The YWCA national mission states: The YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. “To continue our effort to engage the community in our mission, we are scheduling Spring Forums on the social justice issue of racism,” said Andrea Lamer, the new Executive Director of the YWCA of Alton. “The purpose of the series is to raise the awareness of racial disparity and its ramifications,” she continued.

Rudy Wilson, a retired education professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville for 38 years will engage the audience as an indentured servant in the 1800’s in the free state of Illinois. During the first evening, March 22 at 6:30, he will share the history of racism from Africa to Alton. ”Racism cannot be understood or eliminated without knowledge of its very roots,” suggested Professor Wilson. Discussion will follow the presentation moderated by a member of the Racial Justice Advisory committee of the YWCA of Alton.

As an added attraction for the evening, the drawing for an e-reader will be held for those who have completed the on-line survey and joined the YWCA by March 21. Refreshments will be served.

The three spring forums dates and topics are:

  • ·March 22 - Racism from Africa to Alton
  • ·April 19 - Debilitating Internalized Racism
  • ·May 17 - What is Institutional Racism

All the forums will be held at the YWCA, 314 North Third, Alton at 6:30 p.m. "Parents are urged to bring their school-age children to be able to discuss racism as a family. Only by increasing our awareness and understanding of the devastation of racism, can we hope to eliminate it, stated Ms. Lamer.

The YWCA of Alton, established in 1918, is part of the largest and oldest women’s organization in the world and a member of the United Way of Greater St. Louis. From the YWCA’s founding in 1858, the organization has taken a leadership role in civil and human rights issues. For more information visit the YWCA of Alton, at 304 E. 3rd St., Alton, IL; (618) 465-7774, or

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