To the Editor:

Thank you to The Darien Times for the article on the upcoming virtual visit of author and educator Debby Irving to Darien on Monday, July 13.

The article provides context of "how and why" Debby approaches the subjects of race, privilege and bias. The YWCA Darien/Norwalk is excited to be co-sponsoring this program which directly addresses our mission, which is very simply: to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.

While this type of anti-racism work and programming is not new to the YWCA, what is new in Darien is the depth and breadth of voices being heard, the number of individuals willing to participate in peaceful vigils, marches and protests, and the volume of messages we are receiving from those wanting to learn about the topic of racism and take concrete action to eliminate it in our community.

Even the most compassionate communities cannot eradicate racism until we examine the historical context, why “whiteness” is a key factor, and how bias and privilege play a role. We can’t change a problem when we don’t name it and see it for what it is.

The discussion is not being offered to shame anyone, or make assumptions about beliefs, but to give people in our community the opportunity to see the story of learning and growth from the point of view of someone they may relate to.

Debby Irving will share her journey of discovery and learning in the hopes that people come with open minds and open hearts to obtain tools to work with, as we all strive for positive change.

We, along with our community partners, hope that this is just the start of an ongoing dialogue that highlights the compassion and empathy we know is so present here in Darien and makes us an even stronger, and more inclusive community.

Judy Phillips

President/CEO YWCA Darien/Norwalk