Did you know that Black History Month has roots associated with the YMCA? In 1915, Carter G. Woodson, a University of Chicago alumnus, arrived in Chicago to attend a national celebration of the 50th anniversary of emancipation sponsored by the state of Illinois.
Inspired by this three-week celebration where thousands of African Americans had traveled from across the country to see exhibits that highlighted the progress of their people since the end of slavery, Woodson met at the Wabash Avenue YMCA in Chicago with a small group and formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). This began the foundation that would create Negro History and Literature Week, renamed Negro Achievement Week, later Negro History Week, and eventually Black History Month.
Who are We?
We believe we're stronger together when individuals can freely express their authentic selves. Our YMCA is focused on addressing our Greater Waterbury Community's most critical needs and is dedicated to Urban Engagement, Diverse Abilities, LGBTQ+, and much more. Our communities are intertwined and what happens here makes an impact in communities around the world. Here at the Y, we seek to lead as an anti-racist, multi-cultural organization more effectively and acknowledge that there is much work ahead of us towards adapting anti-racist principles and ensuring equity and inclusion for all. As we embark on this journey together, we do so with humility, fully cognizant that we have so much more work to do as a local and national institution.
The Diversity & Inclusion Committee has been established to ensure that our Y has the checks and balances that we need to ensure that our Y is inclusive and that no one voice is left out. The committee meets quarterly to discuss the organization's DIG priorities to ensure all society segments have access to the Y. The following are questions that drive the work of the committee:
- How do we respond to changing community demographics?
- How do we engage a diverse population and ensure access to the Y?
- How do we strengthen our diversity and inclusion practices?
- How do we adapt policies and procedures to ensure relevancy to diverse populations?