BREATHE Columbus 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.

UWP is a task force of BREATHE. We provide a safe and uncomfortable space for learning and growing into strong allies, fighting for racial equality and becoming advocates for our brothers and sisters of Color. 

Join UWP for moderated discussions on critical topics with advocates and activists dedicated to racial justice. In partnership with Columbus Young Professionals, events are virtual, free of charge and open to all.

 2021 Conversations for Change 

Events are virtual, free of charge and open to all. Times & details available on registration link.

  • January 27 - Byron L Potts - Race, Equality, Legacy / video

  • February 18 - Sgt James 'Shawn' Fuqua - CPD Spokesperson / video

  • March 23 - Rita Fuller-Yates & Suzanne Roberts - Woman to Woman / video

  • April 20 - John Lowe - Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams CEO - Racism: A Public Health Crisis / video

  • May 25 - Charles Hill - City of Columbus  + Recognition of Rita Fuller Yates / video

  • June 22 - Carla Williams-Scott - City of Columbus Director of Neighborhoods / video

  • July 20 - Jennifer Peterson - Steiner at Easton Chief Executive - Leading Change / video

  • August 24 - Rob Smith - UpWest Director Production & Sourcing - Breaking Bread / register

  • September 21 - TBA

  • October 26 - Anahi Oritz - Franklin County Coroner - Building Bridges / registration coming soon

  • November 16 - TBA

  • December 21 - TBA

UWP Committee Members

Amy Barlak Aspey

Derek Grosso

Hope Short

Charlotte Smithson

Vicki Bowen Hewes, Co-Chair

Jane Grote Abell, Co-Chair

 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

 2020 Impact 


  • Created, launched and maintain Understanding White Privilege Facebook group page, building momentum. Established June 2020 currently engaging 360+ members 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 meets monthly

  • Crafted a comprehensive engagement/information packet for distribution / link

  • Hosted monthly free of charge one-hour virtual discussions; marketed on social media and email to encourage registration; recorded and shared with Facebook group following; more than 5,000 views.




  • October - Suzanne Roberts - Racial Justice Champion / video currently in production

  • November - Gary Jones - Entrepreneur & Creative Director, Jones Select / video

  • December - George Miller - Artist, Historian & Owner Black Arts Plus / video


  • January - Byron L Potts - Race, Equality, Legacy / video

  • February - Sgt James 'Shawn' Fuqua - CPD Spokesperson / video

  • March - Rita Fuller-Yates & Suzanne Roberts - Woman to Woman / video

  • April 20 - John Lowe - Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams CEO - Racism: A Public Health Crisis / video


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





  • Invention of the White Race, Theodore Allen

  • Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson

  • 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