West Tuscaloosa deserves a NEW Benjamin Barnes YMCA, equal funding, & board advocates.

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69 years ago, the construction of the Benjamin Barnes Branch of the YMCA began on 18th Street in West Tuscaloosa. The branch was named after Tuscaloosa educator, Benjamin H. Barnes, son of Jeremiah Barnes.

Barnes was educated under Booker T. Washington at Tuskegee Institute. According to his biography, Barnes heard Washington thunder from the Tuskegee Institute platform the doctrine of service.
“Go back to your homes, put a hinge on the gate, a latch on the door. Don’t stand around and whine. Get into the church, in the school, into the shop and help. Own your own homes and become a tax-paying, respectable citizen.”

The YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) Mission is to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. Vision: We build strong kids, strong families, strong communities.

The Benjamin Barnes YMCA has been working to rebuild for years, but has not received the backing they need to make this happen. They have been without hot water for YEARS, without air conditioning for WEEKS, have windows missing, a leaking roof, outdated equipment, +.

Children are currently attending Summer Camp during the COVID-19 Pandemic in this facility without air or hot water to ensure proper hand washing. It sounds like the perfect breeding ground for the virus.

The roughly 60-year-old downtown YMCA branch was bigger AND had better amenities than the current Barnes Branch. They had a pool and housed members swimming, playing basketball, doing aerobics, learning karate and lifting weights.

When they had issues with their air conditioning and noted that repairs were needed, a brand new YMCA was built blocks away to replace the old building. They now have a brand new state of the art facility, hot water, new equipment, and NO kids attending Summer Camp there at this time. Meanwhile, the Barnes Branch is begging for basics and the community is having to pitch in to protect our children from the heat related illnesses that they are exposed to in a scorching, Alabama facility that's meant to keep them safe. "build healthy spirit, mind, and body" ... HOW?

Tuscaloosa, this is shameful! This is separate and UNEQUAL. This goes against everything that we know Benjamin H. Barnes and the founders of the YMCA believed in & it goes against everything that we know to be right & fair. Something must be done about this now!

● What's needed?

- Your signature on this petition
- A brand new facility to be built on the campus of Stillman College
- A brand new board that will advocate for our children because ... ALL LIVES MATTER, right?

● Contact the YMCA Board Members regarding the disparities bewteen the two YMCA locations and the on-going overlooked safety issues, demand air conditioning & hot water immediately, voice our desires for a NEW FACILITY at STILLMAN COLLEGE posthaste.

● Who should you contact?

Board of Directors:
Al Cabiness
David Raines
Dennis Steverson
John England
Scott McClanahan
David Fitz
Andrew Jackson
Everette Nix
James Brazil
Tanika Rice
Robert Archibald
Gaston Large
P J Talley
Roland Lewis

#BuildANewBarnesYMCA
#BuildAtStillman