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YWCA announces racial justice breakfast keynote speaker & 2018 racial justice honorees

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CINCINNATI— YWCA Greater Cincinnati will host its 17th annual Racial Justice Breakfast on March 28, 2018 at Music Hall. The Racial Justice Breakfast is an important part of our efforts to create the social changes necessary to end systemic racism. Attendees explore racism’s personal and community-wide effects and hear from keynote speakers who have had a national impact on landmark civil rights cases. Individual tickets and corporate tables are available at multiple sponsorship levels. YWCA President/CEO Barbara Perez notes that “YWCA’s mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all is, unfortunately, more relevant now than ever.”

For more information and nomination forms, please visit or contact the YWCA at 513-241-7090.

This year’s keynote speaker is Fania Davis, a social justice activist, Civil Rights trial attorney and restorative justice practitioner who engages families, communities and systems to stop cycles of youth violence and incarceration. Her focus on social justice began during her childhood in segregated Birmingham, Alabama, where her friends were victims of the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, and has remained strong – from her role leading the international campaign to secure the release of her sister, Angela Davis, from prison in the 1970’s to her current focus on a truth and reconciliation process focused on the historic racial trauma that continues to haunt the United States.

Dr. Fania Davis, 2018 YWCA Racial Justice Keynote Speaker. Photo provided

The 2018 YWCA Racial Justice Honorees are Shakila Ahmad and Dr. Clarence G. Newsome. Shakila Ahmad is Chair of the Board and President of the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati, the first woman to serve in this capacity at such an institution in the U.S. She has dedicated herself to numerous civic and community causes for over 20 years. An active member of ICGC’s board of trustees since 1995, Ahmad was the first female and the youngest to serve at that time. She established ICGC’s Tours and Talks program to educate the community and its leaders about Islam and Muslims. She spearheaded the internationally aired A Visit to a Mosque in America educational DVD produced to increase understanding of Islam and the Muslim community.

Shakila Ahmad, 2018 YWCA Racial Justice Honoree. Photo provided

Ahmad is founding chair of ICGC’s Muslim Mothers Against Violence initiative. Along with other members, she brings people of all faiths together to explore peaceful and constructive means of conflict resolution and has led many sessions on bullying prevention. She is a dedicated supporter of interfaith and outreach efforts, and has served as board chair of BRIDGES for a Just Community and subsequent human relations work. She currently serves on the Muslim Jewish Advisory Council composed of national leaders focusing on strengthening hate crimes legislation and celebrating the contribution of Jewish and Muslim Americans.

Dr. Clarence G. Newsome is the immediate past president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the nation’s foremost organization created to champion freedom throughout the world. He continues to serve the organization as a board member and as one of its national and international spokespersons. In 2017, he founded the Institute for Inclusive Freedom and Anti-Biasing to share with the world his vision of inclusive freedom, which seeks to ensure that everyone has rights of equal kind, equal quality and equal measure.

Dr. Clarence G. Newsome, 2018 YWCA Racial Justice Honoree. Photo provided

Dr. Newsome’s career as an educator spans almost forty years. He is a past president of Shaw University, and previously served as dean of the School of Divinity at Howard University and as a member of the Duke Divinity School faculty. Known for his academic work in African American history and culture, as well as religious history, Dr. Newsome served as Secretary of the Corporation of the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, and as president of the Society for the Study of Black Religion, a nationwide think tank of scholars engaged in studying the religious experience of African Americans.

The year 2018 will represent YWCA Greater Cincinnati’s 150th anniversary of serving the most vulnerable in our community. YWCA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. YWCA Greater Cincinnati serves more than 34,000 women, men, and their families each year through programs focused in 3 key pillars: empowerment & economic advancement, health & safety, and racial justice & inclusion. YWCA Greater Cincinnati is a United Way partner agency. For information call the YWCA Greater Cincinnati at (513) 241-7090 or visit

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