The past several weeks have been challenging as we watch anger, fear, frustration, and outrage grow across our nation. Some displays have been positive, while others have turned negative. However, the overall message is clear: Enough is enough. We must change. We must do better.
The YMCA has long been a place where people of all races and backgrounds come together. In fact, the mission of our 175-year-old organization is: “To put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body FOR ALL.” The original bible verse that the YMCA was founded on is John 17:21: “That they all may be one.”
Although a focus on diversity and inclusion has long been a key priority in our strategic plan, we must do more. We must do our part to end racism and bigotry. As a white male, there is no way for me to understand the racism that African Americans have faced and continue to experience today. However, I can listen, and I can stand beside my friends as we stand together for equality.
At the Y, we have long strived to be the Third Place in our communities. However, this term means more than ever before. We believe we can be a place that instills hope. A place where all people come together and are supported as we all strive to reach our fullest potential.
We are beginning to have conversations and are listening to our staff, volunteers, and members. We want to learn what we need to do to truly become the Third Place in our communities, where all are welcome, and people are not treated differently because of the color of their skin.
A PLACE FOR ALL
There is no place for hate in our organization. The YMCA is well equipped to stand up and help end systemic racism once and for all. I believe our mission calls us to act, and we will.
President and CEO