Following the death of George Floyd, the world saw protests and demonstrations like never before. We were all forced to finally face issues that have plagued this country for centuries: racism and injustice. In times like this, it’s necessary to hear from some of the most important voices, the youth. They are the future leaders of the country, fearless and most energized to drive change.
The Summit Area YMCA stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement as we follow our 4 core values at the Y: caring, respect, responsibility and honesty. We are a YMCA dedicated to creating welcoming and safe environments for all, promoting equality and equity, and providing opportunities for every individual to learn, grow and thrive. As a part of our cause to support all, including those most vulnerable in our communities, the Summit Area YMCA hosted a virtual teen panel to provide a platform for youth voices in our community so that it may shed light on the experiences of people of color, specifically black Americans.
During the virtual teen panel, local teens discussed topics on racism, equality, how we should move forward as a country as well as their personal experiences as young black and brown teens living in and attending schools in predominantly white neighborhoods. In an effort to continue the conversations on racism and injustice, the teen panel was purposefully held several months after George Floyds death, as quarantines lift and businesses and schools begin to slowly reopen.
"The last thing we want is for these important topics to fade away like some kind of trend," said Trevor Cromwell, Senior Coordinator for Youth and Teens at the Summit YMCA. "We have to keep talking about it. Even if it's difficult to talk about, it's important for us to talk through them together with respect, patience and empathy. It's important to hear the experiences and voices of those who are hurting, and to continue working together to build a better future."
The panelists are Makayla C. (Junior at Governor Livingston), Reina S. (8th grader at Kent Place School), Tania E. (Senior at Summit High School) and Gabe A. (Junior at Summit High School).
Learn more about our dedication to diversity and inclusion at www.thesay.org/dig
See our statement of solidarity at: https://www.thesay.org/blm
About the Summit Area YMCA
The Summit Area YMCA is one of the area’s leading 501(c)(3) charitable organizations. Founded in 1886, the Summit Area YMCA has a history steeped in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone, regardless of age, income and background, has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Each year, we serve more than 15,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the communities of Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Millburn, New Providence, Short Hills, Springfield, Stirling and Summit. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those with demonstrated need.