State Of The YWCA 2020
Just over one year ago we were wrapping up our celebration of the 100th year of our local YWCA. After a year full of celebration, events, and activities, we were looking forward to things slowing down in 2020. We looked forward to commemorating the passage of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote 100 years ago. We planned to establish a “normal” flow of events and community outreach.
Then everything came to a screeching halt in mid-March as we had to close our doors because of the COVID19 pandemic. The Annual Meeting was cancelled, and nothing has been normal since. Staff were required to work from home. We closed the emergency shelter because shared living spaces were unsafe. We learned to hold meetings and talk with survivors virtually via Zoom. All events and outreach were cancelled.
One thing that didn’t change was the need to keep victims of sexual and domestic violence and abuse safe.
When we cautiously opened at the end of April, we were stocked up on PPEs such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, and sanitizing supplies. The interpersonal work of providing advocacy and support required that we carefully implement all of the CDC guidelines for interacting with each other.
The need to provide services to victims did not decrease during this forced slow down. We provided shelter to more victims than we previously had and assisted with more applications for protective orders. We are grateful that the support we received from the community increased, as well. Many groups and individuals contacted our office asking what we needed in order to continue providing services. Thank you to everyone who contributed money, gift cards, and cleaning and sanitizing supplies, and for all of those who made masks for our staff and those we serve.
In addition to the pandemic, our country has experienced an awakening to the need for racial justice. As an organization who has “eliminating racism” in our mission statement, we know that we have a responsibility to do more. The past few years we have focused on building internal capacity to discuss racial justice issues by learning more and listening more to the experiences of racism. We invited the community to join us in our effects to learn more through the 21-Day Racial Equity & Social Justice Challenge. By learning more, we can join in tough conversations and recognize how we can each have an impact on making our communities safe and equitable for all.
Throughout these ever-changing times, our staff have been amazing at adapting, shifting, adjusting, pivoting, accommodating, and problem-solving. Together we have been determined to keep victims safe and provide support along the journey to healing from the trauma of abuse. Above all, we have endeavored to support and encourage each other through these unprecedented times.