A statement from President and CEO, Kyle Cronk
Recently, I was made aware of a historical image displayed at the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, depicting a violent, racist game at a Wisconsin YMCA camp. This image reminds me that the Y is a microcosm of our community and our country. Next to all of the good we’ve done, stand things I am not proud of – things I don’t want to revisit because they make me uncomfortable, ashamed and hurt. When I saw it my first reaction was to protect the organization – to hide this piece of our past – but that won’t allow us to heal.
While this was not our Y, I’m not surprised racist incidents of this nature occurred in our organization’s past nor will I be surprised if other dehumanizing events are uncovered. I also believe that, in order to move forward as an organization and as a country, we must acknowledge our past and denounce racism while, simultaneously, charting a path of healing and belonging. Like every institution in America, we have a long way to go and I’m hopeful we will get there together.
Anti-racism work is both deeply personal, and essential to the public good. Discussions of our racial history bring up feelings of anger, sadness, confusion, hopelessness, and shame. There is no question that this is difficult work. The South Sound Y is committed to having these conversations and moving this work and our community forward. I encourage you to join us.
KYLE CRONK (He/Him/His)
SOUTH SOUND YMCA