YMCA and Reliant team up for center that combats racial inequality

A diversity center like most have never seen is coming to Houston.

The YMCA of Greater Houston will soon open what's called the Equity Innovation Center Powered by Reliant. The center will have one goal, to combat racial inequality.

There seems to be one question now after the death of George Floyd and as people from all races unite against racial injustice.

"How do we keep this momentum going?” asks Stephen Ives, YMCA of Greater Houston President.

The YMCA's answer? To team up with Reliant Energy creating the Equity Innovation Center Powered by Reliant.

"Houston is the most diverse city in the country. We look at this like we can be part of setting an example in being a shining light that others can look to,” says Reliant President Elizabeth Killinger.

"We're going to walk alongside others in the community as we do our own internal work to break down biases to help each of our individual team members to grow in understanding their role in building a more equitable society,” adds Ives.

The Equity Center will be located inside the Tellepsen Y Downtown.

"The Center will have a historical experience inside it. So people can walk through and learn while they're there,” Ives explains.

Training will also be offered to companies and organizations so Houstonians can learn or unlearn everything related to systemic racism.

“If we work it from all spectrums, from those in their early years of development as well as those people that are in the workforce we can make a lasting difference,” says  Killinger.

The Y of Greater Houston for instance has identified systemic racial inequities regarding its leadership.

“From the board to the senior leadership team to our Vice Presidents to our executives, historically the racial makeup of those teams have not reflected the community,” explains Ives. So measures are being taken to change that.

Also, the Y now has an African American Employee Resource Group and some of the Y's white employees are teaming up as well.

“To begin to understand and unpack a little bit more of our experience of being white in America and how we can be the best allies,” says Ives.

"We really are committed to powering meaningful change and supporting progress in our communities,” adds Killinger.

The first phase of the Equity Center will be rolled out next month.