Advancing Equity & Justice: LA Y Attends National Convening on Boys and Young Men of Color


An amazing convening took place last week in Washington, DC.

170 YMCA professionals gathered at the Boys and Young Men of Color (BYMOC) National Convening. We had an incredible turnout of Y professionals, that serve young people of color from across the country, engage in transformational sessions and experiences to be better allies and support our national initiative to advance equity.

Additionally, the Youth Voice Team for our Boys and Young Men of Color took place the second half of the week. The boys that came from Los Angeles were able to share their profound insights with those at the convening. The boys were supported at the convening by Nick Vairo, our Associate Executive Director of Teen Development and Jalen Lacy, Teen Director.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles had representation at the convening from Omar Torres, our Senior Director of Civic Engagement, who serves on the Y-USA National Advisory Council and supports key strategic support for the initiative. Sheldon Gibson, our Operations Executive Director of Teen Development, served on the Convening Planning Committee and was instrumental in ensuring that the content and flow of the convening was culturally relevant for our boys. Sheldon, along with our Regional Teen Director, Kevin Echavarria, focused on sharing the LA Y’s unique partnership with IBM to bring SkillsBuild, an online platform to bring skills, courses, and credentials for our 21st century workforce to our Y movement across the nation, free of cost.


One of the highlights of the trip was an impromptu visit from Vice President Kamala Harris. She shared a few inspirational comments about the importance of providing programming for local youth throughout the country.

Below, please find the 10 minute video of VP Kamala Harris' visit to the Boys and Young Men of Color National Convening!

Our clear strategy to mobilize as a system is making a difference, with a dedicated focus on our boys of color; aligning with policy reform and community initiatives, we aim to eradicate systemic barriers and foster a future where their lives are uplifted through equal access to education, career opportunities, and just socio-political representation.