- Message from our CEO
Message from our CEO
What We Believe at our YMCA of Greater Richmond
The genesis of the YMCA comes from John 17:21, “That they all may be one…” In unity, we believe that all men and women are created equal in the eyes of God. Our longstanding values – CARING, RESPECT, HONESTY AND RESPONSIBILITY – have always been and will continue to be the guideposts we use to move forward. We strive to exemplify honesty in all we say and do; to care for each other – always; to be responsible for our actions and the stewardship of all we are entrusted with; and be respectful of each other in all ways. We understand that our very existence is tied to one another; that we can only be as strong and as free as each one among us is individually. In times like this, where racial injustices against people of color surround and engulf us all, we must recognize this reality and address it. We will continue to pray for the safety, well-being and wisdom of the men and women who protect and lead our communities.
We are focused and united with our black brothers and sisters in the cause of calling out and renouncing the evil of prejudice that breeds discrimination and that manifests itself in the dehumanization of another human being. We see this today as systemic and structural racism. Our YMCA was founded on the principle “for all.” We believe “that we are all created in the image of God, worthy of respect and dignity, endowed with immeasurable value and love.” It is from this foundation that we will show up, join in conversation, and engage in the work that will be needed to right the wrongs of racial inequality, as well as the denouncement of hatred and brutality toward any individual. We will strive to set an example as we live into our mission to “put Christian principles into practice…for all.”
As the executive leader of this great association, I have a responsibility to share that this YMCA will never stand on the side of the oppressor, that our organization will take action, and we will make decisions that show our community that our YMCA is involved, active and present. We will not be silent and inactive to that which divides us, and we will act appropriately in the face of these volatile and rapidly changing dynamics. I am proud of all the leaders in our association. We must continue to be thoughtful, prayerful, and intentional, as well as act with urgency, in our response. We are about unity, equity, and the potential of all!
It is in this spirit that we will begin with the following:
- We will pray for God’s hand and strength to give us courage to discern and change what we must to honor the God-ordained dignity of all people.
- We will relentlessly review and evaluate our policies, procedures, and practices to identify any, and all, discriminatory actions and take immediate steps for collective reconciliation and change.
- We will be present in body and/or voice in listening and learning, then joining, and even convening if requested, the community for collective thoughts and actions to move from this evil to a greater God-ordained good for our entire community, state and nation.
As one of our board members described in their blog concerning the events of today, “It’s not a moment, it’s a movement.” It is a movement that your YMCA will embrace and be a part of during this time. Black lives do matter, and we will step up and be counted in addressing this historically persistent community health disease of prejudice, discrimination and structural racism. Thank you for standing with your YMCA as we strive to live into the Lord’s command “to love your neighbor as yourself.”
Godspeed my friends.
President & CEO, YMCA of Greater Richmond