MISSION YWCA NEWSLETTER FALL 2021
RACE EXHIBIT OPEN HOUSE SPARKS CHANGE PAGE 6
POP-UP PANTRY BECOMES PERMANENT PAGE 9
FROM THE CEO’S DESK STEPPING INTO THE DIVIDE “When I came from the Reservation to Fargo for college, I couldn’t fathom that people could have two homes – one in the city and another at a lake. The poverty around me when I was growing up on the Reservation was so deep, it was beyond my imagination that anything like this was possible.” These words point to vast wealth and race gaps: in pre-pandemic America, 9.1% of White people lived in poverty in 2019. Poverty was double, 20.3%, for Native Americans and 18.8% for Black people. In North Dakota, the chasm is even greater, with consistently more than 30% of Native American people living below the poverty line. Explanations for this vary and depend on who you talk to. Some say disparities are the sole result of individual choices and personal effort. Yet scholars, social science researchers, and policy makers commonly point to centuries of public policies, from slavery to segregation to redlining, that allowed white households to accumulate wealth through opportunities denied to people of color. Page 2 | YWCA: On A Mission | Fall 2021
There is growing awareness that extreme trauma in the past has been biologically imprinted in DNA – generational trauma becoming a ghost of defeatism in the current generation. In North Dakota, we take pride in our belief that all people have opportunities to become successful. Yet, a first step is acknowledging that this hasn’t been true historically. A next step is learning and making efforts to talk with Black, Indigenous, and other people of color about their personal life experiences. YWCA has an informative and well-researched RACE Exhibit prepared by the Science Museum of Minnesota at our YWCA Administrative Office. We recently held a public open house and invite you to connect with us for viewing opportunities by groups. Secondly, our external and internal Racial Justice Committees are igniting new understanding by hosting community conversations and dialogues between people of color and our YWCA
team. There is candor about experiences – good and bad – in our communities. (The quote I shared came from one such conversation.) When we understand differing cultures and race norms, we can dig deeper to find failings in practices and policies, big and small, that exclude and disadvantage people. It’s time to ask the stories of all our neighbors and support them as readily as we do people of our own race. YWCA is working to grow our own and our community’s cultural competence that rests on equivocal data and the experiences of local people of many races. Sources: US Census, Poverty in the United States: 2019. Data for 2020 not yet available.
Erin Prochnow CEO, YWCA Cass Clay
Thursday, September 2 11am - 7pm | Delta by Marriott Join us and make a difference for women and children in our community! GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY at ywcacassclay.org/chocolate KIDS (
lots of chocolate · Silent Auction · celebrity servers YWCA: On A Mission | Fall 2021 | Page 3
MISSION MOMENT With the support of YWCA Advocates, families are moving from surviving to thriving as they empower themselves on their journey toward independence. Pictured is a note of thanks from a woman who recently called YWCA Emergency Shelter home.
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DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SURVIVORS NEED YOUR HELP. TELEPHONES ARE THEIR LIFELINE.
YWCA needs cell phones for women who’ve escaped domestic violence. An abuser’s last act of violence is often to destroy her cell phone, knowing she’ll feel entirely alone and vulnerable, and struggle to replace it. Your cell phone donation helps women stay in touch with family, make health appointments, apply for jobs, and keep contact with children’s schools…and sometimes law enforcement.
Hold a drive to collect Straight Talk phones and data where you work!
Keep survivors safe with an easy Straight Talk no-plan phone from any Walmart store or straighttalk.com.
YOUR DONATION WILL BE LIFE SAVING: PHONE FOR A SURVIVOR - The basic $39.99 phone is fine and works well. Other models are sometimes on sale, so spend according to your budget. 30 DAYS OF WORRY-FREE PHONE USE - $35 UNLIMITED DATA plan card. A PHONE + A MONTH – $75 for both items above means a phone for the future, plus the first month of connection for a new, safer life journey. PURCHASING POWER FOR PHONES/MINUTES – Purchase a Walmart gift card of any amount and we’ll use it to buy phones or data cards. *Above amounts do not include sales tax.
Donations of above items can be dropped off or shipped to YWCA Emergency Shelter,
Donations of above items can be dropped off or shipped to YWCA Emergency Shelter, 3000S SUniversity University Dr, Fargo, ND 58104 8AM - 5PM, Monday-Friday. 3000 Dr, Fargo, ND 58104 from 8AM -from 5PM, Monday-Friday. YWCA Cass Clay • 701-232-2547 • ywcacassclay.org
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RACE: ARE WE SO DIFFERENT?
Mini-exhibition about race welcomes the public at open house event Since 2018, the mini-exhibition RACE: Are We So Different? has travelled around the FargoMoorhead community until YWCA Cass Clay became its home base in fall of 2020.
Moorhead where YWCA hosted community dialogues in connection with the exhibit. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the RACE Exhibit was closed to visitors for most of 2020.
The exhibit is hosted at YWCA Administrative Offices (4650 38th Ave S, Suite 110, Fargo, ND 58104) in partnership with the Science Museum of Minnesota and Presenting Sponsors Microsoft and Sanford Health.
With a focus on the history of race and its very real consequences, the exhibit is a valuable resource for our community and opportunity to join together in the mission to eliminate racism.
Before settling at YWCA, the exhibit made stops at the Hjemkomst Center and Minnesota State University
A couple weeks ago, YWCA hosted an open house to celebrate the grand reopening of the RACE Exhibit and welcomed people of all
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ages for self-guided tours. Guests were invited to read displays and watch monitors on the global and regional history of race and leave behind thoughts and reflections on the interactive change wall. At YWCA, we believe community involvement and learning has the power to create meaningful change, and we invite you to join us in the mission to eliminate racism. Schedule a time to visit the exhibit with your friends, family, coworkers, or student group at ywcacassclay.org/racialjustice. Change starts here.
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO IGNITE CHANGE IN THE STAND AGAINST RACISM
Join our email newsletter Stay up to date on upcoming events and useful resources by subscribing to our racial justice email newsletter.
“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.” — Ijeoma Oluo
Look for opportunities to increase diversity Actively seek ways to increase diversity in your spheres of influence. Whether it’s in your workplace, PTA, book club, church, or other group - take the opportunity to bring diverse viewpoints to the table. Have conversations about race Conversations can help us better understand individual bias and racism, as well as consider how racism is part of our systems and institutions. Call out racism when you see it Let people know that racist “jokes” or comments are not okay. This can be uncomfortable, so consider saying “That joke doesn’t make sense to me, could you explain it?” -or- “You may be kidding, but this is what it means when you say that type of thing.” Remember, not saying anything or laughing along implies that you agree. Invite others to visit the exhibit Schedule a time to visit with your friends, family, coworkers, or organization!
Find it all at ywcacassclay.org/racial-justice
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SPONSORS HELP STUDENTS START THE SCHOOL YEAR This year, over 60 students at YWCA Emergency Shelter and supportive housing had back-to-school sponsors. Every child received a gift bag of new clothes and shoes chosen just for them by kind donors who shopped through our Sponsor-aStudent Program. Thank you to all the generous people who made this happiness possible!
FEMALE NAVAL PERSONNEL AND YWCA JOIN FOR FARGO NAVY WEEK LEADERSHIP EXCHANGE On July 23rd YWCA Cass Clay hosted Fargo Navy Week at the Emergency Shelter. Members of YWCA’s Leadership Team were honored to have meaningful discussion and serve alongside members of the U.S. Navy. Blue Angels Naval Flight Officer LT. Forster and Flight Surgeon LT. Borza participated in this special event, and together with other female sailors, assembled “Courage Baskets” for women calling YWCA Emergency Shelter home. This pivotal meetup of women leaders was part of Navy Week July 19-25 in Fargo and was the only local service project featuring the Blue Angels outside of the AirSho. Page 8 | YWCA: On A Mission | Fall 2021
WEST FARGO EATS NOW A LASTING HUNGER-RELIEF PROGRAM A pop-up pantry that took rise last year to answer pandemic food needs will have a new permanent home at Lutheran Church of the Cross in West Fargo. West Fargo Eats pantry is a joint project of YWCA Cass Clay, Lutheran Church of the Cross, Great Plains Food Bank, and Gate City Bank. Earlier collaboration between YWCA and Lutheran Church of the Cross answered a need for affordable housing when Grace Garden: A YWCA Supported Residence opened in 2019. Gate City Bank provided an essential $1.5 million over 10 years for that project, and now $120,000 to permanently establish West Fargo Eats.
Last summer’s pop-up pantry operated from the back of a refrigerated truck in the church parking lot, supplying 3,700 people with 55,000 pounds of food. One particular Friday, the pop-up provided food for 613 individuals in 90 minutes. “The need was even more significant than we anticipated,” says Rev. Joel Baranko, lead pastor at Lutheran Church of the Cross, a 2,100-member congregation. “While we knew our efforts were helping, we believed an even greater impact could be made if we offered a permanent solution.” Construction will convert what was once a church garage
into West Fargo Eats pantry. Opening this fall, it will be operated entirely by volunteers. Rather than pre-boxed food, the pantry will offer shelves of food for people to choose what they prefer, more respectful to people experiencing food insecurity. People will gain three days’ supply of canned goods, cereal, rice, noodles, bread, dairy products and protein/ meat. Hygiene items will also be offered. YWCA’s on-site Food Pantry continues to operate weekdays at YWCA Emergency Shelter. It is managed by our Kitchen Coordinator and possible through dedicated volunteers who box and distribute food each afternoon.
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Our Deepest Gratitude A sincere thank you to those who have honored someone they care about with a gift to YWCA. Anonymous in memory of Bob Alin Julie Alin in memory of Bob Scheel Rebecca Barker in honor of Kim and Connor Radebaugh Jodi and Paul Bergren in honor of Kim and Connor Radebaugh Lois Briggs in honor of Betty Lou Scott Elizabeth Brooks in memory of Bob Scheel Phyllis Crowe in honor of Charles and Dorothy Albright Mary English-Luistro and Allan Luistro in memory of Bob Scheel Linda and Kenneth Evenson in memory of Lolita Koppinger Friends in honor of Kim and Connor Radebaugh
Billie Jo Hayes in honor of Kimberly Morris and Connor Radebaugh Shannon Hayes in honor of Kim Morris and Connor Radebaugh Katharine and Ross Johnson in memory of Robert Scheel Colleen Kaeding in memory of George Mallick Margaret Kaler in memory of Bill Harbeke Jeannie and Pat Koppinger in memory of Lolita Koppinger The Koppinger Family in memory of Lolita Koppinger Karen Kruse in memory of Dr. Tom Askland Vanessa Kummer in honor of Jamie Gunderson Vanessa Kummer in honor of Alice Pellman Connie Laite in memory of Orlan Lorass
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Jeff Morris in honor of Kim and Connor Radebaugh Jane Nissen in honor of Susan Nissen Charla Pawlik in memory of Bob Scheel Noell Reinhiller in memory of Barbara Sidler Lianne Rockstad in memory of Helene Cole Lianne Rockstad in memory of Mildred Karlgaard Carol Spurbeck in memory of Bob Scheel Annella Thompson in honor of Connie and John Tate Bev Tompers in memory of Lolita Koppinger Gary Weinberger in honor of Maria Weinberger Xi Alpha Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi in memory of Vickie Tessin
TOP NEEDS You can donate the things women need on their journeys to independence. The families we serve need:
OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH Domestic violence is the primary reason over 85% of women arriving at YWCA’s doors are seeking shelter. In addition to providing safety and helping meet basic needs, women and families at YWCA have the support of a YWCA Advocate to walk alongside them on their journey toward independence and empowerment.
Hygiene Items (conditioner, shampoo, lotion, etc.)
New Bras & Underwear (for current sizes needed, see YWCA website)
Cleaning Products Paper Products (Kleenex, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.)
Children’s Shoes (all sizes) Donations can be dropped off at YWCA Emergency Shelter Monday-Friday, 8AM-5PM, or shipped to 3000 S. University Drive, Fargo, ND 58103. Our full needs list and a link to YWCA’s Amazon Wish List can be found at ywcacassclay.org/urgent-needs
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U.S. Postage PAID Fargo, ND Permit #890
YWCA Cass Clay 4650 38th Ave. S, Suite 110 Fargo, ND 58104-8529
Safety for victims of domestic violence and homelessness In July, area law enforcement responded to more 911 calls for domestic violence than any July in the past five years. These 402 calls, over 10 per day, point to why we do our work in the community. Emergency shelter is a critical safety resource, sometimes the difference between life and death when women flee abusers. They can leave knowing they will not go hungry, or without a roof overhead, or left without basic needs met. In the first half of 2021: • 680 women and children found safety at YWCA Emergency Shelter • 10,785 nights of shelter were provided • 192 adults and children grew empowered and worked toward their goals in YWCA Supportive Housing • 73% of those leaving YWCA Supportive Housing secured their own independent housing This safety - and hope for the future - are here because you support YWCA!