Stand Against Racism
On Sunday, April 26 the YWCA hosted our fourth annual Stand Against Racism event. Stand Against Racism is a nation-wide day of action against racism in our communities lead by the YWCA USA organization. This year, our stand took place in solidarity with 746 other sites, 152 of which were YWCAs, across 44 states. Around 100 participants from Lewiston-Auburn and surrounding areas attended, including community members, politicians, faith communities, students from Lewiston High School, YWCA members and families, and Bates students and faculty.
After a pizza lunch, keynote speakers, Nasser Rohani and Fahmo Ahmed, spoke to their experiences of racism in Maine, the larger United States, and abroad. Mr. Rohani shared stories of religious persecution in Iran and of coming to Maine as an ethnic, national, and religious minority. Ms. Ahmed spoke both powerfully and poetically, sharing thoughts on rising above adversity and oppression.
Participants were able to further reflect on their experiences of and response to racism in our community, through small-group dialogues facilitated by the Lewiston High School Civil Rights team. The students lead discussions and activities on the theme of racism in education. After these conversations, participants had the opportunity to bring their voices and signs to the neighborhoods surrounding the YWCA. The crowd marched from East Ave to downtown, with LHS students leading chants and keeping up spirits, as the sun shone strongly throughout the over-a-mile walk.
The event finished with a stand outside of the YWCA to share our presence and to demonstrate that the elimination of racism is a priority in our community. After a long and energetic day, participants were able to enjoy ice cream generously donated by Bates dining. Thank you to all our participants, student facilitators, speakers, and partners at Bates College for a rewarding and invigorating experience. The work is just begun!