This week marks two very important international days of remembrance. On 21 August we pay tribute to the victims of terrorism and on 22 August commemorate the victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief. All over the world, especially over the past few months, we have seen countless individuals and communities attacked by acts of religious-based terrorism, both foreign and domestic.
At YMCA, tolerance, kindness and acceptance is at the root of our Movement. The following Statement of Inclusion was approved by the World YMCA Executive Committee in April 2017:
Diversity around the globe was accepted in the founding document of the World Alliance of YMCAs in 1855, where it is stated that no issues, however important they may be, shall divide the YMCA. The focus is on unity in Christ – “that they all may be one.”
Therefore – diversity and inclusion are core to the YMCA movement.
Therefore – the YMCA movement is open and inclusive of all people regardless of their ability, age, culture, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation and socio-economic background.
However, we admit that we are not perfect in demonstrating God’s unconditional love, and that it is an ongoing process to become fully inclusive in order to improve our service to humanity.
Therefore, the YMCA movement must strive courageously against any discriminatory behaviour and will always abide by the UN Human Rights Declaration.
YMCA is dedicated to providing safe spaces to empower young people facing violence and extremism to find solutions and common ground with one another. A prime example can be found in YMCA Africa. The Because I Count programme engages young people in interfaith dialogue that prevents the effects of religious marginalisation, to celebrate religious diversity and to counter violent extremism.
YMCA condemns attacks that target people based on the way they look, who they love or how they worship. We must reject any kind of violence. We must embrace our humanity and acknowledge diversity. We must fight, not against one another, but for the good of our neighbour, wherever they come from. Together, let’s plant the seeds of acceptance in the hearts of our children and young people to ensure peace prevails.