This is a painful and traumatic time. Our nation once again, has been shaken by the death of an African American man, this time in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Our hearts go out to the family and friends of George Floyd, and our colleagues at the YMCA Twin Cities as their community grapples with the aftermath of his death. This death deepens the sorrow of a nation already shocked and in mourning following the murders of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and so many before.
This past weekend, many marched and more bore witness to the anger, frustration, and fear of decades of injustice. We all have a role to play in our personal and professional commitments to changing systemic and anti-black racism in our community. Helping others reach their fullest potential is our mission at the YMCA of Montclair. We are a diverse community that strives for inclusion and equity while knowing there is always work to do. Our commitment to equity calls on us to listen to the pain of living in a society where your humanity is not always valued; speak up during those moments that feel most uncomfortable; and to make a commitment to sincerely confront systemic racism.
- Actively and openly voice support and compassion for those who are uplifted when we stand in solidarity with them.
- Learn more about systemic racism and equity. The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture launched Talking About Race, a new online portal designed to help individuals, families, and communities talk about racism, racial identity and how these forces shape the broader American culture.
- Get involved in local initiatives. Organizations are sponsoring discussion groups and actions. Upcoming local events include the Montclair Education Association on June 2-5, the Montclair Foundation for Educational Excellence on June 14, and the NAACP/BlueWaveNJ townhall series on the criminal justice system (first was held on June 2).
- Books for children: Anti-Racism For Kids 101: Starting To Talk About Race:
- Books About Racism and Social Justice: Common Sense Media
- Ibram Kendi’s Stamped as a YA book (4th and 5th, and perhaps 3rd graders
- 31 Children’s books to support conversations on race, racism and resistance
Let us not remain silent in words or actions as we work to create a more equitable community where ALL of our children can learn, grow, and thrive.
President and CEO
Chair, Diversity, Equity Inclusion Committee