This YWCA mission statement was adopted by the General Assembly in 2009:
YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
YWCA Greater Cleveland is committed to the liberation of all people marginalized by their race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, housing status, or religion.
Who We Are
At the 1970 YWCA national convention, Dorothy Height, the first National Director of the YWCA’s Center for Racial Justice, led the charge to adopt the YWCA’s One Imperative:
The elimination of racism wherever it exists, and by any means necessary.
Now, over 50 years later, the YWCA of Greater Cleveland remains solely committed to its mission: Eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, and dignity for all.
These are the moments–when the One Imperative was declared and again today–that call for bold leadership. The YWCA of Greater Cleveland answers that call and dares to lead.
We honor our history, our 150-year movement for equity, inclusivity, and opportunity, through our continuing mission to eliminate racism and empower women, and with a renewed and deeper focus on the aspirations, challenges, and potential of girls and women, especially girls and women of color.
We do so because the YWCA of Greater Cleveland has long understood that race and gender must be addressed, together, in order to secure a society that ensures respect and dignity for all. Racial and gender justice must take center stage in the struggle and must undergird all of the YWCA’s work-not merely as a program or service, but as an animating philosophy and practice that is incorporated into every aspect of our shared organizational life. Placing racial and gender justice as the center of our work is not only a moral imperative, it is also a strategic imperative: by emphasizing the potential of women and girls of color, we believe we can achieve the greatest overall improvements in well-being for all women and girls, since women and girls of color constitute a majority of women and girls in Greater Cleveland and since women and girls of color experience the most profound and entrenched marginalization, discrimination, and oppression.
Fueled by the fierce urgency of now, and in response to the deep needs of this historical moment, the YWCA will marshal and coordinate its collective resources to create transformative community change, recognizing that such change must be integrated, strategic, and disruptive. We must have a transformational focus on women and girls of color-not as the only community served by the YWCA of Greater Cleveland, but as the community whose liberation most ties the YWCA’s past to its future, and the community whose liberation will most catalyze other forms and realizations of peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.