A Safe Space For All

Community

All of us at the YMCA of Austin are saddened and outraged by the recent acts of violence against the Asian-American and Pacific Islander community.

As a leading local nonprofit with a global reach and an inclusive mission, the Y condemns this violence as well as discrimination in any form. We believe that such acts —particularly those motivated by ignorance, racism, and prejudice—violate our core Y values of caring, honesty, respect, and responsibility.

The Y stands in our community as a safe space for all. We work every day to create understanding among people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives and ensure all people, no matter who they are or where they come from, have the opportunity to reach their full potential with dignity.

Our commitment to Youth Development calls us to lead by example, instilling the values of inclusivity and compassion by fostering good character. Our commitment to Healthy Living compels us to create welcoming environments in which we celebrate the uniqueness of cultures and backgrounds. Our commitment to Social Responsibility drives us to offer programs and services that address systemic inequities and promote racial healing.

I am reminded of Fred Y. Hoshiyama, a legend in the YMCA movement, whose words and vision for the Y spoke to my heart and mind early in my Y career: “I firmly believe the YMCA movement will develop a world of justice, freedom, and democracy.” Fred was born in 1914 and spoke of a sign on a highway near where he grew up that stated, “Japs, Keep Out.”

During one of our country’s darkest hours, Fred, along with approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans, was incarcerated in a concentration camp by the U.S. Government during World War II

Based on his experience as a youth and later as a staff member with the YMCA, Fred helped start what is probably the only YMCA organized within a concentration camp, to provide developmental activities for youth in the camps. In reflecting on the treatment received by many Japanese Americans, he stated, “This was not a right thing for a democracy like ours to do to any citizenry. We must never let it happen again.” Let us remember Fred’s words and his call to “never let it happen again.”

We will continue working in solidarity with our partners to end racism and stop racially motivated violence. We encourage you to review this list of resources compiled by the YMCA Asian & Pacific Islander Leadership Network, and we urge our neighbors to join us in advancing inclusion for all and eliminating hate.

 

Written by:

Kathy Kuras, President & CEO, YMCA of Austin

 

Quotes above from the book Pearls: The Fred Y. Hoshiyama Story, as told to D. Nakashima, Edited By C. Altschul, 2010

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathy Kuras
President & CEO
All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to info@austinymca.org

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