For All, Always

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Dear Y Community,

As our nation and community continue to reel from the emotional and economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, the despair caused by racial injustice cannot be ignored. The killing of George Floyd and its aftermath are a stark reminder that we have a long way to go toward peace, freedom, and equity for all.

The Y is here for all people, no matter their skin color, gender, faith, sexuality, income, or ability. We stand for all who are underserved, oppressed, and afraid. We work to create a community in which every person feels valued, emboldened, and loved. Like you, we struggle to make sense of recent events. We recognize the pain, frustration, and anger caused by the long history and prevalence of systemic racism. We stand united with our neighbors demanding change through peaceful protest.

As a Y, we work to foster relationships and eliminate barriers to a better life. During the pandemic, the Y has demonstrated its true purpose – to strengthen the foundations of community – by responding to the critical needs of our communities, providing meals, childcare, life-giving supplies, and comfort to those who were alone. While our buildings were closed our hearts remained open, and we continue to provide services to those most in need. Now we are asking the community to join us as we pause to listen with sensitivity to the challenges our brothers and sisters of color are facing.

The Y is not a gym, a swim lesson, or a basketball game. The Y is community. We are people connected by a common desire to create communities in which every adult and child has the opportunity to thrive. Though the pandemic keeps us apart, we have a responsibility to come together to stand up for one another and to grant each other the grace to share our views, fears, and truth without judgment.

Dr. Martin Luther King taught us that “Injustice and corruption will never be transformed by keeping them hidden, but only by bringing them out into the light and confronting them with the power of love.”

The YMCA of Western North Carolina is committed to working in the light to address the underlying issues in our community that fuel racism and the hopelessness that can lead to distrust and even violence. Together, we can turn our empathy into empowerment and our pain into purpose. Lasting change takes a commitment from all of us. We are better together. We hope you’ll join our efforts to create a stronger community.

For all,

Paul Vest
President and CEO
YMCA of Western North Carolina