Young Professional Sees TORCH Event as a Way to "Continue the Conversation"
GenYWCA Committee Member Joyce Murungi’s first involvement with the YWCA of Minneapolis came as a result of being invited to the annual Circle of Women event. "I heard very good reviews about the event, not to mention the beautiful purses on auction, so I decided to attend," she says. "This event was an eye-opener to the activities of the YWCA and I wanted to learn and be involved more with this community -- a community that empowers women, girls and people of color -- in many aspects of their lives.
Joyce says that her favorite part of belonging to the YWCA community is "being surrounded by people who have a genuine interest in making the lives of the underserved communities better, be it in early childhood education, nutrition and health, empowerment of women and girls and racial justice for all." This has led to her participation in GenYWCA and in joining the planning committee for Thursday's TORCH Community event.
"I think of my participation in the TORCH event as an extension of my takeaway from the [YWCA of Minneapolis’] It's Time to Talk: Forums on Race event," she explains. "In order for change to happen, it has to start with me! We have to start having these 'difficult' conversations -- and what a forum the TORCH event will provide: A diverse group of young people who will be the leaders of tomorrow in Minnesota, talking about issues once considered taboo."
The It's Time to Talk event, held annually in October, gave Joyce the opportunity to connect with people across sectors with both similar and differing values than hers and have thought-provoking conversations about race and racism. "I wanted to learn these skills because I have been frustrated and stuck in conversations with other people who have said racist things, or exhibited a misunderstanding about the history of race in this country, or about immigrants and their cultures," she explains.
Joyce described the event as providing a "safe platform" to talk about issues that are often times uncomfortable and avoided, and utilizing an effective "circle" dialogue that eliminated the imbalance of authority that occurs in many similar discussions.
"The event provided a challenge to my perceived role as an advocate for the voiceless in society who are subjected to discrimination on the basis of race, gender or ethnicity/ancestry," she says. "The conversation needs to continue beyond of the safety of the event."
The conversation continues this week, as GenYWCA participates in the TORCH Community event on Thursday, February 28.