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In the Spirit of Black History Month 2022

Each year comes with an enduring challenge to eradicate anti-blackness embedded within our society and our world. Black History Month is an important monument of this challenge. The spirit of this Black History Month serves to celebrate and honor Black brilliance, and the culture that surrounds, enhances and is worthy of elevating in our independent work, our organizations work, and our history as a nation.

I believe that in February as we highlight Black History Month we are also individually and collectively called to advocate and champion better policies, practices, and systems year-round. For someone privileged, like myself, this allows ongoing reflective work on how I show up, how I uplift, and I can best foster a space that inherently honors the history and legacies of Black communities around us. This individual, and organizational effort is another approach to intentionally build and strengthen the work we do as an organization and my own work as a leader.

To honor the tapestry of our nation, we will use this month and all months thereafter to highlight this celebration, inspiration, history, and with our actions, working to epitomize our commitment towards becoming an Anti-Racist, Multicultural, and Equitable organization that serves all. We invite you to not only take actions to fight injustices, racism, and prejudices that affect the African American community, but also celebrate Black History, Black innovation, Black leadership, and triumph coming from so many leaders, program, and communities right here in the Bay Area.

During Black History Month and throughout the year, you will see consistent, compelling, and intentional ways we celebrate the voices of our Black and African American staff, families and communities. At the Y, we will continue to uplift the people, programs, and collaborations that service needs and have an incredible impact in African American spaces; like our AAHW program community walks, our staff working to diversify outdoors, and so much more. I hope you feel inspired by this work and find ways to be more intentional about the challenges we face as a community and nation. Mark this celebratory month to honor and respect all the work done in the past, present, and future.

Let’s celebrate all the leaders and groups that have gotten us to this moment, acknowledge and name the huge work ahead of us, undoubtedly leading us to a brighter future. As always, I end with hope and a commitment to lead in ways that make you proud, in partnership with community.

In solidarity,

Jamie Burning-Miles