In our journey to become a multicultural, anti-racist and anti-oppressive organization, YMCA of the North believes that Black Lives DO Matter. Our organizational vision is that we will “serve relentlessly with our community until ALL can thrive in each stage of life” and our strategic action goal is that we will “Eliminate disparities and eradicate unjust systems” as we serve all. We cannot proclaim our belief in this vision without taking action when we see those in our community being marginalized. We do not take this stand because of an organization or political party. We take this stand to align with our values to advance human dignity for all.
Throughout our history as a movement, we have been a partner, collaborator, supporter and champion for equity, civil rights and social justice from the establishment of the first Black Y in 1853, to this moment in time when we stand in solidarity with Black men, women and children.
Here are a few of the reasons why Black Lives DO Matter so much to us:
- We want every BIPOC child, teen, adult, senior and team member who walks through our doors to know that they are treasured, safe and belong in our YMCA community.
- We uphold a Y legacy based on our values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility– and most importantly equity for all. In 1853, just nine years after the YMCA was founded in the United States, Anthony Bowen, a Black man and former slave who purchased his own freedom, was one of the founders of what is now known as the Anthony Bowen YMCA in Washington D.C. From that moment on, the Y movement and the Civil Rights Movement have been inextricably linked in the journey to social justice. During the last 167 years, Black leaders within the Y have shaped and built our global movement of strengthening communities so ALL can thrive. For more information, read about the history of African Americans and the YMCA or make an appointment to visit the University of Minnesota’s Kautz Family YMCA Archives.
- We commit to our social responsibility, like our YMCA forbearers, to take a stand when we see patterns of injustice and inequity. Martin Luther King, Jr. participated in programs as a youth at his local Y. His words resonate with what our Y strives to achieve every day - “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” To learn more, Watch Martin Luther King, Jr. & the YMCA.
- We believe that actions speak louder than words. Together in our work every day to serve our community we do what we can to make a difference. We put our words into action at this time and place by taking a stand that at the YMCA of the North, Black Lives DO Matter!