Social Justice Program - Workshops

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

  • Exploring Values Differences (03/28)

    We will examine the importance of understanding our own personal and work values and that may be the root cause of when things go sideways on teams and in interpersonal relationships.

  • Sexual Assault Dynamics (04/04)

    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.

  • Dismantling Racism (04/12)

    In this workshop participants will understand racism in a historical and current context, learn about white privilege, develop knowledge of institutional racism, and address concepts of colorblindness and the United States as a post-racial society.

  • Safety Planning & Advocacy Skills (04/19)

    During Safety Planning, Crisis Intervention & Advocacy Skills attendees will learn and practice advocacy skills vital to supporting survivors of domestic violence & sexual assault.

  • Self-Care in the Workplace (05/25)

    The class will provide current self-care research, theories, and techniques to improve ways we manage stress to improve our skills as professionals and improve general quality of life.

  • Dynamics of Poverty (05/31)

    This training will help participants define poverty and explore its causes and effects. We will review national and local data on the demographics of people living in poverty as well as risk factors that can make one more vulnerable to economic instability (such as race, gender and subjective social status).

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