Commitment to Equality
To our YMCA family,
I hope that you, your families, and those you love are safe and secure during these tumultuous times.
Like many of you, I am saddened by what I have witnessed in the last week, starting with the senseless death of George Floyd. It saddens me even more that this disregard for humanity happens again and again to people of color in America. Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor--these are names that we have come to know, but there are many others that have gone unrecorded or are forgotten by the time of the next news cycle.
Yet I am uplifted because our community and our nation are working through the same sadness. The message that I am hearing is that this moment is different. That we are acknowledging collectively that it is not enough to condemn overt racism, but that we must also confront the implicit biases we all form, and we must recognize structural constraints that result in disparate treatment. The message is that we must approach discussions about these issues openly and honestly rather than defensively.
The Granite YMCA is committed to ensuring that all people are welcome. Within our community, we treat our members and others with dignity and respect. We care for our community. While our actions within the Y have a lasting impact and play an important role in making our space safe and nurturing, the moment demands that we bring that same commitment to our communities and our nation. Peacefully, but relentlessly, we must take action, educate, and advocate for equality. We must demand that all members within our great country are treated with respect.
I don't have all the answers. But recognizing that there is work for the Y to do is a good first step. As an organization, we are respected, we have influence, and we are connected. Our young people have energy, creativity, and passion. And our mission of "Creating a community where all are welcome” requires that we act accordingly.
In our new strategic plan, we “…commit to the principles of diversity, inclusion, and global engagement, strengthening our connection to all of our constituents.” Our YMCA will start there and build on our core values and commitment to equality. We will use our 35,000 constituents to help us learn and act to ensure the same access to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that many, but not, all of us enjoy.
The YMCA has always been a place of hope, opportunity and community. We can be a part of the solution and we can knit our communities together with love. We all have a role to play in this effort. Please join me in helping to peacefully and intentionally ensure equality for all.
President and CEO
The Granite YMCA