For 150 years, the YMCA has been a pioneering force in the United States, and has become such a part of our history that it has become a part of our national culture. As we begin the 21st century, the YMCA is arguably the most successful social institution this country has ever known, both nationally and locally in Kalamazoo County.
The YWCA is the oldest, autonomous women's membership organization in the world. As such, it has a strong and respectable tradition of social change, community service and advocacy. Throughout our history the YWCA has been in the forefront of most major movements in the United States as a pioneer in race relations, labor union representation, and the empowerment of women. The YWCA has actively worked to eliminate racism and empower women since 1858. We were there through the women's suffrage movement. We held the first interracial conference in the South in 1915 and fought for civil rights and affirmative action.
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