February is Black History Month, a time to elevate the Y’s commitment to diversity and inclusion throughout the organization’s history. Black History Month is a time of education, reflection and action. The Y celebrates and honors the Black community every day. We will be proudly spotlighting our Black employees and volunteers via social media and on this blog throughout February.

Did you know that Black History Month has roots associated with the Y? University of Chicago alumnus Carter G. Woodson was so inspired by the three-week national celebration of the 50th anniversary of emancipation he attended in Chicago, he met with a small group at the Wabash Avenue YMCA and formed the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH). This began the foundation of what would eventually become Black History Month.

Known as the "Father of Black History," Woodson wanted the study of past Black life to have a significant impact, stating, "We are going back to that beautiful history and it is going to inspire us to greater achievements."

#WeWearBlack - Friday, February 24

We invite you to join us for #WeWearBlack on February 24 to take a stand against injustice and racism in all forms. #WeWearBlack to bring awareness to systemic racism and oppression of Black people in the United States and around the globe. Join us in this awareness effort as #WeWearBlack to show unity with those who are working daily to fight injustice, prejudice and inequity and as a symbol of hope, awareness and togetherness. Capture your #WeWearBlack moment by taking a picture, posting it to social media with #WeWearBlack and tagging us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

David Frederick

Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy and Brand Officer

 "At the Y, we are welcoming for all so we want to make sure that everyone takes time to learn a bit more about African American culture, because really, Black history is about American history."


Garrett Morgan

It's safe to say that Garrett Morgan's original designs and patents have saved thousands of lives since their inception. His traffic signal was the first to offer a third "caution" signal, which we now know as the yellow light. In 1912 Morgan also received a patent for his "Breathing Device" which was one of the earliest versions of a gas mask.

Alexander Miles

Another innovation that contributed to saving lives was Alexander Miles's elevator design! While riding a manual elevator that had the shaft door open with his daughter, he realized the constant hazard these elevators posed. In 1887, he obtained the patent for his invention, which included a flexible belt attached to the elevator cage that allowed the doors to function automatically. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007.

Marie Van Brittan Brown

ADT, SimpliSafe and Vivint would not be what they are today without the patent filed by Marie Van Brittan Brown in 1966. In an effort to increase her own home's security in Queens, New York, she ended up creating the foundation for today's modern home security systems. Brown invented a system that used a camera which could slide into and look through four peepholes in her front door, with the feed appearing on monitors within her home.

George Crum

George Crum, a chef and restauranteur, is said to have unintentionally created the potato chip during the summer of 1853. They were made in response to a customer who sent back their fried potatoes after complaining they were too thick. The crisps were an instant hit, and though Crum never patented the creations, chips are arguably now one of the world’s favorite snacks.


The YMCA of San Diego County is an organization open to all people. We welcome and value individuals of all age, race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity, gender expression, ability, sexual orientation or financial circumstance. We are committed to having programs and services that embrace diversity, reflecting the people and needs of our community.


The YMCA of San Diego County acknowledges the racial injustices that have been faced and are still being endured by our Black and Indigenous communities. The past several years have reignited strong feelings related to social justice that many disenfranchised communities, specifically our BIPOC community, have felt for a long time. The Racial Justice Task Force at the YMCA was created to unify and empower efforts towards racial equity within our YMCA and our community to make San Diego more inclusive.