News

YWCA Allentown Logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Contact:

Sarah E. Barrett

sbarrett@ywcaallentown.org

(610) 871-5060

YWCA Allentown to Launch All-New Stand Against Racism Challenge

Allentown, PA, March 1, 2022 – YWCA Allentown is partnering with YWCA USA to host the 2022 Stand Against Racism Challenge this April. Previously known as the 21-Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge, the Stand Against Racism Challenge: A Virtual Community of Growth is the same program developed by YWCA and adapted nationwide in recent years.

Last year more than 350 Lehigh Valley residents participated in the challenge. YWCA Allentown anticipates engaging with more than 500 participants in 2022. Sarah Barrett, Executive Director of YWCA Allentown explains, “We welcome adults and teens in the Lehigh Valley to share in our mission to eliminate racism and empower women by participating in the Challenge. Antiracism work requires us to actively learn about and advocate for racial justice in our community. The Stand Against Racism will deliver thought-provoking content, spark brave conversations, and encourage advocacy beginning at the local level.”

The Stand Against Racism Challenge is an exciting opportunity to dive deep into racial equity and social justice. This year, YWCA Allentown will be investigating Critical Race Theory, Living Wage, Representation Film and Television, and Reproductive Justice. Participants will be able to download an app for their phone or visit YWCA Allentown’s Challenge website to engage with curated articles, podcasts, videos, activities and more. The SAR Challenge goes live Monday, April 4th, and continues (Monday –Friday) through May 2nd.

Participation in an activity like this helps participants discover how racial injustice and social injustice impact their community, to connect with one another, and to identify action steps to dismantle racism and other forms of discrimination. This is an exciting opportunity to join a learning community dedicated to racial equity and social justice.

Registration for the challenge is open now on YWCA Allentown website at ywcaallentown.org/21-day-challenge. YWCA will also be facilitating conversation in the Stand Against Racism Facebook group, where participants can discuss the content and engage with others taking the challenge.

YWCA Allentown wants to thank and acknowledge Dr. Eddie Moore Jr., Debby Irving, and Dr. Marguerite Penick for their leadership in the field of racial equity as exhibited in their 21 Day Racial Equity and Habit Building Challenge and the movement they helped to initiate. YWCA’s content is independently designed, written, and curated by YWCA staff as part of racial equity and social justice programs offered to the community.

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About YWCA Allentown: YWCA Allentown is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen our community. YWCA Allentown is part of an international movement serving over 2 million in the United States and 25 million worldwide. To learn more about our work, visit www.ywcaallentown.org.

Stand Against Racism Challenge 2022 Press Release

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YWCA Allentown Logo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Contact:

Sarah E. Barrett

sbarrett@ywcaallentown.org

(610) 871-5060

YWCA Allentown Welcomes New President to Board of Directors

Allentown, PA, February 24, 2020 – The YWCA Allentown is proud to welcome a new President to its Board of Directors.

Cheryl Johnson Watts, who joined the board in 2019, was approved unanimously by existing board members at the organization’s January 2022 meeting. Ms. Johnson Watts brings to this role her advocacy skills, wide ranging experience in politics, production, and finance, along with a deep commitment to community connection.

“It is an honor to serve the YWCA Allentown in achieving the continuous goal of empowering women and eliminating racism,” said Johnson Watts. “Since the 1850s, the YWCA has continually challenged itself to evolve to meet those goals. I look forward to leading that process here in Allentown.”

Ms. Johnson Watts succeeds Mar Haeussler, who served as YWCA Allentown’s board president since 2017.

“I am honored to be able to ‘pass the baton’ on to Cheryl to lead the YWCA Allentown,” said Haeussler, immediate past president of the YWCA Allentown board. “I have gotten to know Cheryl in several capacities as our paths have crossed in multiple areas of community development. I remember fondly our trip down to boathouse row to watch the first group of Allentown students involved in the YWCA’s rowing program with Lehigh University compete in the 2017 Philadelphia Youth Regatta. With Cheryl’s commitment to the YWCA’s mission and her skills as a leader, I have full confidence that she will lead our organization to the next level.”

Ms. Johnson Watts is a Consultant for the PA Coalition of Public Charter Schools. In addition to her board work at YWCA Allentown, she serves as Third Vice President and Education Chair for the NAACP Allentown Branch.

“We are excited to welcome Cheryl as our new Board President. At YWCA Allentown, our mission of eliminating racism and empowering women drives what we do every day,” said Sarah Barrett, Executive Director of YWCA Allentown. “We value and seek out leadership from those who are committed to racial, social, and gender justice in their professional and personal lives to help guide our organization. We are grateful for their commitment to our organization, our mission, and our work to ensure equity and justice for all.”

Full Bio for Ms. Johnson Watts follows.

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About YWCA Allentown: YWCA Allentown is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen our community. YWCA Allentown is part of an international movement serving over 2 million in the United States and 25 million worldwide. To learn more about our work, visit www.ywcaallentown.org.

Full Bio

CJW HeadshotCheryl Johnson Watts

Cheryl Johnson Watts is an advocate for Education Reform and Economic Advancement. The Women’s March of 2017 inspired her to include politics in her advocacy toolkit. Cheryl was elected to the Allentown School District Board of Directors in November of 2017. She also served as the PA Regional Organizing Director for Mike Bloomberg 2020 for Congressional District 7. Prior to political involvement, Cheryl acquired over 20 years of experience connecting people and creating opportunities by producing conferences and special events in the U.S., Europe, and Latin America for MTV Networks, the National Basketball Association, her own consulting practice, and Euromoney Institutional Investor’s IMN. Cheryl was born and raised in Queens, New York. She moved to Allentown, Pennsylvania in 2012 while working as a Financial Advisor for Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. The sense of community she experienced during Hurricane Sandy let her know that Allentown would be her permanent home. Ms. Johnson Watts is Third Vice President and Education Chair for the NAACP Allentown Branch. She has also served on the Lehigh Career and Technical Institute’s Joint Operating Committee (2019 – 2021) and volunteered with the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission’s Transportation Multi-modal Working Group (2017 – 2021). She served on the City of Allentown Human Relations Commission in 2019. Cheryl graduated from Princeton University in 1985 and has volunteered on their Alumni Schools Committee since 1987. She resides in Allentown’s West End with her husband Michael Watts.

Cheryl Johnson Watts Board President Press Release