This is a very difficult time in our communities and within our YMCA. We are facing the painful reality of interpersonal and systemic anti-Black racism. Words cannot convey the trauma felt due to the recurring loss of Black lives, not just in the US but also here in the GTA.
Our YMCA recognizes that many communities face painful racial discrimination on a daily basis and we condemn racism in all its forms. At this time, we're shining a light specifically on anti-Black racism because it is historic, deep-rooted, pervasive, and requires our immediate and focused attention.
By historic, we’re referring to the legacy of slavery in Canada, to name just one example. By deep-rooted and pervasive, we mean the many explicit and implicit ways this specific type of racism is expressed. Violence and hate speech are explicit. Other symptoms are less overt. The white candidate who lands the job over the equally qualified and competent Black candidate. The faces we see on TV. The ones whose stories are told in history books. Those growing up behind bars while their schoolmates walk free with a slap on the wrist.
Some statistics brought forward by our YMCA’s Black Experience Staff Advisory Committee (BESAC) illustrate why anti-Black racism demands our focus.
8.5% of Toronto’s population is Black, yet:
We must put our individual and collective energy into recognizing and righting these problems so everyone can be safe, feel valued, and reach their full potential. We cannot allow another generation to grow up knowing pain, fear, and disadvantage.
This is a starting point that will be refined and added to over time, because we are committed to long-term change:
Our YMCA's future holds a renewed, long-term commitment to supporting diversity, social connection, and belonging. We won’t stop until everyone in our region gets their fair chance to shine — at work and in life.