The YWCA of Greater Charleston's annual event aimed at combating racism will focus on a range of current hot-button issues such as homelessness, education, immigration and healthcare reform's impact on women and children.

If you go

What: YWCA's Stand Together Acclaim A New Day (S.T.A.N.D.) event, which features civic leaders and groups calling for an end to all forms of discrimination. Numerous human rights groups are expected to participate.

When: Workshop at 10 a.m. Friday; rally at noon

Where: YWCA Greater Charleston, 106 Coming St.

Cost: Free and open to the public.

For more information: Contact the YWCA at 722-1644 or visit

The event, which is called "Stand Together Acclaim A New Day" or STAND, will be held Friday at the YWCA at 106 Coming St. It will begin at 10 a.m. with a workshop and a panel of speakers, moderated by Victoria Middleton, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina.

The workshop will be followed at noon by a rally, which will include speakers, entertainment and food vendors. And finally, from about 2 to 3 p.m., volunteers will be out on the corner of Coming and Calhoun streets, asking passersby to sign a document pledging to stand with the YMCA against racism and discrimination.

Middleton said the event will "focus on a range of issues people don't usually associate with the civil rights movement of the 1960s."

While more blatant and obvious forms of racism are less visible in the United States, Middleton said, "we have institutionalized inequities," such as under-achieving schools in which many minority children are enrolled.

Another example of institutional racism, she said, is seen in how school's handle discipline. Now, she said, a disproportionate number of students of color are suspended or expelled for breaking rules at school.

Kathleen Rodgers, executive director of YWCA Greater Charleston, said YWCAs across the country are holding local events. This is the fifth year the Charleston group has participated, she said. Last year, more than 300,000 people participated nationally. "It's all about discrimination," she said.

Middleton said that while many problems related to racism and discrimination remain, there are ways to fix them. "We just have to get the community together."

Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.