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BREATHE is a volunteer-led nonprofit organization founded by Rita Fuller Yates in May 2020 following the lynching of George Floyd.

BREATHE is an acronym for our mission: Take a deep BREATH as we destroy RACISM and ERADICATE the police ABUSE and societal TRAUMA in order to HEAL as a nation for what our brothers and sisters of Color have ENDURED for way too long. BREATHE.

Understanding White Privilege + Using Our Voice for Change is a task force of BREATHE. We provide a safe and uncomfortable space for learning and growing into strong allies, fighting for racial equity and becoming advocates for our brothers and sisters of Color. 


Task Force Leaders

Vicki Bowen Hewes, Founding Partner

Jane Grote Abell

Amy Barlak Aspey

Derek Grosso

Hope Short

Charlotte Smithson

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Moderated discussions on critical topics with advocates and activists dedicated to social justice. 

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 What is White Privilege? 

White privilege is the societal privilege that benefits white people over non-white people in social, political, and economic circumstances.


As white people, we are the product of a history that our ancestors chose and created, immigrating to this county out of their own choice. Adversely, Black people are the product of histories that their ancestors did not choose, brought here as slaves, and oppressed for decades by mass incarceration in the current day.

Deeply consider these questions:

∙What benefits of white privilege do I see daily?

∙What costs of white privilege do I see daily?

∙What am I willing to sacrifice to give back? My voice, my time, my resources?

 Why Haven't We Addressed This Before? 

Afraid we don’t know enough.

First do self-work. As white people, we’re quick to be active and try to solve everything. In this instance, we are the problem. Examine myself first – my beliefs, my misconceptions, my bias – then learn how I can be an ally. If I just consider how I can be a good human, and live by antiracist example, it becomes clear and less complex.


Afraid to say the wrong thing.

It takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable and address our privilege with ourselves, with our loved ones, with our neighbors and with our Black brothers and sisters. We grow when we are uncomfortable. We won’t always say and do the right thing. But we are trying, and we will be criticized. We’re trying to right decades of wrong. Things will not change overnight. We must be compassionate, intentional, and authentic. 


Don’t know where to start.

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Recognizing our privilege comes first Now we can begin to heal ourselves. It took us years for this to build, and it will take years to dismantle. We must practice antiracism daily.

 Practice Antiracism Everyday 

•Self-work – It is really where the most transformation happens. Learn and then consider your network and how to can advance antiracism – the path is different for everyone, there is no prescribed check list.


•Learn about Black history, about Black culture, learn about Black Lives Matter.

Read the articles and resource list provided by Black Lives Matter (link).

Take the free Harvard Implicit Bias assessment (link).

•Sign a petition about for a local or national political movement that supports antiracism and contact your elected government officials to learn what they’re leading and how you can support.

•Contact local and national education officials about changing curriculum to include Black history.


•Talk to your loved ones about white privilege and what you are doing to dismantle racism. Often you’ll be planting seeds on dry ground, but the conversation is the seed – the start of growth.


•Have intentional conversations with neighbors and colleagues. Open the dialogue – be compassionate, listen.


•When you see something that is wrong, say something. We are all part of humanity; we are in this together.


•Be an ally. Don’t overburden Black folk with your personal need to soothe white guilt. Do the right thing.


•Register and in participate in racial equality conversations through social media and community platforms.


•Support Black-owned businesses, share your support with your network. A partial listing is available here.

•Don’t worry about being extra nice to your friends of Color, have more conversations with your white friends about racism.​

  • Facebook



  • Welcomed twelve (12) diverse and respected community leaders for 1:1 interviews and virtual discussions focused on race, privilege and calls to action; recorded discussions are shared via CYP platform; more than 10,000 views and active sharing.

  • Nurtured Understanding White Privilege Facebook group, maintaining momentum and engagement. Launched in June 2020, currently 419 members participate in active conversation about white privilege and racism

  • Expanded mission reach and impact  with Pastor Amy Aspey / Short North Church launching/leading a 6-month UWP group that met monthly utilizing Conversations for Change videos as a starting point for discussion.




  1. Gary Jones - Entrepreneur & Creative Director, Jones Select / video

  2. George Miller - Artist, Historian & Owner Black Arts Plus / video

  3. Byron L Potts - Race, Equality, Legacy / video

  4. Sgt James 'Shawn' Fuqua - CPD Spokesperson / video

  5. Rita Fuller-Yates & Suzanne Roberts - Woman to Woman / video

  6. John Lowe - Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams CEO - Racism: A Public Health Crisis / video

  7. Charles Hill - COSI  + Recognition of Rita Fuller Yates / video

  8. Carla Williams-Scott - City of Columbus Director of Neighborhoods / video

  9. Jennifer Peterson - Community Executive - Leading Change / video

  10. Rob Smith - UpWest Director Production & Sourcing - Breaking Bread / video

  11. Anahi Oritz - Franklin County Coroner - Building Community / video

  12. Bill Nolan - Barnes & Thornburg Managing Partner - Leading Diversity / video


Advancing anti-racist work is proactive and ongoing. Please seek resources beyond this list.





  • Caste, Isabel Wilkerson

  • Columbus Black History, Rita Fuller Yates

  • Generosity to Justice, Darren Walker

  • Invention of the White Race, Theodore Allen

  • Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson

  • Kat :: Two Societies Where One Drop Was More Than Enough, Rosalyn Taylor O'Neale

  • Learning to be White, Thandeka

  • Racecraft, Karen Fields and Barbara Fields

  • Stamped From the Beginning, Ibram X. Kendi

  • The Color of Law, Richard Rothstein

  • The Color of Money, Mersha Baradaran

  • The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander

  • White Fragility, Robin DiAngelo

  • White Rage, Carol Anderson

  • White Trash, Nancy Isenberg

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