Brandon Davis
Jun 3, 2020

Our commitment to social justice and racial equity

As we all seek to comprehend the tragic and unsettling events across the country over the past few days, we want to convey our heartfelt sympathies to all victims of hate and violence, including to the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. We stand with you in your outrage over the unjust brutality inflicted on African-Americans and other disenfranchised members of our community.

Over the decades, the YMCA of Metro Chicago has served the individuals and communities that bear the brunt of the injustice and inequity that is now front and center in a way that cannot be ignored.  We do not claim to have all of the answers.  But, every day, in many ways, we aim to provide services that lift people up and give access to people who have been systemically disinvested throughout American history. We remain faithfully committed to social justice and racial equity for all people and that commitment permeates every single area of our work and mission. We pledge to be part of the change that needs to happen.

The Y commits to strengthening and deepening our work in this area, leveraging our expertise and commitment to character development, academic readiness, violence prevention, and fitness and healthy living to tackle entrenched racism and generations of inequity. From this perspective, we’ll explore how we will work to achieve progress in education and health disparities, disproportionate wealth creation, insufficient economic development and job creation, and food insecurity. But perhaps most importantly, we will work from an understanding that racism and inequities are as harmful to individuals and communities as is physical violence and that “healing is prevention.” 

The Y understands that a trauma-informed approach is crucial to our violence prevention mission anchor. Now is the time for the Y to refocus and deepen our integration of trauma-informed practices and our commitment to racial equity. We must confront our challenges and work alongside the communities we serve to develop solutions to institute real change.