YWTalks: A Community Social Justice Series Wrap-Up

Well folks, the YW Talks: Community Social Justice Series has coming to an end. It has been a wonderful season this year with a combination of men and women speakers addressing social justice issues that are pertinent to women and those of diverse ethnic backgrounds. We also changed the name of our series from the “YWCA Brown Bag Lectures Series” to the new “YW Talks.” Why did we change the name you ask? Turns out the term “Brown Bag” has a negative association attached to it.

A “test”, which had the common use in the early 1900s among upper class Black Americans and families, was used to determine if a Black person was “white” enough to gain admittance or acceptance. If your skin was darker than a brown paper bag, you were not valued or included. Thousands of Black institutions and schools including the nation’s most well-known Black fraternity, Phi Alpha Phi at Howard University, practiced this discrimination. As an organization that has a racial justice initiative incorporated in its mission, we were not interested in supporting this term any longer by using it in the title of our community lecture series. I have really enjoyed being the coordinator for YW Talks: Community Social Justice Lecture Series this year. It has been a pleasure engaging with Missoulians who present on such important topics and create a space for dialogue and discussion for our community members. I hope that this series continues to grow and expand as a predominant piece in creating social justice in our community and even on the larger scale.

YWTalks Wrap Up Photo








Our presenters for this season included:

September: Anisa Goforth: Arab American Students
October: Helga Hosford– Perspectives from a child of Nazi Germany
November: Tobin Shearer– Ice Cubed: Understanding Racism
December: Phyllis Ngai– Intercultural Communication and Social Justice
January: Anya Jabour– A Historical Perspective: U.S. Women’s Rights and Social Justice
February: Ruth Vanita– Goddess: The Divine Feminine in Hinduism
March: Mehrdad Kia– Islam and the West
April: Amber Gladney–  Gender Empowerment & the U.S. Peace Corps 
May: Suzette Dessault– Women’s Suffrage in Montana

Posted by Miranda, Transitional Housing VISTA