Amidst Tragedy and Hope, Our Mission Matters More than Ever.

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Amidst Tragedy and Hope, Our Mission Matters More than Ever.

Categories: Blog

Within the last month and across the nation, communities have mourned a shocking number of victims of gun violence and hate crimes. From the anti-semitic murders of worshippers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh: Joyce Feinburg, Richard Godfried, Rose Mallinger, Jerry Robinowitz, Cecil Rosenthal, David Rosenthal, Bernice Simon, Sylvan Simon, Daniel Stein, Melvin Wax, and Irving Yungner- to the racially motivated shootings of two Black community members, Maurice Stallard and Vickie Jones, in a grocery store parking lot in Kentucky; from the misogynist attack that left two women, Nancy Van Vessem and Maura Binkley, dead in a yoga studio in Tallahassee- to the senseless gun violence that took 12 lives in Thousand Oaks, California: Daniel Manrique, Justin Meek, Alaina Housley, Cody Gifford-Coffman, Noel Sparks, Kristina Morisette, Sean Adler, Jacob Dunham, Blake Dingman, Mark Meza, and Ron Helus; the sheer scale of the violence in recent weeks can feel overwhelming.

We at YWCA of Asheville offer our deepest condolences to all of those affected by these and other recent tragedies. Our hearts go out to the individuals, families, and communities who are just starting the long journey of healing, and we offer our support and solidarity to those individuals and communities who are targets of race- and gender-based violence.

We know that hate crimes are on the rise, and we know that they are fueled by hate speech, like that which is mounting against immigrant and transgender communities. While the onslaught can seem overwhelming at times, we must continue to be outraged by all forms of bigotry, and continue to work to eliminate all forms of discrimination. We must not become complacent, or allow hate speech and hate crimes to become normalized.

While the news in recent weeks has been challenging, there has also been hope: the 2018 midterm elections saw record-breaking victories from women and people of color both on the ballot and in voter turnout. An unprecedented number of women ran in the 2018 midterm elections, many for the first time, and women won more seats in Congress than ever before. More than 100 women were elected to office, including over 40 women of color. We know that representation matters, and studies show that women in Congress- regardless of political party- are more likely to prioritize issues that affect women and children, like family leave policy, early childhood education, and yes, gun violence.

Now, more than ever, our mission is at the forefront of our work. From our Get Out The Vote efforts to our statewide advocacy initiative on racial profiling; from our Empowerment Child Care programs to our Diabetes Wellness and Prevention work, we will continue to live into our mission to Eliminate Racism and Empower Women. We want you to know that in order to make sure we are doing our best to provide safety and security to the families, members, and guests at YWCA of Asheville (and in compliance with requirements for our child care license), we are reviewing our Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Communication plans, and we will be implementing lockdown and active shooter drills in the coming months. For 111 years, we have been committed to fighting for racial and gender justice, helping families, and standing up for ourselves and our communities, and we won’t stop now. We are grateful that you are standing with us.