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Written By Kelly Walker Schobel, YMCA of Greater Vancouver 

Even when measured against the backdrop of a global pandemic, the recent news out of the City of Minneapolis has been difficult to absorb. It has been particularly painful for members of our Black, Indigenous, Asian Canadian and racialized communities, including members of our team. As a charity embracing diversity and social inclusion, we believe that Canada and BC is one of the best places in the world to live. But we know it’s not the best place for everyone.

Yet again, we are confronted with the ugly face of racism – that which we are witnessing south of the border as well as the glaring examples of discrimination against visible minorities here in our own communities. These incidents are in sharp contrast to the many generous acts of kindness and compassion we have seen during this trying time.  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 of our children to know pain, fear, and disadvantage. We must come together to make our communities better for everyone. 

Since the YMCA began in 1886, we’ve been an organization rooted by an inclusive mission. We are open to all and believe in the equality of all people under the law.  Yet we need to do more–more to support racialized people in our communities so that no one needs to live in fear. Confronting discrimination in all its forms requires focused attention. Together with our friends, partners, stakeholders and YMCA’s across the country, the YMCA of Okanagan is committed to find new and better ways to work together so that everyone can feel safe, valued and have equal opportunity in reaching their full potential.

At the YMCA, we stand for equality and justice. Will you stand with us too?