Day of Commitment & Stand Against Racism Walk

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Every spring the YWCA partners with diversity champions across Central New York to host the Stand Against Racism Walk and the Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism and Promote Diversity, presented by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. These events are an opportunity to advocate for diversity, equity, inclusion, and access. By dedicating ourselves to progress, we strengthen our community today and tomorrow.

Stand Against Racism Walk

Wednesday, April 26 | YWCA to City Hall

Stay tuned for details regarding this free event! *Please note that the date has changed from April 25th to April 26th.* 

25th Annual Day of Commitment: Until Justice Just Is

Thursday, April 27 | Marriott Syracuse Downtown

The Day of Commitment is an annual event that will run from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, at the Marriott Syracuse Downtown. The day is divided into two segments: training sessions and learning opportunities in the morning, followed by a luncheon and award ceremony in the Persian Terrace. Participants have the option to attend just one or both segments of the day.

The morning training will kick off with a keynote address by Dr. Gina Cuyler, Vice President Health Equity and Community Investments at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Participants will then break out into two groups, either Cohort 1 or Cohort 2, where they will participate in DEI-focused workshops and panel discussions. Topics will include health equity & social determinants of health, trauma-informed care for Syracuse youth, and barriers to justice in our community.

Following the half-day training, a celebratory luncheon will be held in the Persian Terrace. Guests will enjoy a plated lunch, hear a keynote address by Rasheada Caldwell, and celebrate the 2023 YWCA Champion of Diversity Awardees!

Ticket sales are now live on Eventbrite. CLICK HERE TO GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY!



8:00 – 8:30 a.m. Registration & Refreshments

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. Welcome Remarks & Morning Keynote (by Dr. Gina Cuyler, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield)

9:10 a.m. – 10:10 a.m. Workshop 1

10:20 – 11:20 a.m. Workshop 2

11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. Luncheon


During the registration process, participants will have the option to choose which cohort they prefer (Cohort 1 or Cohort 2). Each cohort will consist of two workshops. The choices are:

  • Cohort 1: Health Equity

    • Workshop 1: Cost of Health Disparities
      • Led by Dr. Gina Cuyler, Christy Simoncelli & Ndoye Maty | Excellus BlueCross BlueShield

    • Workshop 2: Tackling Health Disparities in CNY – Panel Discussion
      • Panelists:
        • Clark Sargent | Director of Primary Care Services, Liberty Resources, Inc.
        • Taelye Pinet | Co-Director for Program-Career Services, On Point for College, Inc.
        • Olive Sephuma | Vice President & COO, InterFaith Works
        • Cheryl Giarrusso | Division Director, Contact Community Services
        • Panel Moderator: Robyn Smith | Community Investments & Partnerships Manager, CNY Region, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield
  • Cohort 2: Barriers to Justice

    • Workshop 1: Trauma-informed Care for Syracuse Youth 
      • Led by Carrie Land-Steves | Co-Director of Clinical Services, Vera House
    • Workshop 2: Building Community Through a Lens of Equity – Panel Discussion
      • Panelists:
        • Latoya Allen | Deputy Director, Home HeadQuarters
        • Michael Watrous | Agency Relations Manager, Food Bank of CNY
        • Cherylene “Twiggy” Billue | Workforce Development Coordinator, Jubilee Homes
        • Panel Moderator: Ingrid Paredes | Vice Principal, PSLA at Fowler High School

Luncheon & Champion of Diversity Awards

  • Enjoy a plated lunch in the Persian Terrace and an inspiring program led by MC Ruthnie Angrand, Director of Communication and Marketing for the City of Syracuse
  • Hear a keynote address by Rasheada Caldwell, Common Counselor At-Large and Director of Youth & Community Partnerships at the Allyn Family Foundation
  • Celebrate the 2023 YWCA Champions of Diversity!
    • Murjan Abdi | Workforce Development Assistant, Partners for Education & Business, Inc.
    • Monu Chhetri | Founder/Executive Director, Deaf New American Advocacy, Inc.
    • Reggie Kelley | Founder & Executive Director, Rise Above Poverty

Get Involved & Learn More

Champions of Diversity

The Champion of Diversity Awards honor CNY residents who are striving to eliminate racism and create change in their community. Awardees will be publicly recognized and inducted into the YWCA Diversity Achievers Academy during the 25th Annual Day of Commitment to Eliminate Racism and Promote Diversity on Thursday, April 27th.

Congratulations to our 2023 awardees: Murjan Abdi, Monu Chhetri, and Reggie Kelley! Click here to see our full list of previous winners.

Become a Sponsor

Your organization can support the Day of Commitment and the YWCA’s work to eliminate racism and empower women by becoming an event sponsor. Multiple sponsorship opportunities are available. To learn more and make a public commitment to promoting diversity and increasing equity in CNY, visit our sponsorship page.

Last Year’s Event

In 2022, the Stand Against Racism Walk brought local residents, community leaders, and business professionals together to address the issues of racism in our community. The Day of Commitment consisted of a half-day training to focused on tools to eradicate racism and form a more equitable society. The workshops were followed by a luncheon with a keynote address and the Champions of Diversity Awards. Click here for a recap of the 2022 Day of Commitment.


If you have any questions or would like to get involved in this year’s event, contact Marketing & Events Coordinator Keely Marriott at or 315.424.0040