Our Health & Fitness Center is open with safety precautions in place – read the latest update.
Our Administrative offices will remain closed until further notice and continue offering virtual services to participants. 

Pool update: Due to necessary repairs, the HFC pool will be closed until further notice.
We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and will provide updates when available
.

YWCA St. Paul logo

How Music Gave Me A Sense of Belonging

When I was in second grade, my mom enrolled me in piano lessons. After a couple of years, I quit the lessons, but my love of music continued. So, in fifth grade when band classes started, I joined. At age 10, I started to play the clarinet; practicing was not fun but playing music was. However, every year after 8th grade I would tell my mom that I was quitting because as diverse as my school was, my band was not. Additionally, the music that we played was mostly composed by old, white dudes. Don’t get me wrong, I love Bach’s complex chords and Mozart’s crazy arpeggios, but I could not fully feel their music in my bones.

In my senior year of high school, we played a song by Omar Thomas called Of Our New Day Begun and we played that song with intention. For the first time in band, I felt seen. Seen in the way where I did not stand-out but instead, my existence was both acknowledged and accepted. I was represented in band music!

But that sense of acknowledgment and acceptance doesn’t exist in many spaces. For example, many executive offices lack black talent, not because the talent doesn’t exist, but rather because those spaces are not accepting of them, causing them to leave. Big banks and business have come under fire in the last few years for this.

In 2008, when Barack Obama was elected president, little black boys and girls like me were able to see a world where anything was possible and where our dreams would not be limited. But as I grew up, I saw fewer people who looked like me in prominent positions. Workspaces, school spaces, elected offices, need to be more inclusive if we hope to move towards a better society.

Question:  How do you make others feel comfortable and included?

Contributor: Nayher Futsum, YWCA communications intern

Read More from YWCA St. Paul

James

Success Story: James

In 2011, after five years of retirement, James decided to rejoin the job force so he could afford increasing medical costs and take care of

Read More »
Tyisha

Success Story: Tyisha

For years Tyisha experienced domestic violence and cycled in and out of shelters. “My self-esteem was low, but I woke up one day and said: ‘I

Read More »
Jack

Success Story: Jack

After enduring a difficult recovery following hip replacement surgery, Jack decided it was time to turn things around. He joined the SilverSneakers® Fitness Program, for

Read More »
Laurel

Success Story: Laurel

“I’m here every day because every day I miss just makes it easier to skip another one,” explains Laurel—a member of YWCA St. Paul’s Health

Read More »
Scroll to Top

YWCA St. Paul uses cookies to give you the best user experience. If you continue to use our services, we will assume that you agree to the use of such cookies.