YWCA Racial and Social Justice

YWCA Racial and Social Justice educates, advocates and collaborates in order to combat racism, sexism and other injustices. 

 Fast Fact:   The Pew Research Center's analysis of 2009 government data says the median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households.

 YWCA Racial and Social Justice is Mission Driven…

YWCA Racial and Social Justice programming continues the organization’s rich legacy of combating racism in our community by offering programming and collaborating with other organizations in their activities.

The YWCA-GBR’s very history is steeped in the legacy of racism and social justice. First organized in 1943 for white women and girls, local black women formed the Maggie Nance Ringgold Unit of the YWCA eleven years later. The two co-existed until 1965, when the YWCA USA correctly mandated all YWCAs desegregate. White members of YWCA-GBR refused, and disaffiliated (at a meeting where the Unit members were not allowed to vote), changed the organizational name to the Young Women’s Christian Organization (YWCO) and retained the YWCA’s assets, including its building. Eventually the YWCO was dissolved. In 1967, the YWCA Greater Baton Rouge reorganized as an integrated association, was re-chartered in 1968, and began its early and renowned racial justice programming.

Today, our program plan is designed to eliminate racism with a goal that people of color experience racial justice individually and collectively.

Intermediate outcomes for our work are:

  • Our community has a deep understanding of historical racism, whiteness, white privilege, and institutional racism, and recognizes that its long-term viability is dependent upon the elimination of racism.
  • People of color and white allies collectively dismantle systemic racism, and create a just, equitable society for all.

 YWCA Racial and Social Justice Performance Indicators 2014: 

  • Continued ongoing educating and discussion at the Board and Management staff level regarding racial and gender disparities / racism and sexism.
  • Participated with the League of Women Voters and other women’s groups focused on moving some specific legislation (pay equity) forward at the State Capitol on 4/8.
  • Participated in the Good Friday “The Way of the Cross” event (YW rep was invited to read the passage for ending racism) on 4/18.
  • Represented the YW at the City-Parish Council meeting on 7/23 and spoke in favor of the “Fairness Ordinance” that (sadly, did not pass) would have given protections in housing, employment and public accommodations for LGBTQI persons.
  • Participated in LSU’s “Campus Conversations” (formerly “Race and Gravy”) at LSU via their Office of Multicultural Affairs on 9/28.  All issues were racial and/or social justice related. 
  • Attended and represented YWCA-GBR at the Nuns on the Bus luncheon sponsored by Together Baton Rouge on 10/14.
  • Provided educational information about HIV/AIDS for World AIDS Day, 12/1.
  • Throughout year, posted various informational and action items (local and broader) on YWCA Facebook page.


  • While African American women have a lower statistical incidence of developing breast cancer, their death rate is substantially higher than that of white women. Louisiana women die from breast cancer at a 14% higher rate than the national average. And, when race is examined, black women in Louisiana die at a rate 16% higher than the national average. However, most alarmingly, black women die at a rate 60% higher than their white counterparts.
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana ranks #1 in new AIDS cases per capita and #2 in new HIV cases per capita. In Louisiana, the rate of black females living with an HIV infection is 11.9 times that of white females. 76.7% of females living with HIV in Louisiana were infected through heterosexual contact. Men who sleep with men (MSM) are one of the highest populations with increasing new HIV case rates in the state of Louisiana. Lastly, 22.5% of new HIV diagnoses in Louisiana are among youth aged 13-24.
  • Louisiana currently has the 18th highest teen pregnancy rate and ranks 13th for teen birth rates in the nation. The U.S Department of Health and Human Services notes: 7,083 Louisiana teens aged 19 and under had babies in 2011 with the highest number of births among ages 15-19. More than 3,841 of teen births in Louisiana in 2011 were to black teens, over 1000 more babies than born to white teens.
  • It is well-documented that racism creates significant disparities in health, education and income between people of color and white people, advantaging whites and disadvantaging those of color. In addition, the prevalence of racial discrimination leads to greater physical and emotional stress experienced by people of color (five times more emotional more than five times physical stress than their white counterparts. In fact, the current life expectancy of African Americans in the U.S. resembles that of whites 40 years ago.

The YWCA Racial & Social Justice program

  • Is currently being staffed by the CEO and Board and community volunteers.
  •  Recognizes that our vision and goals are bold statements of intention, and we know that the journey will be full of rewarding challenges. We welcome and need YOU as a partner in these efforts. Please join us. To get involved, e-mail racialjustice@ywca-br.org, and “like” us on Facebook!


Contact Us at 225-383-0681