Jul 29, 2014

Freedom Valley Y Leaders Say Merger Opponents are Race-Baiting

An e-mail from the Freedom Valley YMCA's management criticizes a flyer sent to members yesterday.

Freedom Valley Y Leaders Say Merger Opponents are Race-Baiting

Freedom Valley YMCA members received an e-mail from the organization late Wednesday afternoon, November 14, regarding a flyer that was reportedly left at the Phoenixville YMCA's information desk listing seven reasons to vote against the merger with the Philadelphia YMCA. 

"Not one of the issues addressed in the flyer was factually accurate," the e-mail reads.

YMCA leaders have repeatedly asserted that there is a "lot of misinformation" being disseminated regarding the merger.

[Editor's note: A copy of the e-mail from the YMCA can be read in the PDF section of this article.]

The e-mail goes on, however, to sharply criticize the language in the flyer. 

The e-mail reads, "An example of the type of vitriol that is now being strewn follows – and this is a direct quote from the flyer: 

'Do you think it's possible under the proposed merger for a couple bus loads of inner-city Y members to trek out to OUR Y to enjoy the beautiful pools on a hot summer day? Or overrun our playgrounds? It will be if you allow this merger. So get in line because the crowds are coming. We have great facilities, but they will soon be at risk to over-use, crowding, damage, depreciation, and possibly vandalism.'"

The e-mail continues: "More offensive than the falsehood, however, is the not too subtle racial overtone in the message. The author suggests in the flyer that a merger with Main Line Y would be fine... but not with center city Philly."

The e-mail says that the bigotry displayed in the flyer is "anathema to everything for which the YMCA stands, and should cause any member to take umbrage that this is the type of scare tactic being adopted by some of those opposed to the merger."

"This is what happens when there are no valid arguments to support one's position," the e-mail contends. 

A vote on the merger is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday night, Nov. 15, at Chadwick's Restaurant, 2750 Egypt Road in Audubon. According to information presented at a town hall on Monday evening, Freedom Valley YMCA members who wish to vote must attend the meeting. 

Both sides, Freedom Valley and Philadelphia, have to agree on the merger for it to happen. 

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