Since the height of the Civil Rights movement, Americans have made significant efforts to dismantle oppression, eliminate racism and empower women. Despite these struggles, devastating inequalities persist. As our awareness of enduring injustices increases, we are called to engage in the continued course of social change. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

Social justice occurs through a movement of social change. Social change is the process by which we align our ways of life with the values of justice, peace, freedom, and dignity for all. It is when each of us, from all parts of society, unite to create a more equitable world, by rebuilding our relationships, communities, and institutions. Social justice exists in a society that is equitable, where all people are safe, and in which all groups participate fully and equally in shaping our society.

What is Social Justice?

“Social justice is both a process and a goal that (1) seeks equitable (re)distribution of resources, opportunities and responsibilities; (2) challenges the roots of oppression and injustice; (3) empowers all people to enhance self-determination and realize their full potential; (4) and builds social solidarity and community capacity for collaborative action.”

– Portland State University, 2009

Social Justice Workshops

We offer workshops that empower participants to be the change they wish to see in the world. The YWCA’s three-hour workshops explore how modern-day forms of oppression persist, as well as our role in dismantling or perpetuating them. Covering topics from sexism and domestic violence, racism, poverty, inclusivity, sex and gender, and more, our workshops work to train members of our community in advocating for equity and empowerment for all members of our society.

We believe all participants bring knowledge and experience into the classroom and use multiple techniques to engage different learning styles and to hear from a variety of voices. By exploring these issues with knowledgeable and skilled facilitators, we can increase our own level of self-awareness and explore how we can operate in the world as part of the solution.

Our public workshops are held at our downtown and SE Portland locations and are open to the public for professional and/or personal development; our private workshops are tailored for organizations or groups looking to enhance their work or community environments and can be held at the location of your choosing.

Upcoming Public Workshops

  • Trauma-Informed Care 101 (06/30)

    In this course, participants will: overview Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES), review short-term and long-term effects of trauma, PTSD and other analyses of trauma, discuss how trauma psychologically, socially and developmentally affects children, adults and most plausibly, our clients, and review the importance and modes of Trauma-Informed care and possible triggers in the workplace.

  • Supporting Immigrant and Refugee Survivors (07/05)

    While domestic violence is a global problem, its cultural interpretations and expressions vary. In this training, we will explore traditional cultures of Immigrants and Refugees and how it can impact access to services that may be crucial for survivors of domestic violence.

  • Personal Safety and De-Escalation (07/13)

    Topics will include laying a foundation for safety, using internal and external safety strategies to assess a dangerous situation, various strategies for preventing and ending attacks and discussion about escape option and exploration of de-escalation.

  • Trauma-Informed Care & More 102 (07/17)

    In this course, participants will: expand on the importance and modes of Trauma-Informed care; explore more possible triggers in the workplace; examine reflective practice through a trauma lens, case studies, potential scenarios, and team-building exercises around sensitive approaches to trauma and PTSD such as what to do, and what not to do; and learn what a trauma-informed inclusive practice might look like.

  • Legal Advocacy (07/24)

    In this workshop participants will come to understand legal issues survivors may experience, specifically regarding protective orders and prosecution as well as learn ways to support survivors interfacing with the legal system.

  • Practical Allyship (07/31)

    While talking about our privilege can be hard and even dangerous, we should not feeling guilty for unearned privilege, and instead hold on to our privileges and take responsibility to be aware of them and fight/speak up on behalf of others without such privileges and opportunities. This training will help participants to learn to do so more effectively and help them prepare for a lifelong, ever-evolving journey of allyship.

  • Teen Dating Violence (08/14)

    Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an issue that affects all genders, cultures, socioeconomic classes…and ages. This training will help participants become more familiar with some the ways that intimate partner violence uniquely affects young people, including middle and high school-aged youth.

  • Sexism 101 (08/23)

    An understanding of gender-based oppression is vital for everyone invested in ending violence. During this training, we will discuss how sexism is a form of power-based violence, as well as the ways it intersects with other systems of oppression.

  • Mindful and Inclusive Leadership

    Mindful and Inclusive Leadership (08/30)

    An inclusive leadership approach can help domestic violence prevention & treatment programs, as well as other social service programs, to improve communication within the agency staff and clients, as well as to attract and retain a more diverse workforce.

  • Sexual Assault Dynamics (09/13)

    This presentation will help participants understand the root causes of sexual violence, its prevalence, its impact on survivors, and the dynamics that make sexual violence a stigmatizing crime.

  • Difficult Conversations

    Difficult Conversations (10/17)

    Survivors and advocates are dealing with a dire lack of resources in our communities. This training will explore how to talk about options and safety plan with survivors when local emergency housing is full; waiting lists are long; and there are no available resources.

Legislative Advocacy & Community Engagement

To compliment our efforts to eliminate racism and empower women through participatory workshops, we have recently added other components to our work: legislative advocacy and community engagement. We are nurturing relationships with decision makers and lobbying for the passage of mission-aligned initiatives.

We are also working in partnership with an increasing number of organizations, groups and individuals in our community who share our urgency in achieving these goals. We wish to help increase levels of awareness the greater community has around social justice issues and mobilize them towards action for social justice.

One of these initiatives is organizing with women of color for racial justice. Click here for more information!

Take Action

Stay up-to-date on current engagements and legislation we are tracking through the YWCA USA’s Action Center!

Contact Us

Dara Snyder
Social Justice Program Manager
(503) 294-7395