For a Better Us

News | Heart of the Valley YMCA | June 18, 2020

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To say we are living in uncertain times would be an understatement. Since 1910, our YMCA has had a commitment toward the common good of all. We have always been more than “just a gym.” Our heritage compels us to recognize and honor the dimensions of diversity that create the beautiful tapestry of our communities in North Alabama. Our ability to welcome and respect people from throughout the world has been fundamental to the economic success of our region. Inclusion and advancement of equity are at the core of our mission. The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have triggered a nationwide discussion on systemic/institutional racism and policing in our communities.


Racism is quite simply one of the pressing societal issues of our time. The values of future generations will be defined by the conversations and dialogue we are willing to have with each other, our family, and especially those who may not look like us or think like us. If we are willing to listen and learn from one another, we have a chance to move toward a more respectful, inclusive and equitable society.


In 2018, Heart of the Valley YMCA was recognized as a member of the Diversity, Inclusion and Global (DIG) Network of the YMCA of the USA. Our YMCA is committed to be an organization that promotes diversity, inclusion and equity. The Heart of the Valley YMCA’s board, staff and membership now reflect more than ever the demographic makeup of our North Alabama region.  In 2016 and for the first time in our history, we elected the first female chair of the Board of Directors, and in 2020, the first African-American chair of our Board of Directors.


The Heart of the Valley YMCA is an advocate and champion for ending systemic, structural, and institutional racism through the engagement of our members, donors, community leaders and other organizations. Our YMCA will provide opportunities for dialogue for those who want to be engaged with others in helping develop a more equitable and inclusive society.


If you are interested in participating in a series of professionally facilitated virtual forums exploring such topics as implicit bias, health disparities, systemic/structural racism and dimensions of diversity, please sign up on our website at this link:



Jerry Courtney
Heart of the Valley YMCA

Frank Williams
Chief Volunteer Officer
Heart of the Valley YMCA

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