Celebrating Black History
We honor and celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of Black people who have guided our country’s growth and progress.
While February is Black History Month, we take time to remember and celebrate the amazing contributions of African Americans throughout history year-round. We remember the struggles and hardships they faced, like slavery and segregation, and we honor the activists, scholars, and everyday people who worked hard to make things better. We also pledge to keep working for equity and justice for all.
Although we celebrate Black brilliance in February, we work to support, honor, and open space every month of the year.
A Special Message from our President & CEO
Black History Month is just around the corner. Join us in celebrating, learning, and reflecting on the remarkable contributions of African Americans throughout history. Explore how art can be a powerful lens through which we understand and appreciate our shared history. Also, please participate in local events, including our screening of “Stamped from the Beginning” at the Downtown Seattle YMCA on February 21. READ MORE>>
Learning with the Y
YMCA of Greater Seattle continues our focus on supporting Black children, youth, and adults through swim equity. With the high rate of drownings over the last year, especially in the Black community, we pause to honor those who have lost their lives to drowning and focus on the importance of swim equity as we take a deeper dive into the social history of racially segregated swimming pools during the Jim Crow era that impacted several generations of Black Americans who never had any kind of access to swimming pools, geographically, economically or socially; including resources to learn how to swim.
As we move forward in our efforts to Advancing Equity and Justice for All, we recognize that dismantling the systematic racist structures in swimming won’t be easy. Still, our efforts will raise awareness of the inequity of access to swim and safety around water. This access will encourage more young people to take up swimming as a sport, gain confidence, and have fun around the water, all while learning a lifesaving skill.February is Black History Month, when we take time to remember and celebrate the amazing contributions of African Americans throughout history. We remember the struggles and hardships they faced, like slavery and segregation, and we honor the activists, scholars, and everyday people who worked hard to make things better. We also pledge to keep working for equality and justice for all.
One way we're doing this is by focusing on swim equity, which means making sure everyone has access to swimming pools and knows how to swim. Unfortunately, there have been a lot of drownings over the past year, especially in the Black community. This is partly because many Black Americans never had the chance to learn how to swim due to segregation and discrimination.
We want to change this by raising awareness about the importance of swim equity and making it easier for everyone to learn how to swim and stay safe in the water. We hope that by doing this, more young people will take up swimming as a sport and have fun around the water while also learning a lifesaving skill.February is Black History Month, when we take time to remember and celebrate the amazing contributions of African Americans throughout history. We remember the struggles and hardships they faced, like slavery and segregation, and we honor the activists, scholars, and everyday people who worked hard to make things better. We also pledge to keep working for equality and justice for all.
Content warning: some historical images of harm against Black community are depicted.
Published by Vox
Excerpt: When we think of the iconic moments of the Civil Rights Movement in the US, we might imagine bus boycotts, lunch counter sit-ins, or the March on Washington. Most of us won’t think of protests at beaches and pools. Yet these battles in the country’s waters played a crucial role in transforming America.
Published by AJ+
Excerpt: In the United States, 64% of Black children can’t swim. As a result, they are 3x more likely to drown than white children their same age. But how did this happen? We take a look at the social history of America’s pools and how racial segregation shaped the current climate in pools across the country.
In collaboration with the YMCA Equity and Justice Center of Excellence, the African American Resource Network has created a month-long celebration of Black Excellence.
A month-long campaign to bring awareness to systemic racism and oppression of Black people. Share a photo in your WeWearBlack t-shirt and tag us @YMCASeattle #WeWearBlack.
Learn with the Y and celebrity hairstylist Jamie Elmore, as we discuss diversity in swim, culture, history, and haircare for Black swimmers.
Please continue to look for celebrations of Black brilliance and joy throughout 2023. Our African American Resource Network will have monthly events and acknowledgments throughout the year.
This community fund is the engine that drives innovation, learning, and action in creating equitable and just communities that thrive.
Catch up on our series of equity and justice in athletics from non-traditional sports, to the Olympics, to young athlete leaders in our community.
The Y is a place where people of all backgrounds, faiths and other dimensions of diversity can come together, strengthen community together, and gain a greater appreciation for one another.