At the YMCA of Greater Charlotte, we believe in honoring our Christian mission, living our cause, acting in accordance with our values, and placing the greater good above self. It is our belief that, in a diverse world, we are stronger together.
Which makes the recent events in Minneapolis and across our country all that more horrifying, painful and hard to understand. If diversity and inclusion are core tenets of our mission, how do we make sense of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd? Systemic racism is pervasive. This has most recently been magnified by the coronavirus and the continuous acts of violence against our black brothers and sisters. Black lives matter, and every life should be equally and deeply valued, collectively celebrated and fiercely protected.
We are all processing these heartbreaking events in the context of our personal experiences and against the backdrop of a pandemic and uncertain economic times. We have colleagues, members, donors and communities who are hurting, angry, frustrated and confused. My deepest hope is that we will lean on each other and on God for comfort, encouragement and understanding.
It is hard to know how to channel our collective horror, outrage and pain into something meaningful and constructive.
Now more than ever, our Y community has an opportunity to do what we do well – ensure that our neighbors, members, program participants and team members feel genuinely welcomed, encouraged and supported. We are working with unrelenting determination on health and social equity initiatives, meaningful partnerships that help accelerate this focus and innovative ways to repurpose our branches in service to this work. We are an anchor institution rooted in Christian principles. To lead from that place demands constant vigilance, accountability and introspection from us all.
Dr. King said, “We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding, conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late.”
As we retool and create a sustainable YMCA for the next 150 years, we have the opportunity and, I am convinced, the responsibility to transform lives and community. It will not be easy. Nothing great is. But we are in this together. We are better together.
President & CEO, YMCA of Greater Charlotte
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
2 Chronicles 7:14