Black History Month 2023

Celebrating Black Voices | Black History Month at the YMCA of Central New York

The YMCA of Central New York is celebrating Black History Month with a series of events presented within the association and in partnership with YMCAs across the nation. Please join us as we celebrate Black voices. 


Friday, February 24th
All Day

Join the YMCA of Central New York in solidarity with the African American Resource Network for We Wear Black Day on February 24th. We are all better when we commemorate the renaissance, resistance, and rejoicing that makes the African American experience unique.

During Black History Month and for the remaining 306 days of the year, let’s take time to appreciate:

The RENAISSANCE of advancements in and for the black community. A renaissance that is made stronger with the support of allies. A renaissance that includes a renewed appreciation for the contributions of black people in all aspects of society.

The RESISTANCE of impediments and systems that affect African American people and communities at disproportionate rates. Barriers that are perpetuated through health disparities, quality of life inequities and decreased mortality rates.

The REJOICING that occurs when our shared humanity allows us ALL to see ourselves in one another. A triumph of spirit that is evidenced when the richness of black culture is experienced!

United we stand, divided we fall…..many hands make light work…… a stick in a bundle is unbreakable…. there is strength in unity…… All these imply one thing.


Join us for We Wear Black!


"Structural Racism and Health Disparities in Syracuse, NY"
with Brittany Taylor, American Heart Association of Central New York

Monday, February 27th
12:00pm - 1:00pm
Online Virtual Event

Please join us on Monday, February 27, 2023 from 12pm to 1pm for a conversation with Brittany Taylor from the American Heart Association of Central New York. This conversation will explore the history and intersection of structural racism and its influence on health outcomes in Syracuse, NY. Our speaker will discuss lasting effects of red lining, bias, and how a system rigged against those living on the South Side continues to impact health and well-being. 

Our speaker, Brittany Taylor, will speak based on her experience as a lifelong Syracuse resident and current Community Impact Director of the American Heart Association for Central New York. She has over 10 years working in the healthcare industry understanding how policy directly impacts our opportunities, access, and delivery for health-related services. 

The American Heart Association & American Stroke Association is the nation’s oldest, largest voluntary organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Founded by six cardiologists in 1924, our organization now includes more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters working tirelessly to eliminate these diseases. We fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to save and improve lives. Our mission is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. 

Register Today


Friday, March 3rd
Online Virtual Event

Ama Codjoe is the author of Bluest Nude and Blood of the Air, winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. She has been awarded support from Cave Canem, Robert Rauschenberg, and Saltonstall foundations as well as from Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, Hawthornden, Hedgebrook, Yaddo, and MacDowell. Her recent poems have appeared in the Atlantic, the Nation, the Best American Poetry series, and elsewhere. Among other honors, Codjoe has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council/New York Foundation of the Arts, and the Jerome Foundation.

Register today




Our President & CEO, Bertram L. Lawson II sits down to talk about the origins of the We Wear Black initiative and how you can get more involved.


In 2022, we had the honor of hearing from Michele Jones Galvin, descendent biographer of Harriet Tubman. You can watch her talk from last year's We Wear Black event.  


Learn about the origins of Black History Month and its beginnings at a YMCA in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood. 


Black Leaders play a vital role in the history and future of the YMCA. Learn more about some notable leaders in our movement.