To our community,
Over the past week, the national conversation has moved from the pandemic crisis to racial inequalities that equally plague our community.
The YMCA of Southwestern Indiana is an organization for all and condemns racism and divisions in our community. Our mission is to respond to community needs; but that can only be achieved when we listen to and understand one another.
As we attempt to get back to “normal” from the pandemic, we must all acknowledge that the unfortunate truth is that what may be “normal” for vulnerable populations is racism, inequity, and fear. Already traumatized by a pandemic virus, we are also facing another long-standing silent plague. And the trauma is real. Children are asking their parents to make sense of this world and many can only look back and say, “I don’t know.”
We need to ensure that the next generation of children no longer have to live in a state of fear and inequity. At the Y, one of our areas of focus is Social Responsibility. We are on the front lines of the issue of equality. Every day our staff not only have the opportunity, but the duty, to help shape the hearts and minds of young children and youth in our care.
In EVERY program we run at the YMCA, we have the chance to create a learning opportunity for love of neighbor, equality, and conflict-with-civility. It’s not just basketball, swim team, camp, or youth & government; it’s an opportunity to teach and mentor. There isn’t a greater reminder of the need to speak truth into the hearts and minds of impressionable youth than now. But this isn’t new. What’s happening around us now is a reminder that vigilance is a never ending duty that we owe our neighbors and our children.
The Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, and faith are elements that guide us during these challenging times and all the days ahead. We must remain optimistic. We must also be honest about this crisis and be willing to take positive steps forward.
We, the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana and its Board of Directors, commit ourselves to:
- Have zero tolerance for racism and prejudice among our staff, members, program participants, and volunteers;
- Encourage staff and members to speak up when they see something unjust happening;
- Connect our communities in order to create greater harmony, understanding and interconnectedness;
- Remain steadfast in our commitment to a culture that values diversity and inclusion;
- Collaborate with our public officials, community leaders and partners to combat inequities locally for greater collective impact;
- Increase our investment in social responsibility programming that supports youth and young leaders as they organize to change our community and the world for the better; and
- Educate ourselves, across our Association, on what it truly means to be for all.
In the coming days, we will undoubtedly continue to experience the pain and sorrow of injustice and inequity. We must remain connected and dialogue about what we witness and experience. Remember that we are in this together, and we must extend grace to one another as we do so. We know that when we work as one, we move people and communities forward.
With respect and gratitude,
President & CEO
YMCA of Southwestern Indiana
YMCA of Southwestern Indiana