Stand Against Racism

The YWCA’s Stand Against Racism, which happens annually in April, is the signature campaign of YW USA to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional racism in our communities. This campaign is one of our larger national strategy to fulfill our mission of eliminating racism.

This year, our theme is On A Mission for Girls of Color! We will amplify the discussion about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism on the lives of girls for color.

Thank you for taking part in the 2016 Stand Against Racism. As part of a nationwide YWCA campaign, 64 different organizations, businesses, and groups in Asheville-Buncombe participated in this year's Stand, consisting of 37 public Stand events and thousands of community members in attendance!

Any group of any size can become a Participating Site of the Stand Against Racism: corporations large or small, schools (from elementary schools to universities), government agencies, non-profit or civic organizations, hospitals, houses of worship, even a group of neighbors gathered around a kitchen table. As a Participating Site of the Stand Against Racism, you can host a “Stand” at your location. Events can be either private or public, or you can choose attend and support another group's event. Participation in the Stand Against Racism is free and becoming a participating site is very simple. When you sign up, you will be provided with materials and support for your event.

Here are a few ways that your Stand could take shape:

Talk within your Group: Have a dialogue about race, possibly based on inspirational quotes, a common reading or a video which brings our these issues. Lead a short conversation among staff over a break or lunch. You could also research the ways your organization does or does not serve the African American and Latino communities and share it with your colleagues. Look for ways to better serve.

Day of Support: A day of support can be simple as having all employees at a business or students at a school wear buttons provided or attending another group's event. Put up the posters that the Stand Against Racism provided and/or put up a really big sign in front of your building which says "We stand against racism with the YWCA" or the like.

Educational Events: Host a film screening, public forum or local speaker.

Rally: Host an inspirational rally to raise public awareness, put pressure on local decision makers or take local action.

Service Project: Partner with another local organization or business, to reach out and give back to the community. Service projects are an excellent way to start conversations, bring people together from different part of the community and gain perspective around racial issues in Asheville-Buncombe.

Social Media Action: Encourage people to tweet or post on Facebook about how they plan to combat racism in the community. Participate in the Stand Against Racism photo petition by sending in photos of people wearing Stand Against Racism t-shirts.

This year, the YWCA Stand Against Racism dates are Thursday, April 28th through Sunday, May 1st, 2016 and we encourage you to take a Stand at any point during or around this time. Register your event at

2016 Stand events in Asheville-Buncombe:

Wednesday, April 27, 11 am - 1 pm
Location: A-B Tech Ferguson Auditorium
Our First event starts on Monday April, 25th. Art Against Racism - Buncombe County Early College Student Art Against Racism will be on display in the Comin Student Center on the campus of AB-Tech until Friday April 29th. Our Second Event will take place on Wed. April, 27th in Ferguson Auditorium on the AB-Tech Campus. The event begins with a "Diversity Lunch" Early College students and their families prepare a dish that represents their culture or ethnicity to share with school. The entire school will enjoy a very international meal. Diversity Lunch begins at 11:00 and ends at 11:45. The Stand Against Racism program begins in Ferguson Auditorium at 11:45 with "Rants Against Racism" Student speeches, poems, and stories. The event concludes with "Jam Against Racism" Andrew Scotchie and the River Rats will preform along with student performances. The final event will take place on Friday April, 29th with a Unity Dance on the Beech Tree Deck outside of the Comin Student Center. About 300 students will participate.

Wednesday, April 27, 5 pm - 7 pm
Location: THE BLOCK off biltmore
Kickoff Reception at THE BLOCK off biltmore, 39 S. Market Street. Music and mingling to kickoff and celebrate the YWCA's "Stand Against Racism" campaign. Drink specials available with 10% of the bar proceeds donated to the YWCA.

Thursday, April 28, 11:30 am - 1 pm
Location: The Asheville Chamber of Commerce
The Asheville Chamber of Commerce is joining with the Buncombe County Government, YWCA of Asheville, and Mission Health to take a stand against racism by helping businesses better understand how bias shows up in the workplace. Join Lisa Eby and Lakesha McDay on Thursday, April 28, 11:30 am - 1 pm for: "Grey Matter: Understanding the Brain and Bias". Have you ever wondered where our biases come from? How they impact our actions and decisions? What happens to us physiologically when we experience them? This session will give you insight into the "grey matter", the brain, and you will learn that we are ALL wired to be biased! Through an interactive workshop, you will see how bias shows up in each of us and leave with concrete steps to minimize the effects of bias in you and your workplace, making Asheville a more inclusive community.

Thursday, April 28, 6 pm - 8 pm
Location: YWCA of Ashevile
HoodTalk is a grass-roots organization that strives to develop positive energy to restore greater communication and strength throughout Asheville. The focus of this series is to raise awareness of the challenges faced in African-American neighborhoods and in public housing communities. These conversations aim to address solutions to these challenges. In alignment with the Stand Against Racism, join us for the next HoodTalk on Thursday, April 28, 6 - 8 pm. Dem NC will lead part of the discussion around voter suppression laws and engagement. 

Friday, April 29, 11 am - 11 pm
Location: The Hop Ice Cream Cafe
10% of sales all day will be donated to the YWCA of Asheville as part of the Stand Against Racism

Friday, April 29, 10 am - 10:30 am
Location: Asheville Jewish Community Center
The Asheville JCC is Standing Up for Kavod (Respect)! This event is taking place on Friday, April 29, 10 am - 10:30 am in the gym of the Asheville JCC and is open to Shalom families. Students and families will have the opportunity to sing songs about respect, pledge their support to stand up for Kavod, and sing about Passover. If you are an outside participant and would like to fill out a Stand Up for Kavod pledge card, please stop by the front desk of the Asheville JCC.

Friday, April 29, 12 pm - 2 pm
Location: Stephens-Lee Center, 30 George Washington Carver
"Celebrating the Legacy of African American Education Pioneers": Panel Discussion on early African American educations, legacy of Isaac Dickson, legacy of Lucy Herring, history of Stephens-Lee & other Feeder Schools, and first African American students at Mars Hill College.

Friday, April 29, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Jubilee! Community, 46 Wall Street
Film screening of the "Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity" and round table discussion. The film invites America to talk about the causes and consequences of systemic inequality, featuring moving stories from racial justice leaders including: Amer Ahmed, Michael Benitez, Barbie-Danielle DeCarlo, Joy DeGruy, Ericka Huggins, Humaira Jackson, Yuko Kodama, Peggy McIntosh, Rinku Sen, Tilman Smith and Tim Wise. Followed by round table discussion on how we live, talk and relate.

Friday, April 29, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm
Location: Dr. Wesley Grant Southside Center
Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community presents a youth spoken word competition for middle school aged poets. Teams from area middle schools and community programs will compete for a trophy and all day passes to the Lake Eden Arts Festival where they can compete in the LEAF youth slam. Together with the audience and poets, we create a Take A Stand Against Racism community poem. Hosted by Brave New Voices veteran poet Devin Jones.

Friday, April 29, 7 pm - 9 pm
Location: Firestorm Café & Books
Facilitated discussion on gentrification in West Asheville.

Saturday, April 30, 2 pm - 4 pm
Location: Lake Tomahawk Park in Black Mountain
Join us for a discussion regarding how we can work together toward racial equality.

Saturday, April 30, 2:15 pm - 4:45 pm
Location: Grateful Steps, 333 Merrimon Avenue
Film screening and discussion of "Woodlawn". This event is free and refreshments will be provided.

Sunday, May 1, 11 am - 12 pm
Location: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley
Sunday services will focus on the Stand Against Racism.

Sunday, May 1, 2 pm - 3 pm
Location: Stephens-Lee Recreation Center
Hood Tour - Accessing information about and an appreciation of African American presence and history in the Asheville area is the goal of this Stand Against Racism event. Our Hood Tour activity is open to the public, however, participants need to make reservations through If there are more reservations than space on the Hood Tour bus additional tour times will be selected. Tour fee: $25

Sunday, May 1, 2:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Location: White Horse Black Mountain, 105 Montreat Road
Award-winning performer Kat Williams, joined by acclaimed musician, author and speaker David LaMotte, will talk & sing about ways to "Stand Against Racism". Also participating will be the Rev. Hilario Cisneros of La Capilla de Santa Maria in Hendersonville, and Buncombe County Register of Deeds Drew Reisinger, who pioneered online postings of actual slave-ownership records. Tickets are $10 adults, $8 students under 21; available at or call (828) 669-0816 or from any member of Black Mountain Stand Against Racism.

List of 2016 Stand Participants:

  • A-B Tech Community College
  • ACLU of Western North Carolina
  • Africa Healing Exchange
  • ArtSpace Charter School
  • Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievment (ABIPA)
  • Asheville Chamber of Commerce
  • Asheville City Schools Foundation
  • Asheville Jewish Community Center
  • Asheville Writers in the Schools and Community
  • Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Black Mountain Stand Against Racism
  • Building Bridges of Asheville
  • Buncombe County Early College
  • Buncombe County Health and Human Services
  • Buncombe County Reentry Council
  • Carolina Jews for Justice/west
  • Center for Diversity Education at UNC-Asheville
  • Charlotte Street Computers
  • Christians for a United Community
  • City of Asheville
  • Clyde A. Erwin Middle School
  • Council On Aging of Buncombe County
  • David Gantt Law Office
  • Democracy NC
  • Dogwood Alliance
  • Enka Middle School
  • Ethical Humanist Society of Asheville
  • Evergreen Community Charter School
  • Firestorm Café & Books
  • Goodwill Reentry Program
  • Grateful Steps
  • Guardian ad Litem - Buncombe County
  • Haywood Street Congregation
  • Helpmate, Inc.
  • Hood Huggers International
  • HoodTalk
  • In Real Life @ Asheville Middle School
  • Irene Wortham Center
  • Isaac Dickson Elementary
  • Jubilee! Community
  • Kenilworth Church PC (USA)
  • Mars Hill University
  • Mission Health System
  • MLK Association
  • Mountain BizWorks
  • Mountain Housing Opportunities
  • NC Department of Commerce
  • Owen High School
  • Pack's Tavern
  • Pour Taproom
  • Self-Help Credit Union
  • Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care
  • Spellbound Children's Bookshop
  • Stephens-Lee Alumni Association
  • Sunny Point Café
  • THE BLOCK off Biltmore
  • The Hop Ice Cream Café
  • Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Swannanoa Valley
  • University of North Carolina at Asheville
    Warren Wilson College
  • Western NC Community Health Services
  • WHO Knows Art
  • WNC Diversity Engagement Diversity Coalition
  • YWCA of Asheville

For more information about Stand Against Racism, contact Gerry Leonard, Volunteer & Racial Justice Coordinator, by email at, or by calling 828-254-7206 x 219.