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

  • Difficult Conversations

    Difficult Conversations

    Tuesday, October 17, 2017
    4610 SE Belmont

    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.

  • Domestic Violence 101

    Thursday, October 26, 2017
    4610 SE Belmont St.

    Domestic Violence (DV) 101 offers an introduction to the underlying root causes of violence against women and gender-based violence and increases understanding of the many forms of DV and how to respond.

  • Domestic Violence 102

    In Her Shoes/DV 102 will review domestic violence and use the In Her Shoes tool to give attendees a deeper understanding of what survivors face in an abusive relationship.

  • Financial Literacy

    Financial Literacy: Moving Ahead Through Financial Management

    Wednesday, November 8, 2017
    4610 SE Belmont

    Learn tactics to understand financial fundamentals and basic steps to building a strong financial base, including budgeting, saving, building credit and managing debt . Gain resources to strengthen survivor confidence in order to take action and strategies to address the financial and safety challenges of ending a relationship with an abusive partner

  • Including Disability in the Equity Conversation

    Disability is often on the outskirts, even when it comes to equity conversations. This presentation will engage participants in learning from the life experiences of people with disabilities.

  • Personal Safety and De-Escalation

    Personal Safety and De-escalation

    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.

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