Stacie Blake, CEO Lancaster YWCA
Stacie Blake says, “Thanks, Mom!”
“I love to read,” says the CEO of Lancaster YWCA. “I am so fortunate that my mother took us to the public library when I was a child. My brothers and I always brought back stacks of books every week. We all, to this day, are voracious readers.”
Before coming to Lancaster, Blake built her career serving the social sector in six states. Her commitment to social justice shows in her leadership of national advocacy efforts on behalf of refugees and immigrants, survivors of trafficking or torture, and unaccompanied migrating children.
On March 16, Blake is the featured speaker for The Library’s Live and Learn – Animating Democracy: Race, Culture and Identity. She shares lessons learned from the data-based Lancaster County Racial Equity Profile on discovering the economic promise that could be fulfilled by closing a community’s equity gaps.
What are you reading? I’m reading You’re the Only One I’ve Told: The Stories Behind Abortion, by Meera Shah. It’s written by a doctor who recounts different stories of abortion that people have told her. It really is very powerful because it shows the many, many different circumstances that lead people to seek abortion, and the many different life experiences and dangers and fears and hopes in all of that. I’m also reading Atomic Habits, by James Clear. It’s a great research-based book that helps you understand how our habits work and how you can make intentional choices to stack the habits you want and set yourself up for success. It’s very practical.
Do you like reading for information? Yes. Most of my knowledge about abortion lately is coming from news sources, but You’re the Only One I’ve Told is a different education and reminder of our personal stories. Here we are in a time where the shame and the restrictions of abortion are layered over and over, so it’s important to me to be reminded why people who are pregnant seek to protect their bodies and their futures and make good decisions for their family. I read “The 1619 Project” and “The Sum of Us” because there are so many stories that were lost and not shared in my education. I have a master’s degree, but so much of our country’s history never was shared, so I like to learn that way.
What do libraries bring to the community you serve? In some ways, they’re part of the seat of our democracy, because access to information is available for everyone. I’m so in awe of how libraries have changed within the communities to make all sorts of media available and really evolve to meet the needs of patrons. There are even libraries that share tools and art supplies. It’s so incredible.