YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester Launches Racial Equity Center

The YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester has launched the Westchester Center for Racial Equity, a dedicated space for working towards advancing racial equity in the county.

The Center is part of YWCA’s commitment to racial justice, a mission it has been pursuing for more than 90 years as it worked to eliminate racism, empower women, strengthen communities and stand up for social change. 

“We are delighted to create this safe place where we can provide the vision, the space and the community to sustain anti-racist work,” said Maria Imperial, CEO of the YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester. “We envision partnering with organizations committed to social change, and offering a platform for community resources, accountability and racial transformation. We also will help leaders and organizations create the necessary shift to become more anti-racist workplaces.”

The Center offers training programs, learning opportunities, consulting services, leadership development and will foster important conversations and relationships. It also plans to produce a scorecard to track progress in eliminating disparities in health, education, housing and other systems.

“These efforts require honesty, intentionality and ongoing work,” Imperial said. “Our process provides the framework to understand the context, history and manifestations of racism.” 

The Westchester County Board of Legislators provided some funding for the Center, and several other organizations have offered support, including Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Morgan Stanley, Pepsico and the United Way of Westchester and Putnam. 

“Regeneron is proud to join with the YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester as a founding partner in the Westchester Center for Racial Equity,” said Smita Pillai, chief diversity, equity & inclusion officer. “Together, we strive to help advance systemic changes needed to combat racism and address disparities that disproportionately impact communities of color. In many ways, racial equity is a crucial public health priority, and we are committed to bringing our resources, expertise and volunteers to bear to help empower communities and build a more fair and just society. We are pleased to support the Center’s development of a racial equity scorecard, which will be essential to driving community accountability towards equitable outcomes and measurable change.” 

Christian A. Templeman, vice president, financial advisor, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, said, “Collaboration is key when addressing complex issues like racial equity. The Center for Racial Equity provides a dedicated place for important collaborative work. Morgan Stanley looks forward to continuing to be an active partner in advancing racial equity in Westchester County.”

“At PepsiCo, we are committed to investing in the communities where we live, operate and serve. We are proud to support the YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester in the launch of the Westchester Center for Racial Equity,” said Tina Bigalke, PepsiCo global chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer. “Community action that drives structural change is an important step in the journey toward creating a more united, equitable and inclusive America.”

Tom Gabriel, president and CEO, United Way of Westchester and Putnam, added, “Through the Center for Racial Equity, the YWCA will continue working towards advancing racial equity in Westchester at a time when it is truly needed. The United Way is proud to support this important initiative because we believe that we are stronger together, and that it is only by being United that we can change the world for the better.”  

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