The “Stand Against Racism” Two Day Conference
By Tricia Hall
Sojourner’s Truth Reporter
The YWCA of Northwest Ohio convened a two-day conference
starting on April 22 entitled, “Stand Against Racism,” which
featured speakers and panelists who spoke about the trauma
of systemic racism and how it affects the Black family. The
conference was hosted virtually and incorporated points of
engagement through chat features. YWCA President and CEO
Lisa McDuffie opened the conference with reflections and
call to action.
“I am honored to welcome you to our conference, which is
timely because we’re two days out from the trial in which
Derek Chauvin will forever be known as the murder of George
Floyd,” McDuffie said during opening comments. “Why are
Black people overrepresented in diabetes, cancers and even
Covid-19 hospitalizations? Why are we underrepresented in
homeownership, and kindergarten readiness? Why is a
five-number zip code linked to living fewer years of life?
It’s called systemic racism. The YWCA Stand Against Racism
Conference is our signature event. For 151 years the YWCA of
Northwest Ohio’s mission is to eliminate racism and empower
women. We’ve committed ourselves to this work in justice for
all. Our theme today acknowledges that systemic racism harms
all people of color.”
Barbara Love, PhD was the first presenter of the conference.
Love is a speaker, consultant, coach and writer who focuses
on diversity, social justice, liberation and transformation.
She’s a professor emeritus of Social Justice Education at
the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and spoke to the
virtual audience about their vision and her vision for
“My vision is categorized by justice and equity, a better
world for black people. A world where every black child and
family can reach Wakanda, never have to question
righteousness of self, know that every moment of their live
matters and that their lives matter. A world where they
never doubt their mind or what to change their skin or hair
on their head.,” shared Love.
Michael Waters, PhD, was the second speaker of the first
conference day. Waters is the founder and lead pastor of
Abundant Life African American Episcopal Church in Dallas.
He’s an author, professor, social commentator and two-time
National Wilbur Award winner for non-fiction writing.
Waters opened his presentation by explaining a book titled,
Ten Little Nigger Boys, and its impact on society
before explaining his recommendation on how to prepare
children for conversations on racism. The book that he
mentioned explains through counting how 10 Black boys die
through a series of death-related scenarios including bodily
injury, insects, animal encounters and stroke.
“According to the Atlanta Black Star, this book was one of
several nursery book series that taught White children how
to count in the late 1800s. Let’s take a minute, imagine a
world where we teach young White children how to read, write
and count by teaching them stories of how young Black boys
die tragic deaths. To prepare our children, have intentional
conversations about what they see and experience. Allow your
children to participate in rallies, demonstrations and
marches. Read books together that speak not only of our
struggle but of those who have and who continue to
courageously resist. Finally expose our children to historic
sites and museums,” explained Waters.
Jawanza Kunjufu, PhD was the opening speaker on the second
day of the conference. Kunjufu is a guest lecturer,
best-selling author and has been featured on several
television shows including BET and MSNBC. He explored
stereotypes with the audience that is connected to racism,
including education, parental involvement, and
Michael Waters, PhD
Barbara Love, PhD
Jawanza Kunjufu, PhD
“Why are Black girls suspended six times more than White
girls for the same infraction? Why do so many schools have
problems with Black female hairstyles? This past week a
father withdrew his Black student from school because the
teacher cut the student’s hair,” explained Dr. Kunjufu.
The conference also featured Yulise Reaves Waters, Esq. the
Deputy Director of Lone Star Justice Alliance. She was
awarded the National Association of Drug Court
Professionals’ Equity and Inclusion Award in 2018. The
conference involved local leaders to discuss racism trauma
in various systems.
The panel was moderated by Crystal Allen, the senior
director of Strategic Consulting of Casey Family Programs,
and included the following as panelists: Robin Reese,
executive director of Lucas County Children Services to
speak about child welfare; Marvin Whitfield, PhD, president
and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Ohio to
speak about law enforcement; Treva Jeffries, assistant
Transformational Leader of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion
of Toledo Public Schools to speak about education; Celeste
Smith, director of Government and Community Affairs for
Health Partners of Western Ohio to speak about healthcare,
and Judge Denise Cubbon, an administrative judge since 2007
to speak about juvenile justice.
The final speaker, Adrienne ElHai, director at The Cullen
Center for Children, Adolescents and Families at ProMedica
Toledo Children’s Hospital spoke about treating the trauma
and the root cause.
The conference provided moments of engagement with the
featured speakers and panel by including question and answer
portions, and specific chat function question for attendees
through the Hopin platform. The conference sponsors were:
YWCA of Northwest Ohio, Lucas County Children Services,
Owens Corning and Casey Family Program.
For additional information about the YWCA of Northwest
Ohio’s resources and updates on racial justice and civil