Taking Action for Equity and Justice | Winter Impact Newsletter 2021
Last updated: February 25, 2021, at 4:26 p.m. PT
Originally published: February 10, 2021, at 3:03 p.m. PT
2020 will be remembered as the year of the twin pandemics. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed in stark terms the health, technology, and wealth disparities between white communities and communities of color. Then, the murder of George Floyd marked the beginning of months of protests calling for systemic reform and investment in Black communities.
The Y has long been committed to extinguishing disparities in health, access to the outdoors, education support, and child care. This year showed us that more is required of us in this moment to live our mission and equity statement including expanding and mobilizing our anti-racism work and using our commitment to community as the lens for transforming our programs, health centers, and employment policies and practices.
Establishing the Equity & Justice Center of Excellence
To enable our efforts towards becoming an anti-racist organization, we established the Y Equity & Justice Center of Excellence. It is the purpose of this center to measure equity within our programs, oversee inclusion initiatives, and to ensure the YMCA of Greater Seattle (YGS) meets benchmarks of becoming an anti-racist organization.
Thanks to the support of our board of directors, the Equity & Justice Center of Excellence was founded, and we began this work with a $1 million seed investment, as the anchor of a $10 million goal to launch our anti-racism and social justice initiatives.
Taking the Pledge to Become Anti-Racist
On October 1, 2020, our organization took a pledge to formalize our commitment to educating ourselves, having hard conversations, reducing barriers, supporting staff, and unleashing potential for all.
“Today, YGS proudly proclaims that Black lives matter. We cannot empower all people, especially the young, to achieve their fullest potential in spirit, mind, and body until we disrupt racism, achieve equity and justice for all, and press forward to become an anti-racist organization.” Keep Reading
Unleashing Potential for All
In addition to building programs that remove barriers and inequalities, the Y has established ourselves as thought leaders in community education around racism in critical areas like athletics.
Unleashing Potential for All is our three-part series featuring Black athletes in non-traditional sports like rowing, Olympians, and local youth athletes with promise. We were joined by Olympian Dr. Tommie Smith, who became famous for raising his gloved fist and lowering his head on the Olympic podium in 1968 as a historic salute for human rights.
We invite you to view all of these important and inspiring community conversations here.
Your Partnership Makes the Community Learning Opportunities Possible
We need you. Ending racism, serving community, and creating equal opportunities for all requires partners. Thanks to our generous community learning partners, individual donors, and the support of our Y members, we will continue to break barriers and advance equity and justice for all.