Dear Friends and Members of the YMCA:
Following our country’s first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, which occurred on Orange Shirt Day, I continue to contemplate the tragic history and the ongoing legacy of residential schools and practices of discrimination.
Like many of you, this weekend I will be sitting down with my family to give thanks for the many joys that fill my life. I live in a beautiful country (which I got to see firsthand as on a road trip with my youngest son this summer); I have a job that fulfills me in its mission to build stronger, healthier communities; and I have a family who give me love and support whether they are near or far. I am a very fortunate man.
While I consider these gifts, I must also consider the tragic genesis of this holiday we will be celebrating and reflect on what I can do to advance the goals of the Truth and Reconciliation Report. The YMCA is a strong supporter of Truth and Reconciliation (You can read Y Canada’s Statement here.) and I am fortunate to have mentors to guide me as I continue my own path of discovery. If you are interested in learning more about our past and present, the Orange Shirt Day and Truth and Reconciliation Committee websites have lots of good information and personal stories.
As I reconcile past and present, and look to the promise in our future, I hope that you will join with me in gratitude for the many wonders in our lives and the desire to move forward to build the Canada we want – where everyone is treated with respect and dignity and has equitable opportunities.
Wishing you and yours a love-filled Thanksgiving and a very happy autumn.
CEO, YMCA of Eastern Ontario