Author Topic: Racism at YMCA of Greater Toronto  (Read 6987 times)

Seddig

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Racism at YMCA of Greater Toronto
« on: May 23, 2008, 09:59:10 PM »
We want to share experiences of people of colour and Aboriginal Peoples who complaint about racism at the YMCA of Greater Toronto: it is reported that those who complaint about racism are treated with disrespect and hostility by staff. Staffs construct a crime against individuals who bring forward complaints about racism.

If the individual persist and ask for follow up the case is given to a person of colour with no skills or will to deal with racism. There is no appropriate investigation. The process that they call “investigation” does not include appropriate questioning of witness or individuals involved. Their executives do not expect a written report from the middle mangers about their finding or their investigation process.

 Any complaint about lack of proper investigation process is referred back to the individual that is in the centre of the complaint. Just imagine if complaints of sexual assault would be referred back to the person at the center of the complaint? But YMCA of Greater Toronto President, and the Chair of the Board see it as appropriate to refer back a complaint of racism to the people at the center of the complaint.

The degree of arrogance towards Aboriginal Peoples, people of colour and community members is so evident. By this action they are telling our youth that they (YMCA) don’t see them as deserving of equity and respect. Those who insist for follow up by the executives are target of bullying by staff. Staffs support the perpetrators of racism and bully targets of racism.

YMCA of Greater Toronto is just too happy to take our public fund and charities that can be better used in other areas, and use it to support their current system and practices which is clearly built of the believes of white supremacy. Their system totally disregards people of colour and Aboriginal Peoples who are not willing to comply with practices of white supremacy.

Their practices bottom streams people of colour and Aboriginal Peoples and the impact of this treatment on our youth is tremendous. It greatly impacts the self esteem of Aboriginal youth and youth of colour which in turn contributes to violence. Lack of self esteem resulted in high rate of suicide among Aboriginal youth and Youth of colour are killing each other in streets of Toronto while YMCA of Greater Toronto is using our community resources to uphold a system of white supremacy.

A group of community members had send a written request to the YMCA board and requested to meet with the board to discuss racism at the YMCA of Greater Toronto but this request was rejected by the chair of the board.

By contributing to the YMCA of Greater Toronto you are contributing to the system of white supremacy. We encourage you to stop all your contributions and donations to the YMCA of Greater Toronto until such a time that they develop appropriate policies and procedure in place and change their organizational structure to support an anti-racist environment.

Gigi

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Re: Racism at YMCA of Greater Toronto
« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2008, 02:59:41 PM »
Just so that you don't think we're ignoring you, I am posting a reply.

Unfortunately, I don't belong to (or even give to - that I know of) the YMCA, so I can't really comment on the issue at hand.  I have made a mental note, though, and should I hear of friends using their services or donating, I will mention this.

Seddig

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Re: Racism at YMCA of Greater Toronto
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2008, 03:55:35 PM »
Thanks Gigi it is very helpful.

Soon we will be posting a sample letter that many have been sending to the YMCA of Greater Toronto asking for human rights policies and organizational changes and also for investigation of existing complaints of racism.

deBeauxOs

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Re: Racism at YMCA of Greater Toronto
« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2008, 03:58:12 PM »
I don't live in Toronto, but I am interested in your pursuit of social justice.  Keep posting updates and take the time to read and support other threads, too.

skdadl

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Re: Racism at YMCA of Greater Toronto
« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2008, 03:58:52 PM »
I will as well, Seddig.

noor

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Re: Racism at YMCA of Greater Toronto
« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2008, 05:20:08 PM »
As was promissed, below you can find a sample letter to the Chair and President of the YMCA of Greater Toronto. Please take few minutes to send this message and distribute widely. The letter can be cc’d to the CEO of United Way of York Region to inform them of the situation as a funder. Here is contact for the CEO of United Way:
Daniele Zanotti
Chief Executive Officer
E-mail: dzanotti@uwyr.on.ca" target=_blank
please also cc it to any media contact you may have.

Scott Haldane, President YMCA of Greater Toronto: scott.haldane@ymcagta.org" target=_blank
Bahadur Madhani, Chair of the Board, YMCA of Greater Toronto: bmadhani@equiprop.com" target="_blank

I am writing in regards to Human rights at the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

YMCA of Greater Toronto is an organization which receives funding to provide services to diverse communities. In order to serve a diverse community an organization needs to develop policies and structure to effectively meet the needs of its diverse service users, staff, volunteers and other stakeholders. This system has to have accountability built into it to ensure that the culture and practices of the organization support an anti-racist structure.

Anti-racism emphasizes a holistic approach to the development of anti-racist ideologies, goals, policies, and practices. As an organizational response it requires the formation of new organizational structures; the introduction of new cultural norms and value systems; changes in power dynamics; the implementation of new employment systems; substantive changes in services delivered; support for new roles and relationships at all levels of the organization; new patterns and more inclusive styles of leadership and decision-making; and the reallocation of resources. Strategic planning, organizational audits and reviews, monitoring and accountability systems and training are all considered an integral part of the management of anti-racist change (Carol Tater, Dec 2004).


YMCA’s practices and lack of accountability about racism impacts our youth tremendously. Practices of the YMCA of Greater Toronto bottom streams people of colour and Aboriginal peoples, especially youth. Ongoing devaluation of youth result in low self-esteem and ultimately in behaviours such as direct acts of violence. Youth of colour are killing each other in the streets of Toronto; Aboriginal families are enduring high rate of suicide among Aboriginal youth while organizations such as YMCA, which are receiving funding to provide services to youth, are refusing to deal with existing racism within their organizations.

Current structure of the YMCA of Greater Toronto pays lip service to “diversity” and “anti-racist” issues while the structure and practices clearly upholds and maintains a power relation that supports white supremacy. Practices of YMCA of Greater Toronto shows that differential access are built into the every day norms, policies and practices of this organization, as well as the behaviours and assumptions of individuals within this organization. Its diversity “policy” is a statement of high-sounding principles and empty promises with no implementation plan.

I am writing to inform you that I am not willing to offer any donation to the YMCA of Greater Toronto until such a time that this organization develops a comprehensive anti-racist policy with clear implementation and accountability process. A policy that mandates an appropriate complaint investigation process which includes clear and detailed written notes of all complaints and witness statements. A process that requires investigation by a trained and independent person with in-depth knowledge and understanding of racism. A policy which includes built in accountability such as proper report to the complainer about the finding of the investigation and the process which was used to arrive at that conclusion. The process should include measures to give the individuals involved an opportunity to examine the investigation process and raise policy related issues.

An organization should make its policies and procedure available to its stakeholders, specially those who are involved in the complaint, in order for them to be aware of their rights and responsibilities and assess the process used against the policy.

Furthermore we ask for proper investigation of existing complaints of racism with proper reporting mechanism to the complainer.

Ontario Human Rights Commission’s document states:


“Anti-racism implies a goal of producing an understanding of what racism is and how it can be challenged.”
“No institution can address the issue of systemic racism without a system of both individual and organizational accountability. A powerful example of the impact of a lack of accountability is identified by Verma and Wente (no date) in the case of McKinnon v.Ontario (Ontario Ministry of Correctional Service). The lack of accountability is reflected in the total absence of management action against the racial discrimination experienced by a correctional officer of Aboriginal descent employed at the Metro Toronto East Detention Centre. In the initial decision in 1998, the Board found that there were several factors contributing to a poisoned work environment and that management at every level failed to seriously investigate allegations of racial discrimination or to take measures to avoid their repetition. Mr. McKinnon was "bullied" by management when he raised the complaints. The complainants were subject to reprisals from other employees with no response from management. Despite the order of the Board to implement action toward systemic change in the Ministry of Corrections, by 2002 it was clear that the Ministry had failed to comply fully with the orders; and the environment of the workplace and organizational continued to remain poisoned. The new orders were based on an acknowledgement by the Board that the redress of institutional racism rests with every level of an institution.”

Above example clearly explains the situation at the YMCA of Greater Toronto and we ask for immediate action by the board of the directors and senior staff at the YMCA of Greater Toronto.

Furthermore we urge donors and funders to withdraw all funds and donations from YMCA of Greater Toronto until such a time that this organization develops a comprehensible policy and makes appropriate and necessary changes to its structure.

Seddig

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Re: Racism at YMCA of Greater Toronto
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2008, 12:16:02 PM »
Thanks Skdadl and deBeauxOs and everyone for your support. Hopefully we can change things.

Seddig

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Re: Racism at YMCA of Greater Toronto
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2008, 12:25:57 PM »
“Carolynn was nursing at a Y in Canada while watching her older children’s swimming lesson. She was approached by a staff member who asked her to move to a more private location because the Y was “a family-oriented place.” When Carolynn stood her ground and refused to move the employee left and returned, reporting that “her supervisor, Sherri Perez, told her that my right to breastfeed did not extend to the Y.” Later the staff admitted that “no person had complained, but that the staff had collectively agreed that my breastfeeding was indecent, that they were incredulous that I would breastfeed there, and that something should be said to me.”
http://twinkies.bastetweb.com/2007/09/1 ... olate-law/

“A labour organization in the Toronto area is urging people to cancel their YMCA memberships....”
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/1999/01/ ... 90120.html

anne cameron

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Re: Racism at YMCA of Greater Toronto
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2008, 02:09:41 AM »
Any mother should be welcome to breastfeed her baby anywhere in this nation the baby decides it is hungry.

To suggest in any way there is anything obscene, tasteless, or uncouth about breastfeeding is to show proof that dinosaurs are still alive and underfoot in Canada.

And some place which puts itself forward as "family oriented" ought to bloodywell know better!

arborman

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Re: Racism at YMCA of Greater Toronto
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2008, 09:57:51 AM »
Quote from: anne cameron

And some place which puts itself forward as "family oriented" ought to bloodywell know better!

That's the darkly funny bit right there.  What is more family oriented than nursing?
The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter what place in history or society; they can be a part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.

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Re: Racism at YMCA of Greater Toronto
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2008, 09:57:51 AM »

 

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