United Way is dedicated to empowering individuals to reach their full potential and lead thriving lives. In this unique and uncertain time, United Way remains committed to building inclusive communities where donors, stakeholders, advocates, volunteers and partners come together to make real progress in addressing inequities in education, income and health.
Equity, removing barriers and increasing opportunities for everyone is our focus, a priority that must always and persistently be pursued in the present. Uncertainty, rapid change and disruption has shaken us out of our comfort zone and caused pervasive anxiety. So much so that our natural inclination is to retreat into comfort, into the not so distant past and into the way of being that many affectionately refer to as “normal.” What is becoming clearer every day is that despite our best efforts to revert to how things were before the COVID-19 pandemic, we will never truly get there.
The uncomfortable truth is “normal” under the circumstances that existed prior to COVID-19 sweeping across the globe was woefully untenable, to begin with. Virtually every indicator for health, education and financial well-being presented glaring racial gaps. As communities of color brace for the brunt of this on-going medical and financial crisis these preexisting inequities stand to be further exacerbated. Early evidence of this is already emerging. Now is the time for us to stand resolute in our cause.
The reality is many of our communities were in crisis long before the pandemic. Sadly, we are already seeing evidence these same communities are most impacted by this ongoing crisis. Our commitment as a United Way network is to remain steadfast in our push for equity in the present. Our call to action for you all is to do the same. It is as vital as ever that internal change in operations and policy that creates equitable workplaces continue. It will take us understanding and addressing the factors that impede progress based on identity to create more inclusive organizations, companies, communities and nation. We must vigorously pursue equity in the present so we can create a future that works for all of us.