YWCA USA History
Throughout our History, the YWCA has been at the forefront of most major movements in the United States as a pioneer in race relations, labor union representation, and the empowerment of women.
The First Association in the U.S., Ladies Christian Association was formed in New York City.
The first African-American YWCA branch opened in Dayton, OH.
The first YWCA for Native American women opened at the Haworth Institute in Chilocco, OK.
The United States of America, England, Sweden and Norway together created the World YWCA, which today is working in over 125 countries.
Interracial Charter adopted by the 17th National Convention.
The National Board of the YWCA created the Office of Racial Justice to lead Civil Rights efforts.
The YWCA National Convention, adopted the One Imperative: “To thrust our collective power towards the elimination of racism, wherever it exists, by any means necessary.”
The YWCA National Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism began in response to the beating of Rodney King, and African-American, the acquittal of four white Los Angeles police officers accused of the crime, and the subsequent riots and unrest across the country.
The YWCA Week without Violence was created as a nationwide effort to unite people against violence in communities. The annual observance is held the third week of October.
Igniting the Collective Power of the YWCA to Eliminate Racism, the YWCA USA’s Summit on Eliminating Racism, was held in Birmingham, AL.
The YWCA celebrates its Sesquicentennial Anniversary with the launch of the “Own It” campaign. Focused on igniting a new generation of 22 million young women aged 18-34 to get involved with important issues facing women and the country today.
Today over 2 million people participate in YWCA programs at more than 1,300 sites across the United States. Globally, the YWCA reaches 25 million women and girls in 125 countries.
YWCA Oklahoma City History
YWCA Oklahoma City organized with 600 charter members and an annual budget of $6,688.70.
Employment and social services added to programs
Physical education department organized
Prayer meetings held to address financial problems
Committees included: devotional, Bible study, missionary, education, physical education, hygiene, library and entertainment.
Incorporated as a non-profit organization.
Moved to 116 West 2nd Street (Later named Robert S. Kerr Avenue.)
Admitted men to the cafeteria.
Began YWCA Orchestra.
Formed the Interracial Committee.
Programs included Bible studies, YWCA choir, china painting, cooking, garment making, fancy work, Christmas gifts, Millinery, recreation camps for business, Girls at Camp Ione year round and Summer camp at Camp Idle Wild (never fully developed)
Residence established for permanent and transient guests at 131 E. 4th St. (later known as Florence Apts.) with rates of $1.00 per night lodging, $0.30 for breakfast, and $0.50 for dinner.
Annual budget was $24,512.57
Voted not to support the Woman’s Suffrage Movement
Quarters rented at 225-227 Northwest 1st (later known as Park Avenue) for its headquarters, Lansdown Cafeteria and residence hall in addition to the 131 Northeast 4th location
Nineteenth Amendment allowed women to vote.
Opened first branch located at 430 East 2nd Street
Included 272 African American women as members.
Became the center for social and community events, providing free lodging and employment services serving more than 5,000 girls monthly.
Cafeteria fed more than ½ million people annually.
Served as a center for Red Cross, USO, War Drive, First Aid classes, and Soldier Recreation activities.
Building at 300 North Stiles leased and Stiles Street YWCA Branch opened (predecessor to McFarland Branch)
“American Room” Cafeteria at 320 Park Avenue opened as the first cafeteria in Oklahoma City without racial restrictions.
Land purchased for the new McFarland Branch at 1701 N. Eastern (later named Martin Luther King Blvd.)
McFarland Branch building completed.
Opened Women’s Resource Center at 722 NW 39th to address the changing needs of women and initiated 24-hour Crisis Telephone Hotline and counseling services for sexual assault victims.
Initiated Battered Women’s Crisis Telephone Hotline.
Purchased a 3-bedroom residential home at 135 NW 19th and opened Passageway, the city’s first shelter exclusively serving women and children victimized by domestic violence.
Third Capital Campaign began to double capacity of Passageway Shelter and provide additional space for Crisis Services Program.
Opened Inez Kinney Gaylord Passageway Shelter for Battered Women (60-bed capacity.)
Opened Administrative Offices and Crisis Intervention Services at Gaylord Community Service Center, 2460 Northwest 39th Street
Began co-sponsorship of Positive Tomorrows Transitional Center for Children of Homeless Families located at Gaylord Community Service Center.
Began Domestic Violence Victim Assistance Program in partnership with the Oklahoma City Police Department in the Municipal Courts Building for the City of Oklahoma City.
Gaylord Hand-in-Hand Learning Center opened in April primarily to serve children of YES! and Passageway.
YWCA SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) Program for Oklahoma County established as collaborative partnership with Oklahoma City, Midwest City, and Edmond Police Departments; OK County District Attorney; and Midwest Regional, Integris Baptist and Integris Southwest Medical Centers.
YWCA logo changed, stating mission as branding image.
Developed Resource Advocacy Program to assist clients in residential programs with job training, education, housing, and community resources (predecessor to EEP).
Launched Purple Sash - a Fashion for Courage Event as an annual fundraiser with over 300 attendance and $100,000 raised.
As part of national changes, began more intentional focus on mission-driven programs and meeting new Hallmark program for racial justice and women’s economic empowerment, and staff/community education about mission.
Hosted first Legislative Advocacy training with presentations by former (4-time) Speaker of the House Jim Barker, Representative Rebecca Hamilton, Senator Debbe Leftwich, OCADVSA Executive Director Marcia Smith, OCADVSA Legislative Chair Ann Lowrance, and State Representative aide Linda Richardson.
Piloted Domestic Violence Nurse Examiner (DVNE) program at Passageway in partnership with Oklahoma City Police Department.
Increased Legislative Advocacy, with more than 17 staff and Board members attending Capitol Blitz Days, Legislative Awareness Day, and individual sessions with legislators at the capitol.
Co-sponsored First Annual Day of Prayer in Oklahoma to end Violence Against Women
Established OWN (Oklahoma Women’s Network) website in order to provide a central link to women-owned business, women-serving agencies/business, and women political candidates in OK
Expanded services for children traumatized by domestic violence.
Began using Hallmark Program: Reading to End Racism at Gaylord Branch.
Moved Gaylord programs to the jurisdiction of Oklahoma Office of Attorney General-passed certification exam with unprecedented 100% compliance.
Opened first retail venture, “Our Sisters’ Closet”, a resale shop in South Oklahoma City.
Founded Office of Economic Empowerment at McFarland Branch