Mayor Turner announced selection during April 29 press conference about the City of Houston’s policing reform investments and organizational improvements
HOUSTON (April 29, 2021) – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced today during a press conference the appointment of YMCA of Greater Houston President and CEO, Stephen Ives, as Chair of the newly-reformed Independent Police Oversight Board (IPOB). The designation was amongst several recommendations from the Mayor’s “Task Force on Policing Reform” report, published September 2020.
“I am honored to lead such an essential endeavor – not only for our city, but for our nation. This appointment mirrors the YMCA’s proud commitment to advancing equity as well as our historical practice of engaging with efforts that strengthen the foundations of community,” said Stephen Ives, President and CEO, YMCA of Greater Houston. “I made the decision many years ago to dedicate my career and personal life to serving communities, and I look forward to continuing to bring people together to hold brave conversations and will work to foster the creation of a safer, transparent and more just society in which citizens can live and thrive.”
The IPOB will feature a diverse group of civilian leaders who will actively engage in police accountability and hold all to a higher standard. Stephen Ives will oversee and lead the board who will work with paid, full-time professionals to review existing and proposed Houston Police Department (HPD) policies, investigate misconduct, and recommend reforms across the agency. Due to urgency of these critical issues, Ives will spend the next 30-days conducting a comprehensive listening tour to gain insight and perspective of the community that will help inform next steps.
“As Stephen Ives mentioned in our discussions, ‘This is a defining moment for our city, and I am ready to serve,’” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “I am confident that Stephen can lead this board and tackle the systemic issues we see in so many police departments around the country.”
Since the 1970’s, the YMCA of Greater Houston has assisted with refugee resettlement in the United States by helping newcomers restore hope, build stability, create opportunity and change futures. During the pandemic, YMCA staff and volunteers stepped in and distributed food to families and seniors who did not have access to food. The YMCA also launched the city’s first YMCA Equity Innovation Center advancing equity and working toward undoing institutional racism. The Center has hosted virtual experiences and engagement opportunities available to the community. These community-centric efforts generated acknowledgment from MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist and author, who donated $18 million for its efforts.
The YMCA of Greater Houston is not a place, it is a purpose; and will continue to work with partners to advance equity and own our social responsibility in doing better, together. Over the last 135 years, The YMCA of Greater Houston continuously evolves in efforts to purposefully transform for Houstonians by becoming a more inclusive, purpose-driven entity built to ensure everyone in every community has equal opportunity. Now, the Y has an expanded opportunity to lead these initiatives for the nation.
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About YMCA of Greater Houston
Founded in 1886, today the Y remains committed to the health of more than half a million people in Greater Houston who learn, grow and thrive through programs and services at centers across the Houston area. Strengthening community is our cause. Together, we connect active, engaged Greater Houston Area residents to build a better us.