More about the 2020 Honorees…

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Talauna Reed, the powerful leader of Justice for Yvonne has also been a dedicated core organizer with Olympia Showing up for Racial Justice and a founding member of BLAST (Black Leaders in Action and Solidarity Thurston). Talauna has worked tirelessly and overcome obstacle after obstacle to keep fighting and leading the members of our community to stay engaged in the work of dismantling the oppressive nature of the systems we operate within. Though her core focus is anti-racism, she takes an intersectional approach and is sensitive to other forms of oppression such as ableism, classism, homophobia, and transphobia. She has a truly inclusive and openhearted approach to organizing. 

Talauna not only has been fiercely fighting for justice for her aunt, Yvonne McDonald, who was killed in Olympia in August, 2018 due to the negligence of county & city officials, but she has worked just as hard to lift up other justice struggles in our community, and to spearhead fundraisers and rally support for other Black and POC leaders in our community. The obstacles she has faced include racist disregard and stonewalling from many members of our local city and county government as she fights for justice for her aunt, but she has not let that stop her. She does not give up or let the obstacles she is facing get her down, and she keeps the rest of us accountable and moving forward! Talauna knows that our humanity is dependent on overcoming everything placed in her way and continuing the revolution and resistance that is working so hard to divide us – while simultaneously building the movement and empowering all that have the opportunity to work with her. She does this all while working and being a stellar parent to a pair of amazing teenage twins. 

Talauna is a beautiful embodiment of all of YWCA’s values and vision. Her life is dedicated to making the world a place where all people are valued and free from oppression. She holds a beautiful vision for a RAJE (Real Accountability, Justice, and Equity) Center in Olympia’s future, that would function as a community center for Black and Brown folks, as well as a place for people to go and get real help, support, and care if their family has been harmed due to systemic racism or other forms of oppression. Talauna’s has dedicated countless hours to attending City Council meetings, pushing the city to put people over systems, towards true accountability, and towards reclaiming their own humanity. Talauna is courageous, bold, and fierce, as well as having a huge heart and capacity for love. She pushes others to be accountable, as well as quickly acknowledging where she may have made a mistake or caused harm. She reminds us to slow down and breathe, and that this work is for the long haul.