Racial Equity Garden

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YWCA Elgin Racial Equity Garden is a collaborative resource of articles, books, a website, and experiences that the YWCA Elgin Board of Directors, staff, and community members have found helpful in the understanding of racial justice issues.

The Racial Equity Garden strives to include resources on various racial and ethnic communities (African American, LGBTQ+, Asian, Latinx, and religious +).

We want to hear from you! Did you watch or read something on this list? Let us know what you thought, and what conversations it started with those in your household. Share on social using #RacialEquityGarden and tag @ywcaelgin. Have a favorite that’s not on this list? We’d love to hear it! Send us your favorite movies and more that are helpful in the understanding of racial justice issues: info@ywcaelgin.org.

Featured Submission

This month’s featured submission is “Once There Was a Tree,” written and recorded by Chasity Gunn,  former/inaugural Poet Laureate for Elgin.

More about Ms. Gunn: She is a native of northwest Alabama.  She received her MFA from Hamline University and a BA in Journalism from Belmont University. The author of How to Create a World (2018), her spoken word has been featured in the Bedlam Theatre’s 10X10 Fest and the Elgin Fringe Festival. A VONA summer workshop participant, she was awarded a Teach for Justice grant from Teachers Pay Teachers and a Cultural Arts Commission grant from the city of Elgin. Gunn is an English professor at Elgin Community College and the inaugural poet laureate of Elgin, Illinois. In 2021, she received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship.  Chasity frequently leads writing workshops for children to college students and performs throughout the  United States. She is the author of How to Create a World and a forthcoming chapbook, Wash Your Hands. Visit https://chasitywrites.wordpress.com/ to learn more about Chasity Gunn or https://kidswrite-106488.square.site/ to purchase one of her books.

Racial Equity Resources

Mature Readers

  • When Dasani Left Home by the New York Times – What happens when trying to escape poverty means separating from your family at 13? This article follows eight dramatic years in the life of Dasani, a girl whose imagination is as soaring as the skyscrapers near her Brooklyn shelter.

For the Whole Family

Mature Readers

  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo –  guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from police brutality and cultural appropriation to the model minority myth in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race, and about how racism infects every aspect of American life.
  • Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, and Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliot – Andrea Elliott follows eight dramatic years in the life of Dasani, a girl whose imagination is as soaring as the skyscrapers near her Brooklyn shelter. In this sweeping narrative, Elliott weaves the story of Dasani’s childhood with the history of her ancestors, tracing their passage from slavery to the Great Migration north. As Dasani comes of age, New York City’s homeless crisis has exploded, deepening the chasm between rich and poor. She must guide her siblings through a world riddled with hunger, violence, racism, drug addiction, and the threat of foster care. Out on the street, Dasani becomes a fierce fighter “to protect those who I love.” When she finally escapes city life to enroll in a boarding school, she faces an impossible question: What if leaving poverty means abandoning your family, and yourself?

For the Whole Family

Begins April 4, 2022

Our country was founded on the idea of building a government of the people, by the people, for the people. More than two hundred years later, this vision has yet to be fully achieved. The deep-seated systemic racism and inequities that disadvantage communities of color are still woven into the fabric of our institutions today — from civic engagement to economic development, from education to health care, and even the way people of color are portrayed in the media. We must work collectively to root out inequity in our communities and in the institutions that compose our society, and demand justice and equity.

That’s why during YWCA’s annual Stand Against Racism, we are rallying alongside our YWCA sisters across the nation to say We Can’t Wait: Equity and Justice Now!

Mature Viewers


For the Whole Family

  • Coming Together Workshops by Sesame Street – Sesame Street believes in a world where all children can reach their full potential and humanity—and do so in celebration of their races, ethnicities, and cultures. Together with experts, they’ve designed developmentally appropriate resources to help you guide your child to be smarter, stronger, and kinder—and an upstander to racism.
  • Racial Justice Pledge

  • Racial Justice Strategy

  • Racial Justice Toolkit

  • Anti-Racism Statement

  • Subversive Witness Article

  • YWCA Antiracism Discussion Guide

If you would like your event added to the YWCA Elgin Racial Equity Community Calendar, please click here.