YMCA Houston takes stance on civil unrest in Houston, across the country

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The national, and local chapters of the YMCA took a stance on the civil unrest taking place across the country.

"We're proud to serve, we're heartbroken and we're anxious to be part of the conversation, part of the solution," said Stephen Ives, the president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Houston.

Ives, who is relatively new to Houston, participated in Tuesday's march with George Floyd's family, alongside fellow YMCA colleagues. He's been watching and commends how his fellow Houstonians have taken action.

"There's something special about this city, and I've seen it show up in a pretty powerful way. The behavior of our mayor and of our police chief, Art Acevedo, and our police officers, showing true compassion for how people are feeling," said Ives.

He said the YMCA have been speaking with their employees about what has been taking place in Houston and across the country. Ives said they will be launching "equity centers," modeled after the Twin Cities YMCA, which are spaces that encourage and make possible important conversations, education, and training surrounding equity leadership.

"We're talking a lot with our white allies," said Ives. "I'm one of them, and how important it is for us to speak up, but also how important it is to take over our own education, understanding and awareness of what it means to be an ally."

Ives also said they're expanding their work in equity inclusion, which has always been a big part of their organization.

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