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YMCA of Greater Kansas City Calls for Equity and Justice

YMCA of Greater Kansas City
September 30, 2020
Illustration of people in a circle, holding hands around a map of the world in the middle

Below is an open letter on equity and justice approved by the YMCA of Greater Kansas City Board of Directors. Download the letter here.

YMCA of Greater Kansas City Calls for Equity and Justice

In these uncertain and tumultuous times, we are called upon to address the disparate impact of COVID-19 on
communities of color, while also addressing the pandemic of systemic racism that led to the deaths of George Floyd,
Ahmaud Albery, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others.

Our commitment to diversity and inclusion calls upon us to stand in opposition to the neglect, abuse and violence
suffered by Black and Brown men and women. For centuries, we have witnessed the brutal killing of Black and Brown
men and women for simply being Black and Brown.

We stand with others who are outraged over the unjust treatment of Black and Brown men and women in North
America and elsewhere.

As a movement, we strive to “be for all, all the time,” however, today, we are called upon to do more; we must demand a
reality wherein one’s race does not dictate one’s health, longevity, safety or well-being. We are saddened to acknowledge
that being Black in North America creates a greater likelihood of poverty, incarceration, poor health, substandard education, under-employment, food insecurity, trauma, homelessness, and death at the hands of law enforcement. These social-
economic conditions suggest that Black lives don’t matter, regardless of declarations to the contrary.

In order for Black lives to matter, we commit to working with others to create communities where Black and Brown
men and women flourish, prosper and reach their fullest potential, and refuse to accept anything less. We also commit
ourselves to being anti-racist by deepening our understanding of impact of race, unconscious bias, and privilege on
our daily lives. We will advance our personal understanding and awareness, and that of our movement, by:

  • Prioritizing the eradication of racism as a strategic imperative of YNAN:
  • Participating in training that focuses on unconscious bias and undoing racism designed for community based
  • organization leaders.
  • Participating in trainings designed to provide us with knowledge and development of skills in the areas of trauma-informed care, de-escalation and mediation strategies, and facilitation of conversations on race and racial injustice.
  • Seeking written confirmation from the Y-USA that multi-cultural leadership development continues to be a strategic priority, along with a concrete plan for the restoration and sustainability of the Multicultural Leadership Development Program.
  • Creating a Task Force on Racial Equity to elevate our collective understanding of racism, examine the prevalence of systemic racism within the YMCA movement, and the development of a multicultural, anti-racist platform;
  • Facilitating on-going conversations with our Boards, staff and communities regarding race and related matters; and
  • Support Task Force on Health Disparities and Education as a means of addressing the health and educational disparities prevalent in Black and Brown communities.

The foregoing is intended to deepen our resolve and understanding of the issues adversely impacting the communities we serve, along with providing us with strategies to mitigate the same. As the largest Ys in America, we boldly move in the direction of breathing life into an anti-racist world.

Together we stand . . . for a better us!

John Mikos, President and CEO
John Passanisi, Chief Volunteer Officer
Andrea Allison-Putman, Chief People and Inclusion Officer
Andrea Hendricks, Ed.D., CDE, Diversity, Inclusion and Global Council Chair