Greenwich YWCA operates the YWCA Greenwich Center for Equity and Justice (CEJ), which is meant to embody the organizations "intersectional mission” of eliminating racism and empowering women.
As a reminder, the term intersectionality was coined by Kimberle Crenshaw to offer a way of describing the simultaneous oppressions of race, gender, and sexuality. It is deeply connected to the concept of Critical Race Theory (CRT), of which Crenshaw is considered to be a key architect.
The “intersectional mission” of the YWCA seems to suggest that it is deliberately undertaking efforts to promote CRT.
About CEJ’s Work
CEJ offers consulting services, professional development and training designed to help clients “activate equity throughout their organizations”. The YWCA definition of equity is based on the work of critical race theorist Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and his divisive concept of antiracism. Toward that end, the CEJ helps clients to rethink their entire organization, including policies, priorities and culture, all through the lens of racial and gender equity.
The group's services are aimed at bringing “systemic change” to an organization’s racial and gender equity efforts, and ensuring that equitable outcomes are obtained.
CEJ also offers workshops on Antiracism and Gender Equity through its DIVE program.
The DIVE workshop series includes four, 90-minute sessions and can be conducted in person or virtually. The format of these CRT training sessions includes video instruction, group discussion and reflection. From YWCA’s website:
- Session 1, Diversity Awareness: Participants will explore their personal identity development, reflect on how their identities have shaped their thoughts and behaviors, and discuss how systems of power can cause their identities to be privileged and/or marginalized.
- Session 2, Managing Implicit Bias: Participants will deepen their understanding of inclusion, unearth how bias impacts their interactions and decision-making, and discuss strategies for managing moments of bias when they occur.
- Session 3: Everyday Anti-Racism: Participants will explore concepts of race, racism, and antiracism; briefly discuss the legacy of racism in the United States and how it impacts everyone; and identify actions they will take toward antiracism.
- Session 4: Exploring Equity: Participants will discover the important difference between equality and equity and discuss opportunities for equity within their organizational context or community.
CEJ’s Relationship With The Town of Greenwich
Previously, Greenwich Patriots (GP) had alleged the Town of Greenwich trained employees on CRT — a claim that was fiercely denied by First Selectman Fred Camillo — so GP submitted a Freedom of Information Act Request to obtain responsive records about any “implicit bias” training conducted by the Town.
It turns out the Greenwich Department of Human Services (GHDS) hired YWCA staff to provide DIVE Training to GDHS staff. The training, which included “implicit bias”, took place virtually and was facilitated by YWCA staff over the course of 4 sessions in 2020 and 2021.
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The dates that the GDHS staff received this training were 12/10/20, 4/15/21, 5/6/21 and 6/16/21. Two training documents were included with the FOIA response.
The document from Session One introduces The Diversity Wheel, which is vaguely reminiscent of the CASEL wheel used in social emotional learning programs. The document from Session Four covers personal work and reflections, and also includes links to three resources: Racial Equity Tools, Equity and Inclusion: The Roots of Organizational Well-Being, and The Water of Systems Change. There was no contract for the training, and instead the agreement was simply payment per session. The four invoices totaled $1,000.
Erin Crosby, the YWCA’s first Director of Women’s Empowerment and Racial Justice, facilitated three of the four sessions.
Ms. Crosby also provided a condensed version of the training to the First Selectman’s Diversity Committee (FSDC) at the 4/6/21 meeting.
Here is the link to the agenda and minutes for that meeting. Some of the concepts discussed included that being closer to whiteness gives you increased access, being further from whiteness reduces access, how white skin protects, the constant worry and psychological burden of being in black skin, and the four dimensions of racism (institutional, interpersonal, structural, and systemic).
According to GHDS, “to the best of our knowledge, no payment was made for these services” to the FSDC.
DIVE Training and Critical Race Theory
Session Four of DIVE training referenced the Racial Equity Tools resource, which provides definitions for many of the terms used in the training and on CEJ’s website, including: antiracism, critical race theory, internalized racism, intersectionality, racial equity, racial justice, white privilege and more.
The following definition was offered for CRT:
CRT is not a noun, but a verb. It cannot be confined to a static and narrow definition but is considered to be an evolving and malleable practice. It critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers. CRT also recognizes that race intersects with other identities, including sexuality, gender identity, and others. CRT recognizes that racism is not a bygone relic of the past. Instead, it acknowledges that the legacy of slavery, segregation, and the imposition of second-class citizenship on Black Americans and other people of color continue to permeate the social fabric of this nation.
After reading this definition, one can only wonder how DIVE training is anything but CRT.
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