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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.

Stand Against Racism: Join Us for Racial Justice Facilitation Training

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.

Our book club meets online on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month from 7:00 to 8:30 PM via the online web conferencing platform Zoom. Although it is preferable to have read the book prior to the sessions, please feel free to join even if you haven’t read the book.

Stay updated about Racial Justice Book Club information, including receiving the meeting details and bi-monthly Zoom link, by signing up here.

2021 Book Discussions:

November 9th and December 14th: Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America, by Maria Hinojosa. Hinojosa is a Mexican American journalist who currently produces and anchors Latino USA for NPR. In her memoir, she shares her story of growing up on the South Side of Chicago. “She offers a personal and illuminating account of how the rhetoric around immigration has not only long informed American attitudes toward outsiders, but also sanctioned willful negligence and profiteering at the expense of our country’s most vulnerable populations—charging us with the broken system we have today.” (Simon and Schuster)

Grab your copy from the Topeka & Shawnee County Library.

Links for more information:
Latino USA’s Maria Hinojosa On New Memoir, “Once I Was You” (WDET, 30 min podcast)
Acclaimed Latina journalist Maria Hinojosa laid it all out in her new memoir. It’s resonating. (NBC News)
Review: Maria Hinojosa’s memoir humanizes the history of US immigration (San Francisco Chronicle)

*NOTE: Due to the November and December holidays, we will only meet once each month. This book will be discussed at both the November 9th and December 14th book club discussions.


Upcoming 2021 Reads:

“Once I Was You: A Memoir of Love and Hate in a Torn America” by Maria Hinojosa (November & December)

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.

Upcoming 2021 Dates: November 19th and December 3rd from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. (must attend both sessions).

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. All 2021 sessions will be virtual sessions via Zoom.

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.

Click here to register.

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.

The next Racism 101 Seminar is scheduled for Friday, July 16, at 11:00 a.m. The session will take place via Zoom.

click here to register for the july 16 seminar zoom link.

Free Virtual Seminar: Thursday, November 11, at 6:00 PM

Join Racial Justice & Advocacy Director Regina Platt in this interactive, virtual seminar on talking with kids about race. Whether it’s your own kids, your classroom, or simply a child you care about, it can be tough to know what to say to them about race and when to have those conversations.

This seminar will offer participants a safe space to ask questions, raise concerns, and learn about resources and best practices for engaging children of all levels in conversations about race, racism, and racial justice.

click here to register for this free seminar

Here are some common questions caregivers have on this topic:

  1. How do we teach kids about history without saddling them with pain, shame or guilt?
  2. How do we talk with them about the present and the future without creating a sense of hopelessness?
  3. How do we help young people grow into adults ready to take action and advocate for racial justice?
Join our Advocacy Efforts


YWCA’s racial justice work is made possible in part by the generosity of Evergy and Kansas Gas Service, and their commitment to their core value of inclusion and diversity.