Photo by Evanston Photographic Studios

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Again this year, hundreds of school children lined the sidewalks, excitedly waving handmade signs reading, “I will always be kind,” “Stop judging people by their skin tone,” and “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” These children, joined by adults throughout the community, participated in the annual nationwide Stand Against Racism sponsored by the YWCA.

On Church Street a sign read, “ETHS stands against racism with the YWCA and the community.” In front of the Civic Center, a line of City employees raised a sign reading “Peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.” In all, 45 local organizations and dozens of private citizens joined the YWCA Evanston/North Shore in taking 15 minutes to Stand Against Racism by forming a line along Ridge Avenue from Howard Street to Wilmette.

“The persistence and pervasiveness of racism divides our community and creates disparities in education, health care, economics and other institutions affecting quality of life,” stated Karen Singer, president/CEO of the YWCA Evanston/North Shore. “Our strength comes from numbers – that’s why we asked our community to come out and join the YWCA and the 45 organizations that have partnered with us.”

Elieen Heineman, Racial Justice Program manager at the YWCA Evanston/North Shore said,“We need each other’s support to stay in the struggle, to have the hard conversations, to do the self-assessment necessary to transform ourselves and our community.”

Individuals in Evanston took their Stand Against Racism simultaneously with others throughout the country. The Stand Against Racism movement is a collaboration of over 100 YWCA Associations nationwide and their 2,000 community partners.

Participants commit themselves to a lifetime of promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people in their community and in the world. The YWCA says this powerful, unified effort will help raise awareness that racism hurts everyone.