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World YWCA Statement on Anti-Racism Protests

As a global movement based on human rights, we witness racism around the world – racism embedded in our societies, cultures, laws and attitudes. As in the United States of America, anti-blackness is a common form of discrimination in many of the 100 countries where YWCAs work toward transformation of power structures in response to systemic oppression.

World YWCA shares in the grief, anger and anxiety of millions of people around the world and stands in solidarity with the citizens around the globe protesting anti-blackness and demanding the right to peaceably assemble in civil protest.

For 160 years, the World YWCA has witnessed youth-led action toward justice and human rights, resulting in changes that seemed impossible. Young people, with allies of all ages, can transform power structures and eliminate discrimination. As a global movement that has often been driven by the power of young women and the action they take to realize their convictions, we are hopeful that the legitimate resistance and demand for justice by youth and people of all ages around the world is a herald of progress.

The YWCA movement is committed to eliminating all discrimination – including but not limited to that based on race, class, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation. The World YWCA Purpose and Goal 2035 speak to the fundamental need to address systemic oppression and to a vision of a world that includes justice for all. This vision connects thousands of communities and millions of women, young women and girls and unites us against discrimination and in action when atrocities occur due to systemic oppression or bias and prejudice.

We stand in solidarity with YWCA USA, YWCA Australia, YWCA Canada , and the local YWCAs all across USA that have taken clear positions during this time of social upheaval, begun by citizens demanding change in the USA in response to acts of anti-blackness. Many people around the world recognize what is happening in the USA as familiar and as unacceptable, and a global response continues to build. We affirm the right for peaceful protests as a tool to mobilise communities, engage allies, and push for action to ensure the true and full realisation of human rights and a social system without oppression. The World YWCA recognizes the equal value of all human beings.  

As an international World YWCA and a global movement working for and with young women and women from all over the world, we are not exempt from racism. We know that we have to strive to continuously educate ourselves to not perpetuate systemic oppression. We call on everyone to read, listen, and have the discussions necessary to understand power, privilege and oppression. Just like we use feminism to dismantle patriarchic power relations, we need to adopt an anti-racist lens to our feminist work.