DOUG MCMILLAN: Being a beacon for good and for real change

Posted June 1, 2020 5:00 a.m. EDT

EDITOR'S NOTE: Doug McMillan is the President and CEO of the YMCA of the Triangle. He sent this message on Sunday to the YMCA of the Triangle board of directors, trustees and all full-time staff.

Together, in the midst of fighting this pandemic and facing an incredibly challenging economic situation, we’ve all witnessed the tragic events in Minnesota that took the life of George Floyd and the reactions across the country.

In the wake of Floyd’s death and the video footage that captured it, a demand for justice erupted across our country. From Minnesota to Los Angeles, from Philadelphia to Salt Lake City, from Charlotte to us here at home in the Triangle – protester's reactions reflect the pain, anger and frustration so many of us feel.

I am also deeply saddened by this recent tragedy. And, I am overcome by a sense of never-ending grief due to events like this that took Mr. Floyd’s life and those that continue to happen across our country.

As current events dramatically show us, there remains so much more we need to do as a nation, as a state, as a community and as individuals. This work will require all of us.

The YMCA is a powerful platform. As an anchor in the communities we serve, we are not only a part of the fabric of those communities, we are a beacon for good and for real change.  As an organization focused on strengthening the foundations of our community, we fully embrace that responsibility and are committed to continuing the critical work to address these systemic issues together – fighting to end racism, unequal treatment and bigotry.

As we continue to be a beacon for good and for change, this quote again comes to my mind: “Lighthouses do not fire cannons calling attention to their light – they just simply shine and light the way.”

As a part of our Y, our community needs you to continue to light the way. Now more than ever, it is up to each of us.

Every opportunity we have to serve and interact with one another is an opportunity to be a part of change for the better . How we welcome those who are different from us, how we build common ground together and how we stand for the rights of all individuals – regardless of race, gender, age, orientation, cultural background, ethnicity and faith – ensures everyone has the ability to reach their full potential with dignity.

Thank you for being a part of our Y. And thank you for standing with me in determination to ensure a better tomorrow – for all.

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