On behalf of the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo, I want to share our thoughts on the tragic and completely avoidable death of George Floyd. First, let me tell you where we stand. The YMCA is about caring, equity, respect, justice, and fairness, and we are here to support our community and to partner with organizations that share our values. It is our goal to lift people up. To help them succeed. And we know not everyone is treated by these values equally, especially those in our black community.

We COMMIT to being part of the solution.

As a person who has not had the first-hand experiences as my friends of color, I wasn't t sure I was the right person to voice the frustration and pain that our organization feels over this tragedy. But as an organization and as a leader in this community, it is our responsibility to not sit idly when tragedy strikes.

Know that much of what I have learned in life is from my experience with the YMCA. From the moment I walked into the YMCA in Madison, Wisconsin over 40 years ago, the Y changed my life. I was taught the meanings of those words fairness, equality, right and wrong, and respect. Let me be clear: nothing about the incident that took place on May 25, 2020, was fair, right, or respectful. It was the taking of innocent life. It was avoidable. It was sad. It was painful. And we are sorry that it happened.

Know that we at the YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo stands with those in pain, those suffering, and those that feel alone. As an organization, what I can say unequivocally and with extreme certainty when we see injustice, inequality, racism, xenophobia, abuse, or anything else that does not match our values we will call it out.

You are not alone and we see you.

Dave Morgan, CEO YMCA of Greater Kalamazoo with the support of the YMCA Board of Directors

June 13th, 2020