On Saturday, September 25th, the Charles River YMCA held its annual “Gratitude on the Green” Gala to celebrate our collective impact on the lives of children, families, adults and seniors in Needham. It was a wonderful celebration of community and the love and admiration we share for one another. However, the spirit of the evening would be disrupted, unbeknownst to us at the time, by a hate speech in the form of a “homophobic slur.”

We were appalled to learn on Sunday that a “hateful” and deplorable word was shouted out during a performance by a Needham High School Quartet. Upon listening to an audio recording of the incident, we immediately reached out and apologized to all parties involved, and launched an investigation into the identity of the person who used the hateful term.

While we do not know who this hateful remark was directed toward, it does not matter because such language is universally unacceptable. Let it be known that the YMCA of Greater Boston has a zero-tolerance policy for the use of “hate” speech. We demand that the person responsible come forward, identify himself, and apologize to the band members and our Gala attendees. We also request that anyone who may have heard the homophobic slur to come forward.

The YMCA of Greater Boston is an anti-racist organization committed to equality and equity for all. We offer programs and services that build bridges between diverse groups of people, ideas, and actions to foster a community free of racism, homophobia, transphobia and inequity. We do not tolerate the use of “hate” speech or any behavior that is counter-intuitive to our mission. 

We stand with the Needham community and stand up against hate. We proudly welcome, love and serve all.  

James O’S. Morton, Esq.
YMCA of Greater Boston