An event that began eight years ago in Princeton and Trenton — demonstrations for Stand Against Racism day — has grown exponentially and is now the signature campaign for the national YWCA. Not in Our Town (NIOT) wishes to thank all those who contributed to the success of Stand Against Racism Days, past and present. We remember Nassau Inn employees (shown above) helping make a human chain around Palmer Square, merchant participation directed by Kathleen Maguire Morolda, and well-attended rallies at Hinds Plaza — all these programs benefited from the YWCA’s leadership.
For this year’s observance, Not in Our Town assembled photos of 100 merchants who pledged to “stand against racism” for ads and posters that were sponsored by an anonymous donor. And this year the Princeton YWCA, implementing its motto “eliminating racism,” held a 80-person legislative breakfast, cosponsored by Lori Rabon of the Nassau Inn.
After presentations by the CEOs of Trenton and Princeton YWCAs, the mayors of Trenton and Princeton, NIOT’s co-presidents Linda Oppenheim and Larry Spruill, Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, chair of the Latin American Legal Defense Fund (LALDEF), challenged all, saying being against racism is merely good manners. “We should really focus on inclusion, which is a lot harder because it forces us not just to be well-mannered, but to really open our hearts and our spaces to people not like us.” Then everyone clustered in small groups, and NIOT facilitators led discussions of down-to-earth concerns about bias.
This program truly fulfilled the Y’s intention: “to build community among those who work for racial justice and to raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism.”