(LANCASTER, Pa.) SafeHouse Lancaster reached a merger agreement with YWCA Lancaster on Thursday. The merger means that SafeHouse Lancaster will now work under the YWCA in terms of name, programs, funding and continuation as an organization.
SafeHouse Lancaster started last summer to keep protests and protesters safe. The organization eventually grew into helping young Black and brown people shape their vision for activism. SafeHouse Lancaster also helped local businesses implement anti-racist policies for employees and consumers.
YWCA Lancaster and SafeHouse Lancaster created a partnership over the past year, creating programs, discussions and building a space for the community.
"It made sense for us to go with an organization that had not only the money and space to build out our programs but also had been around for a long time and fit very well with our values," said SafeHouse founder Isaac Etter.
SafeHouse Lancaster hopes that through the merger, major planned projects will be doable.
The ABC Group project is an anti-racist Business and Community group for business owners who want to learn more about anti-racist practices and policies and how to implement them in their business.
Another program is the Everyday Activism program that Etter built for college-age Black and brown people. The program is a 10-week intensive class on what activism is, who causes the social issues, how people can bring change and how to build plans for systemic change.
Etter has been an activist for the past six years and plans to continue contributing to the community in other ways. He chooses to sit on boards and be an advisor to several committees rather than run SafeHouse Lancaster.
"I've been running a consulting firm for the past three years, working on adoption, so we're expanding on that business and turning it into a tech company," said Etter. " We're building a lot of tech solutions to issues in child welfare."
The merger will keep the SafeHouse Lancaster mission alive and move YWCA Lancaster into a new direction. Programs that will empower the Lancaster community will continue to grow and train other community members to join.
"The win here was keeping our programs alive and keeping our mission alive," added Etter.
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