For our final activism story this month on In The Wings, we meet a woman who has dedicated most of her career to social justice work.
Paula Penebaker is president and CEO of the YWCA Southeast Wisconsin, a social services agency focused of job readiness and placement, among other community resources.
But there’s another half of the organization’s mission, rooted in eliminating systemic problems in Milwaukee — namely racism and institutional poverty.
Its hallmark program in that area is a class called Eliminating Racism, an intensive multi-week session that uncovers the roots of racism in the U.S. and equips students with life-changing knowledge for their own lives. The local YWCA also runs additional programs on racial justice, and provides resources to take action on a national level.
As for Penebaker’s role as an activist — she doesn’t march or protest much these days, but that doesn’t mean she’s not an activist. Instead, her daily work hinges on alleviating the day-to-day struggle of those living in poverty, while simultaneously attacking the systems in place keeping people poor. It’s a different kind of activism, she says.
Click the player below to hear our interview with Penebaker.