Black History Month at the Y

Black background with white text: Black History Month, February 2022, YMCA of Central New York. In the bottom right corner is a collage of historical black figures.


As we move into the month of February at our Y, we're focusing on honoring and celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of Black people to our country's history, as well as our health, through continuing to manage through the pandemic and our heart health. Please join us for a series of events both in our branches and online! 


Friday, February 4th

Help us kick off Heart Health Month by participating in National Wear Red Day(r) on Friday, February 4th along with our partners at the American Heart Association! Our Y is working to reduce hypertension through efforts like our Blood Pressure Self Monitoring program. 

Learn more at 


Friday, February 11th

The Downtown Writers Center presents Poet ALLISON JOSEPH 
Register on Zoom  

Born in London, England to parents of Caribbean heritage, Allison Joseph serves as poetry editor of Crab Orchard Review, the publisher of No Chair Press, and the director of Writers In Common, a writing conference for writers of all ages and experience levels. In 2014, she was awarded a Doctor of Letters honorary degree from her undergraduate alma mater, Kenyon College. Her many books and chapbooks include What Keeps Us Here (Ampersand Press), Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon), and In Every Seam (University of Pittsburgh Press). Her book Confessions of a Barefaced Woman was a 2019 nominee for the NAACP Image Awards, and a finalist for both the Montaigne Medal and the Da Vinci Eye Book Award. Her latest book of poems is Lexicon


Wednesday, February 16th 

COVID QUESTIONS with Dr. Elizabeth Asiago Reddy, MD, MS Co-presented by CNY Pride and YMCA of CNY. 
Register on Zoom  

Dr. Elizabeth Asiago Reddy, MD, MS is an Associate Professor of Medicine and the Division Chief of Infection Disease at Inclusive Health Services at Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, NY; and an infectious disease expert.  

Dr. Reddy will be joining us for a brief presentation on the science of COVID, followed by a moderated Q&A session. To help us best organize the evening, please submit your questions in advance.  

Do you have questions for Dr. Reddy about COVID? Please email them to by Feb 15. Thank you! 


Thursday, February 24th 

A Special Reading and Conversation with Michele Jones Galvin, Descendent Biographer of Harriet Tubman 
Register on Zoom 

The YMCA of CNY is honored to host a very special virtual reading and conversation with Michele Jones Galvin, the Syracuse-based Descendent Biographer of Harriet Tubman. The event will take place on Thursday, February 24 at 6pm, via Zoom. Please register here to join us.  

Michele Jones Galvin will read from Beyond the Underground: Aunt Harriet, Moses of Her People, which she co-authored with her mother Joyce Stokes Jones. The reading will be followed by a conversation with Darnell Hayes, Vice President of Operations of the YMCA of Central New York. The book is available for purchase online at and other book retailers.  

Please join us for this meaningful and unique opportunity to celebrate Black History Month with our neighbor Ms. Jones Galvin and the spirit of one of our greatest American ancestors, liberators, and visionaries—Aunt Harriet.  

Michele Jones Galvin is a 3x Great Grandniece of Harriet Tubman. Ms. Jones Galvin and her mother, Joyce Stokes Jones, co-authored Beyond the Underground: Aunt Harriet, Moses of Her People. As Descendant Biographers, they have penned the creative nonfiction based on genealogical and historical research about Harriet Ross Tubman Davis, Greatest Conductor of the Underground Railroad and celebrated Civil War General. 

The book chronicles the family lineage from the survival of the Middle Passage to slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland to freedom in Canada. They then settled in Upstate New York. Beyond the Underground: Aunt Harriet, Moses of Her People is an intricate mix of memoir, family lore and historical reconstruction. 

Ms. Jones Galvin is retired. In her professional career, she specialized in Human Services program design, implementation and evaluation. Areas of expertise included coordination and collaboration of government and community initiatives, communications and strategic planning. Ms. Jones Galvin is a certified Bridges Out of Poverty facilitator, and a certified National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) trainer. 

Before relocating to Syracuse, Ms. Jones Galvin was awarded a Master’s Degree in Psychology from the New School for Social Research, New York City. She received a Bachelor’s Degree with a double concentration in Psychology and African American Studies from Fordham University, New York City. 

Ms. Jones Galvin serves on the Board of Directors of the George and Rebecca Barnes Foundation, FOCUS Greater Syracuse, Guardian Angel Society, Loretto Corporate Management and League of Women Voters. Current affiliations: Junior League of Syracuse; Syracuse Chapter of Lambda Kappa Mu, Inc.; Syracuse Chapter of The Links, Inc; Syracuse Chapter of National Council of Negro Women; Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Kappa Xi Zeta Chapter; and Syracuse Chapter of the NAACP. In 2020, Ms. Jones Galvin was a recipient of the NAACP Presidential Award. Ms. Jones Galvin was also named Co-Chair of the 2020 New York State Centennial Suffrage Conference, serving with Kenneth Morris, Jr. (Descendant of Frederick Douglass) and Alice Keesey Mecoy (Descendant of John Brown). 


Friday, February 25th 

All Day 

The Y's African American Resource Network (AARN) cast a vision in 2018, as a response to the societal awakening to systemic racism, imploring all Ys to become anti-racist, multicultural organizations that intentionally lead and boldly model diverse and inclusive cultures that impact and strengthen the foundations of our communities. The AARN acknowledges the history of racism in the US which permeates every system including our organization. We acknowledge that in order to dismantle these systems of oppression we must work in solidarity against all forms of social inequality and oppression. The YMCA of Central New York invites you to join us for We Wear Black on Feb 25, to take a stand against injustice and racism in all forms. Join us. Take a Stand.  

How to Participate in We Wear Black: 

  1. On Feb 25, coordinate with your friends and colleagues to wear Black, take a photo, and post with a short statement on why you wear black. Be sure to hashtag #WeWearBlack and tag @globalymca. Encourage others to post and engage! 

  1. Amplify the social media assets that the YMCA of Central New York will be sharing, encouraging your community to join you in #WeWearBlack. 

  1. Use the We Wear Black virtual background (outfitted for Zoom) during your virtual meetings in the month of February to spread the word! 

  1. Celebrate Black History month by attending special YCNY virtual events, including Downtown Writers Center online readings by poets Allison Joseph (2/11) and Crystal Williams (2/25), and a very special event with Michelle Jones Galvin, Descendent Biographer of Harriet Tubman (2/24). 

Thank you for taking a stand alongside the African American Resource Network and the YMCA of Central New York! We can’t wait to see your photos and solidarity for We Wear Black. 


The Downtown Writers Center presents Poet CRYSTAL WILLIAMS 
Register on Zoom  

Crystal Williams, a poet and essayist, has published four collections of poems, most recently Detroit as Barn, a finalist for the National Poetry Series, Cleveland State Open Book Prize, and the Maine Book Award. Her third collection, Troubled Tongues, was awarded the 2009 Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Prize, and was a finalist for the 2009 Oregon Book Award, the Idaho Poetry Prize, and the Crab Orchard Poetry Prize. Her first two books, Kin and Lunatic, were published by Michigan State University Press in 2000 and 2002. Her work has regularly appeared in the nation’s leading journals and magazines, including American Poetry Review, Ms. Magazine, and Ploughshares, and in such anthologies as Angels Ascent: The Norton Anthology of African American Poetry, and American Poetry: The Next Generation. In October 2017, Crystal Williams joined Boston University as Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion. In 2020 she became Vice President and Associate Provost for Community and Inclusion, with an expanded portfolio that includes BU’s Arts Initiative, Organizational Development and Learning, the Newbury Center, the LGBTQIA+ Faculty/Staff Center, academic Living and Learning Centers, in addition to BU Diversity & Inclusion.