Statement from our Executive Director
Dear United Way Partners, Supporters and Friends,
Over the past several months, we have experienced an onslaught of circumstances that have tried and tested every ounce of our human fabric on a local, national and global scale. A virus, that once seemed distant and far removed, has completely changed our daily lives and forced us into home isolation and “new norms.” Our communities are dealing with economic fallout of COVID-19 mitigation efforts & trying to reopen while maintaining the health and safety of others. We ran for Ahmad, followed shortly with the horrifying death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. This most recent incident of racial injustice weighs heavily on all of us as we reflect on his life & the lives that were tragically lost before his.
At the United Way of West Ellis County (UWWEC), we stand with our Black community, our hearts aching for our friends and neighbors. The pain, sadness, and anger we are seeing displayed throughout our community & the country are reminders of the role we all have to play in overcoming injustice and building a more just and equitable future. We all have a responsibility to actively participate in our democracy as informed citizens, to collectively seek justice for all people. Educating ourselves further about the legacy of racial injustice in this country is a key piece of this. But learning and listening is not enough. We must also turn that information into action – to stand up for those who have been ignored and dismissed for much too long.
There is something here for our organization, and our community as a whole, to consider. This “call to action,” beyond our usual work, to seek out the welfare and well-being of our neighbors. I believe many of us, as leaders of our community, are uniquely positioned to use our influence and connections in ways that not only bring about the most good, but also stir the hearts and minds of all individuals to think beyond today, and truly consider what we want for our tomorrow.
Going forward, how do we stop simply responding to tragedies like George Floyd and instead actively seek out practices that cultivate equity, justice and inclusivity for our community year-round? My request of our organization and of all those in positions of influence or leadership throughout Ellis County, is that we take this moment in our country’s history and not simply react, but respond. Let's make this a pivotal moment that requires us to put some stakes in the ground around equity and racial injustice.
At the UWWEC, we are committed to bringing diverse people together through our Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers to more effectively address the toughest issues that face our communities. We stand in solidarity with community members and other organizations calling for systemic change and reform to address racial disparities across our nation. We remain committed to building an inclusive and equitable region where people from all races, cultures and communities have the resources and opportunities to thrive.
There is much we still have to learn and much more work to do as an organization. We know that words are not enough. It’s what we do that matters. Now, and always, we must live our mission and stand together. We must all do more, and do better, to make sure we truly Live United.
United Way of West Ellis County