WJCS Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration

Published Friday, January 18, 2019

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” wrote Martin Luther King, Jr. To commemorate Martin Luther King Day 2019, the WJCS Undoing Racism Alliance hosted a special, staff wide program on January 16th focused on racism and its impact on the legal system in the United States. Keynote speaker, MaryPat Long, Region Chief of Northern Westchester, Legal Aid Society of Westchester County, outlined and gave specific examples of the disturbing effects of structural, conscious, and unconscious racism—that are part of our legal system, attitudes, and behaviors.

The Undoing Racism Committee at WJCS is composed of a dedicated group of staffers who organize educational sessions for employees to raise awareness of racism and its effects.

The WJCS Undoing Racism Committee began 17 years ago in an effort to address issues around diversity. It has evolved over the years. The purpose of the committee is to support WJCS to become educated and sensitive to the effect of race and racism within the work place and society in general. Through trainings, special events including the annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration, agency conferences and trainings, and opportunities for dialogue such as Lunch and Learn events, we hope to encourage open communication about racism and ways we can improve our work culture, service delivery, and our human relationships.

During Lunch ‘n’ Learn sessions, employees discuss issues relating to racism. Topics can include: Microaggressions, Unconscious Bias, and Structural Racism. “Our goal is to create opportunities to come together to have heartfelt discussions about racism—that help us in our personal lives and in our work with clients,” says Committee Member June McKenley, WJCS Trager Lemp Center. Ayanna Green, Hartsdale Support Staff/ Trager Lemp Center staff, adds ”I realized the real threat to justice is when we witness unjust acts and we do not stand up or speak out against them.”

WJCS is committed to combatting the damaging effects of racism and helping others stay informed, click here for resources to fight racism.


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