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Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Next Stop Freedom: Black History Month at North Suburban YMCA 2023

Black History Month is a time to reflect on the contributions and experiences of Black Americans throughout history. This year, the theme "Black Resistance" is particularly significant as it focuses on the ways in which African Americans have fought against oppression and systemic racism, from the time of slavery to the present day.

At the North Suburban YMCA, the programming for Black History Month is centered around Chicago's role in the Underground Railroad.

The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses used by enslaved Black Americans to escape to freedom.

The network stretched across the United States, with many routes passing through Chicago.

During the mid-19th century, Chicago was a hub for the abolitionist movement, and the city played a significant role in helping enslaved people escape to freedom.

Many prominent abolitionists, such as Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, visited Chicago to rally support for the cause.

Frederick Douglass
, an American social reformer and abolitionist made several visits to Chicago often speaking out against slavery and advocating for the rights of African Americans.

Harriet Tubman
, a prominent abolitionist and conductor of the Underground Railroad, arrived in Chicago as part of a speaking tour to raise awareness and support for the abolitionist cause.

The visual displays at the North Suburban YMCA showcased the history of the Underground Railroad and its significance to the fight for freedom and equality. The displays featured information on the routes that passed through Chicago, the role of abolitionists in aiding escapees, and the dangers that those involved in the Underground Railroad faced.

"Black history is American history.

We not only celebrate Black astronauts, scientists, inventors, artists, and activists of the past, we also celebrate the rise of Black business, arts, and literature that will influence the future,"
said Megan Vazquez, Senior Wellness Director at the NSYMCA.

"At the Y, our programming goes beyond Black History month, it’s about building an inclusive community for everyone regardless of ability, age, background, ethnicity/race, faith, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation," noted Kathy Fielding, North Suburban YMCA CEO.

"Black Resistance" is a powerful theme that encourages us to reflect on the resilience and strength of the Black community in the face of adversity. By highlighting the history of the Underground Railroad, the North Suburban YMCA is helping to educate and inspire its community to continue the fight for justice and equality.