Racial-justice program to launch this fall

ROCHESTER — The YWCA of Rochester is leading the way to building relationships among people of different races and ethnic backgrounds.

Upon the heels of its "Stand Again Racism" initiative, YWCA officials announced the creation of "Person2Person: Strengthening Our Community One Relationship at a Time" during an Aug. 5 press conference at the Rochester Business Alliance.

The program, which is a racial-justice program aimed at pairing people from different areas of the Rochester region, will launch this fall with a $133,500 grant from The Rochester Area Community Foundation. Other partners include the RBA and Rochester Institute of Technology.

"We want to create connections among individuals across races and ethnicities," said Jean Carroll, YWCA president and chief executive officer.

To make sure the program is sustainable, more than 20 community leaders will serve as an advisory council and recommend individuals to participate, she said. The initial group of 60 people will meet as pairs and in clusters with facilitators for support over a nine-month period.

"We need to be a community that knows each other, trusts each other and helps each other succeed," noted Jennifer Leonard, the community foundation’s president and chief executive officer.

The program’s strategy is basic but helps the community move out of its comfort zone, added Daisy Rivera-Algarin, an economic development specialist for the city.

"It is no different than offering a pie to a neighbor," she said. "This is where you start."

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