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.

Audio: Executive Director Susan Stoltenberg on the YWCA’s Social Justice Program

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

  • Safety Planning and Advocacy Skills

    Friday, March 9, 2018
    4610 SE Belmont

    During Safety Planning, Crisis Intervention & Advocacy Skills attendees will learn and practice advocacy skills vital to supporting survivors of domestic violence & sexual assault. Using real-life scenarios, we will work in small groups to apply these learned skills in crisis response situations & when creating safety plans. Discussions will also include healthy boundaries & tips for working with survivors.

  • Disability and Equity: A Deeper Conversation

    Thursday, March 15, 2018
    4610 SE Belmont

    This presentation will engage participants in learning from life experiences of people with disabilities and the disability rights movement. Presenters will discuss where the gaps lie in inclusion of people with disabilities, centering on those with identities that are underrepresented or systemically marginalized.

  • Effects of Domestic Violence and Trauma on Youth

    Thursday, March 22, 2018
    4610 SE Belmont

    During Effects of Domestic Violence and Trauma on Youth attendees will learn effects of domestic violence and trauma on youth of all ages, understand how trauma affects the parent-child bond develop skills and strategies for positive support and interventions, youth-specific advocacy, and parenting support.

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