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United Way of Lancaster County


YWCA Lancaster to host first racial equity action team meeting this week

YWCA Lancaster CEO Stacie Blake discusses the Lancaster County Racial Equity Profile during a “Listen, Learn, Lead” forum at the YWCA on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023. (Photo: Tim Stuhldreher)

YWCA Lancaster is encouraging community members to join a new group being organized to tackle the disparities documented in the Lancaster County Racial Equity Profile.

The group, or “action team,” will hold its first meeting from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the YWCA’s headquarters, 110 N. Lime St., Lancaster. It’s the first in an ongoing series of meet-ups for the group that YWCA plans to host on the third Thursday of each month.

Related: From data to action: Group organizing to address racial disparities identified in report

Thursday’s gathering will be accessible to people who are engaging for the first time, YWCA spokesman Aaron Spangler said. It will include some time for reflection on the equity profile and what priorities for action it suggests; as well as discussion of possible activities and strategies.

YWCA is hoping to serve as a forum to connect community members with the leaders of existing local social justice initiatives. That, too, will be on Thursday’s agenda.

For more information and to sign up, click here or email Isabel Castillo, director of YWCA Lancaster’s Center for Racial & Gender Equity.

While YWCA is serving initially as convener and host, the action team is conceived as an independent, community-led organization, Spangler said. Participants will be encouraged to organize it and set its agenda however they see fit.

There’s no size limit for the team, he said: Anyone who’s interested is encouraged to join.

Thursday’s meeting will be followed two days later by the Lancaster Justice Seekers Collective town hall, planned for Saturday morning at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. It, too, aims to build grassroots support for a social justice agenda.

The collective’s steering committee and YWCA are in communication with each other, Spangler said, and the two events are complementary. Each can build on the other, he said.

(Source: Lancaster County Racial Equity Profile)

About the profile

Released in January, the Lancaster County Racial Equity Profile compiles a broad array of demographic and economic statistics broken out by race and ethnicity. It was commissioned by a steering committee composed of leaders of local organizations, including YWCA Lancaster and United Way of Lancaster County, among others, and researched by the consultant PolicyLink.

It documents both the increasing diversity of Lancaster County’s population and the various indicators on which non-White populations are lagging the White majority.

Black life expectancy, for example, is 75 years, versus 80 years for the county’s population as a whole. About a third of Black and Latino children in Lancaster County live in poverty, versus 9% for White children.

The profile’s website includes a dashboard with some of the key indicators, as well links to the executive summary and full report.