I am Jill Mapstead, the very proud Board Chair of the YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix. As Board Chair it has been my extreme honor and privilege to work closely with our amazing CEO and staff in bringing our mission, Eliminating Racism and Empowering Women, to our community. I have enjoyed the past 2 years as Chair, in bringing mission-driven events and programs to you and we have grown our board to represent the community we serve, women of color, women of all ages, women who are passionate leaders in our community.
Participating on the board of the YW and as a member of the YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix has been such a joy…. It is a joy to see our community more engaged than ever before, a joy to attract community leaders who are emboldened by our mission, a joy to see ‘change makers’ arise and stand together as a unified voice for women in the Valley (and by extension, our nation). As a member of the YWCA this same joy is available for you.
This connection to community extends far beyond our state, and even our nation’s borders. We are a part of a national association, YWCA USA and the World YWCA and collectively we are on a BOLD MISSION for a BRIGHT FUTURE for the women of the world, our National Conference theme this year. This past week, our YWCA participated in the National Conference of the YWCA in Washington, DC where we met with our Arizona Senators and Congresspersons to advocate on your behalf to ensure that your voices are heard, that the issues that women face are not given a backseat on the national agenda, and to ensure we have a voice and a place at the table for Eliminating Racism, Empowering Women and Ensuring Peace, Justice, Freedom and Dignity for All. It was both humbling and powerful to see the ‘persimmon scarves’ (YWCA brand color) around the necks of hundreds of us on Capital Hill working collectively for the benefit of us all.
While I speak of the joy in participating with the YWCA, I cannot neglect the seriousness of our work toward racial and social justice. The stories shared by YWCA members and constituents are YOUR stories, the very real need for YWCA programs and services are YOUR needs, the action and work that is tirelessly delivered in the community is YOUR work. Why am I a member of the YWCA Metropolitan Phoenix? Because collectively we make a difference in the lives of women, collectively we bridge the gap between public sentiment and public policy, collectively we know that representation matters, collectively we do more than march together, we RUN together. We know that “if we are not at the table, we are on the menu.”