CLEVELAND — The YWCA Greater Cleveland has been working to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace for over 150 years.
The organization needs bold leadership from a person who understands the cause and has the passion to lead the women.
Meet Helen Forbes Fields.
She is the new president and CEO of the organization.
"The YWCA. It's a storied organization. It's one of the longest, oldest nonprofits in the city of Cleveland. And the mission is to eliminate racism and empower women and girls. and that connects directly to my heart," Forbes Fields said.
The mission is a part of her DNA.
"My mother worked at the YWCA probably about 60 years ago," Forbes Fields said. "My father was very committed to providing for the community and providing for Black people. And making sure that equality and equity existed for all those in the community."
As she pursued a career in law and focused on employment discrimination cases for 31 years, making the change to this organization wasn't that far-fetched.
"I think what's important is that you always have someone that is speaking out against those things that keep many of us from sharing in that American dream and always there to keep people's feet close to the fire to make sure that work is being done. To make sure that we have the racial equality that we all deserve in this community," Forbes Fields said.
The YWCA Greater Cleveland has done great work, but there is always more that could be done.
"I want to make sure that I carry on that legacy and see how I can take it one step further. But I'm new Danita, so I'm not going to say about some major steps that I'll take right now. I think what's important is really to soak it all in," Forbes Fields said.
With over 150 years of service, it's a lot to take in, but she's ready for the challenge.
"I just want to do good work, the need to be very authentic and honest and transparent about the issues that are in the community and that really affect women and girls, and particularly those of color. And to speak out about it and be heard," Forbes Fields said.