Racial Justice Awards 2023

A- A A+

Racial Justice Awards 2023

Categories: News


The YWCA honored some pretty amazing women with the Sojourner Truth and Ella Baker Awards. Each of them have helped spread our mission of racial equity and justice throughout the community. We are so grateful to be able to give such powerful women these awards.

Our 2023 Award Recipients


Ivy Butler, Sojourner Truth Award

Ivy Butler is the Pastor of Power and Praise Crusade Ministries and has utilized that role to lift up others. Ivy has been given opportunities to serve in many capacities within the church because of her attitude of being a mentor to young women, a daughter to older women, and a sister to her generation. In 2018 she established a monthly empowerment session for women called #L3-LeadLearnLive. Because of their passion
for education Ivy and her late husband established a k thru 12 private Christian school
called New Vision Christian Academy and she established the Bishop Rico A Butler Foundation in his honor. As an associate professor in education at IU South Bend, Ivy enjoys teaching young people how to be effective educators and work to improve the educational system. She is the founding member of the South Bend Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 black women, an organization that strives to make a significant difference for black women and girls in our community.

Bernice Freeman, Sojourner Truth Award

For decades, Bernice Freeman has worked for racial and social justice and equity in her hometown of South Bend and at the age of 80 she has no plans to stop! Her most recent project is the establishment of an African American Resource and Cultural Center something she feels is especially essential today because of a ban on some books that define the African American experience and history.
A breast cancer survivor, Bernice started the Reaching Out Breast Cancer Center in 1999 to encourage and support African American women in the community who felt it was taboo to talk about their bodies. Bernice has long been recognized as a powerful voice in the areas of racial and social justice and has received over 40 awards for her work including the Drum Major Award, the Key to the City of South Bend, and a certificate of appreciation from the Indiana Black Expo.

Shalon Davis, Ella Baker Award

Shalon, known by many as “Shay,” is a committed public servant who has served the
people of South Bend since 1998, and currently serves as Director of Community
Outreach for Mayor James Mueller. Throughout her career she has focused on helping
make the city of South Bend the best place to live for all community members. Shalon
served as the city's United Way Coordinator, she volunteers her services with Mamas Against Violence (MAVs), she serves as the Community Relations Coordinator for the St. Joseph County African American Democratic Coalition, volunteers with the annual Martin Luther King celebration, and spearheaded the Black History month honor tributes, ceremony, and billboards to recognize our local African American public servants on behalf of the City of South Bend.