examines the events of the Obama era from his intimate and revealing perspective—the point of view of a young writer who begins the journey in an unemployment office in Harlem and ends it in the Oval Office, interviewing a president.
We Were Eight Years in Power features Coates’s iconic essays first published in The Atlantic, including “Fear of a Black President,” “The Case for Reparations,” and “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration,” along with eight fresh essays that revisit each year of the Obama administration through Coates’s own experiences, observations, and intellectual development, capped by a bracingly original assessment of the election that fully illuminated the tragedy of the Obama era. We Were Eight Years in Power is a vital account of modern America, from one of the definitive voices of this historic moment.
Past Book Discussions:
January 7th and 21st: “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo
February 4th and 18th: “How To Be An Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi
March 10 & 24: “Chokehold: Policing Black Men” by Paul Butler.
April 7 & 21: “When They Call You a Terrorist: a Black Lives Matter Memoir” by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele
May 5 & 19: “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States” by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
June 2 & 16: “Healing Politics” by Dr. Abdul El-Sayed
July 14 & 21: “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
August 11 & 25: “Stamped from the Beginning” by Ibram X. Kendi
September 8 & 22: “A Perilous Path: Talking Race, Inequality, and the Law” by Sherrilyn Ifill, Loretta Lynch, Bryan Stevenson, and Anthony C. Thompson
October: “Citizen” by Claudia Rankine
As one of the oldest and largest women’s organizations across the nation, YWCA has been at forefront of the most pressing social movements in the Northeast Kansas area for more than 160 years – from voting rights to civil rights, from affordable housing to pay equity, from violence prevention to health care reform.
What sets YWCA Northeast Kansas apart from many other nonprofits is our commitment to comprehensive social services, combined with our dedication to creating a more just world through advocacy and community education.
You can learn more and follow along with actionable steps you can take to stand against racism, empower women, and advocate for the most marginalized by joining our Facebook group: YWCA Northeast Kansas Advocacy Cafecito.
YWCA Facilitators are committed to racial justice work. As an active member of the movement to promote positive race relations, facilitators carry the responsibility of promoting a safe environment for all participants to share personal experiences and opinions regarding the topics of race and racism.
Please check out our upcoming Racial Justice Facilitation Training cohort registration on our Calendar.
Time Commitment: 4 hours spread over two 2-hour sessions with a single cohort, or group of facilitators. There is a third session available to those interested in becoming active facilitators.
Group Training: It is important for community building and continuity of learning that you complete your training within a single group.
Cost: The training is FREE if you are able to commit to attending all sessions.
What will you learn?
- Chapter 1: Getting Together. In the first of the three sessions, we will focus on “getting together,” both literally and figuratively. Get to know one another as individuals and as racial justice advocates. We will also “get together” in terms of our racial justice philosophy. Learn about the philosophy and models used at YWCA Northeast Kansas to talk about racial justice and examine common missing bricks you’ll come across in your facilitation work.
- Chapter 2: Circle and Facilitation. Next, delve into the benefits and origins of circle dialogue. Learn the mechanics of the circle and using the talking piece. Get into the role of the facilitator and learn the traits that are beneficial and detrimental to facilitation.
- Chapter 3: Practice Makes Practice. None of us will ever be perfect, but with practice we get better and better each time we facilitate. This third part is devoted to practicing your new facilitation skills. You will take turns acting as a facilitator and as a participant.
This class is limited to 25 attendees.
What Is Racism, Really?
Often people think of big, obvious examples, like racial slurs, KKK or Nazis, racial hate crime or not hiring someone based on their skin color.
But thinking about what racism IS and IS NOT is much more complicated than that.
This conversation explores the four levels of racism and how they stand alone and intersect with each other. Participants will also gain knowledge of how racism plays a role in everyday interactions, decisions, policies, procedures and laws within the U.S.
Racism 101 seminars are held periodically throughout the year. Please check back on our calendar for upcoming sessions!