YMCA removes CPI Security CEO’s name from new Steele Creek location

Panthers, Hornets cut ties with CPI Security after CEOs protest remark

CHARLOTTE — The YMCA of Greater Charlotte has announced it will no longer name one of its new locations after the CPI Security CEO after the he told an activist, who leads Queen City Unity and called for a boycott of CPI, he should focus on black-on-black crime rather than the George Floyd protests.

The YMCA had previously agreed to name the new Steele Creek facility for CPI CEO Ken Gill and his family.

After recent comments, however, officials said the YMCA of Greater Charlotte board voted Monday to remove the Gill name from the facility and return any capital funds from the Gill Family.

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“The Y is committed to equity, inclusion and opportunity for all and we are especially focus on racial inequity experienced by African Americans in our community,” YMCA officials said.

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YMCA STATEMENT

"The Y is committed to equity, inclusion and opportunity for all and we are especially focused on racial inequity experienced by African Americans in our community. We are aware of CPI CEO Ken Gill’s recent email comments. We denounce these comments that were hurtful and are at odds with our intent to be a unifying force, a community convener and a place free of racism.

The YMCA previously agreed to name a new, much-needed YMCA in the highly diverse Steele Creek area for Ken Gill and his family as lead contributors. The YMCA of Greater Charlotte board voted yesterday that this Y will not be named Gill Family YMCA. As well, we have offered to return to the Gill family capital funds received to date."

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Charlotte’s two professional sports franchises, as well as two universities, also canceled partnerships with the North Carolina home security company.

Gill apologized for his comments Saturday on Twitter. Still, the NFL’s Carolina Panthers said they were ending their relationship with CPI.

The athletics programs at North Carolina State and the University of South Carolina followed suit Sunday, as did the NBA's Charlotte Hornets and the Charlotte Knights minor-league baseball club.

Hornets Head Coach James Borrego said he’s thankful to work for an organization and a league that is taking a stand.

“I stand there with them as we fight racism,” Borrego said.

As part of their statement, the Hornets said they are fully committed to improve racial equality, social justice, diversity and access to education throughout our community.

Borrego said that starts with conversation.

“We’ve had a number of these conversations as a team and we support them fully. Not only do we want this to be now, we want this to be sustained. And we want to keep this moving forward,” he said.

The controversy began when Gill responded to an email from a Charlotte activist, telling him to “spend your time in a more productive way."

The decisions come after the nonprofit Queen City Unity called for a boycott of CPI.

Queen City Unity's executive director said he sent a letter to city leaders calling for change when it comes to police brutality and community safety.

In response, he said he received an email from CPI CEO Ken Gill saying in part, “A better use of time would be to focus on the black-on-black crime and senseless killing of our young men by other young men.”

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