YWCA holds rally highlighting racism

By Stefanie

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) - Get up and take a stand. That's the message on Friday as the YWCA of Greater Charleston is holding a 'Stand Against Racism' rally, urging people to take a stand against racism in the Lowcountry.

Executive Director of Charleston's YWCA Kathleen Rodgers says racism is an issue that's not just black and white.

"So many times when we say racism they think about black and white, but that's not really what we are looking at," Rodgers said. "We are looking at willingness to embrace diversity."

The YWCA's program will focus on equal rights for all during the Stand Against Racism rally. The event will be held simultaneously at YWCAs across the United States.

"Our times are changing and we are becoming more and more integrated, we really are, and it's about opening up your mind and accepting other people and other cultures," Rodgers said. "South Carolina was very much segregated and was leading one of the forefronts to Jim Crow laws and segregation laws."

Rodgers works with young people on a daily basis and says she sees that the climate is changing.

"I see them much more open-minded, we have been growing up in different times, and I think social media has had a lot to do with it," she said.

With a focus on human and civil rights, people at Friday's rally will be asked to recite a pledge that reads in part, "I will commit to a lifetime of promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all people in my community and in the world."

The Stand Against Racism rally runs from 3-6 p.m. Friday afternoon at the YWCA on Coming Street in downtown Charleston. The event is scheduled to include opening remarks by Mayor Joe Riley followed by food, music, speakers, and a rally walk.

The event is free and open to the public.