YWCA To Take ‘Stand Against Racism’ Outdoors on April 27


YWCA Greenwich President and CEO May Lee A. Kiernan speaks during last year’s Stand Against Racism event. (contributed photo)

By Paul Silverfarb
Sentinel Editor

In its 10th year, the YWCA Greenwich’s Stand Against Racism Day will be just as meaningful as it was when it started a decade ago.

“The YWCA’s mission is to eliminate racism and empower women, so this is a signature event for us and for YWCAs across the country on the last week of April every year,” said YWCA President and CEO Mary Lee A. Kiernan. “It’s extremely important for us that we bring the community together, especially the community partners who work on community relations and inclusiveness throughout the town, to share stories, share support and reaffirm our commitment to that mission.”

Stand Against Racism is one of the signature events of the YWCA to raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism in the community.

The YWCA Greenwich’s Stand Against Racism event will bigger than ever. Valerie Shultz-Wilson, CEO of the Urban League of Southern Connecticut, will provide some remarks at the event.

First Selectman Peter Tesei will also speak on the steps of Town Hall.

“Very early in my tenure as First Selectman, I initiated participation in the Stand Against Racism because it is an opportunity for Greenwich citizens to gather and celebrate all that unites us as a humanity,” said Tesei. “This program provides all of us a channel in which we can continue to combat ignorance and hatred that unfortunately, still permeates our society.”

In addition, Kiernan and the YWCA will give out its annual Social Justice Scholarships to deserving high school students who have worked on bringing together the Greenwich community. And presenting those scholarships will be Dr. Jill Gildea, Superintendent of the Greenwich Public Schools.

The Greenwich Fire Department will have one of its fire trucks out front of Town Hall with a 20-foot sign on it that says: “Stand Against Racism.” And a photographer will be up in the bucket of the fire truck, taking a community photo.

In addition, there will be music provided by the Greenwich High School jazz band and food will also be provided.

In a first for the Stand Against Racism event, Kiernan said that there will be a closing prayer from St. Barnabas Episcopal Church Rev. Ted Pardoe and Little Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church Rev. Felix Delatour, two pastors in town that are very committed to racial justice.

While the event will still take place at Greenwich Town Hall, this will be the first time that the YWCA takes Stand Against Racism outside. This year’s event will be on the front steps of Town Hall.

“This will be making more of a public statement about the importance of standing together against all forms of racism,” said Kiernan.

And this type of event is months in the making. Kiernan said that she has over 100 organizations in Greenwich that are partnering with the YWCA for this event. Those organizations will be a part of an advertisement that will be placed in local newspapers. In addition, those organizations will be on a banner that stays in Town Hall for a year, as well as in the YWCA of Greenwich.

“It’s a very important public statement of everybody’s commitment to eliminate division in our community,” Kiernan said.

Despite all the hard work the YWCA done to get the Stand Against Racism event out to the Greenwich, Kiernan said that she couldn’t be prouder to hold such an important event.

“We are very excited to bring the community together around such an important topic,” Kiernan said.

“I am proud that the Greenwich community continues to embrace the opportunity to take a Stand Against Racism and I look forward to this week’s program with the Greenwich YWCA,” added Tesei.

About Author: Paul Silverfarb

Paul Silverfarb, editor at the Sentinel, has been covering events in town for nearly a decade. Mr. Silverfarb is quite familiar with Fairfield County, as he grew up in Trumbull, currently resides in Fairfield and worked as sports editor of the Sentinel, Greenwich Post and Norwalk Citizen~News combined for nearly two decades. He graduated from Keene State College in New Hampshire. To get in touch with Paul, email editor@greenwichsentinel.com.

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