It is with a heavy heart that the leaders of our YWCA have decided not to bring Crafters Marketplace to our community this weekend, despite a tradition that has spanned more than four decades.
As we make this announcement, we would be remiss not to acknowledge and recognize the hundreds of YW women, especially all of the women who served as Crafters chair over the years, as well as on the committee, and the members of our Newcomers and Friends Club, who created and produced a marketplace and cafe that brought joy to our community while raising much-needed funding. They should be proud of their success because it fueled the Pearl Bates Scholarship Program, which has awarded over two million dollars in scholarship for a half century! This has allowed YWCA Princeton to welcome participants, regardless of ability to pay.
While we recognize and respect the rich history of Crafters Marketplace, we must also keep our mission focused on the here and now. Social, gender, and racial justice issues are as raw and unsettling as ever. As we work diligently to understand the news reports of the day, we have found hope, comfort and wisdom in revisiting the legacy of Pearl Nelson Bates. While we remember her and learn more about her, we know it is time to redirect our energy and resources to our educational and advocacy initiatives. In doing so, we are asking our neighbors to remember who Mrs. Bates was … and why the scholarship in her name is so important.
One of our favorite neighbors, Tatianna Sims, is a graduate of Princeton High School, a recipient of the Princeton University Prize in Race Relations and a rising talent at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Sims has answered our call by producing a short film that will be previewed at a special reception for our YWCA’s top supporters. Those supporters, led by Barbara Purnell, have been hard at work to continue to boost the Pearl Bates Scholarship Program in new and meaningful ways.
Thanks to significant contributions from PNC Wealth Management and ETS, Barbara and her committee will celebrate their success this Sunday at ETS’s Chauncey Center. Pearl Bates was one of the first African Americans to work at ETS, during the challenging time of desegregation and unprecedented racial tension in Princeton. When she unexpectedly died in 1963, following surgery, her colleagues made a donation to the YWCA in her memory. Two years later, the YWCA Board of Directors formally dedicated the Pearl Bates Scholarship Fund in recognition of her volunteer service as a leader of the organization.
Our YWCA will share Tatianna’s film titled “Who was Pearl Bates?” for all to see when we unveil our new website on New Year’s Day. In the meantime, if you would like to visit our campus and learn more about Pearl Bates and our mission work, please stop in to our welcome desk and ask for a tour.
CEO, YWCA Princeton