We must act
Albemarle Area United Way has long believed that Live United means fighting for the hopes, dreams, and rights of all people. But for too long, inequity, violence, and racism have been allowed to go unchecked violating the lives of people of color. This grief is on full display across our nation and here, in our community.
We know from the data that COVID-19 has hit our communities of color harder than others. While this pandemic has shone a spotlight on inequity, these inequities are not new–they’ve always existed. Health disparities in communities of color are symptoms of the social and economic realities born of historical and systematic racism, as these communities have not been cared for, protected, or invested in the same way as others.
Many of us have been sad, mad, tired, enraged, and depressed. Our feelings are valid. At the same time, we urge you to love each other, be with those who are down, and find small ways to lift other's spirits. We all have a level of power, privilege, and light that we can wield in service to our neighbors - wherever we live.
That’s why we must act.
But how we act matters
Our work is to listen to those who have been harmed by systemic racism. Our work is to know when it is time to follow community leadership and when it is time for us to lead. And our work is to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, admit our own failings as individuals and as an organization, in order to create a new path.
This is a path we’ve already started at our United Way and it is the work that we promise to continue to do. But none of us can do this work alone.
Our collective future requires that all of us—as individuals and families, neighborhood groups and faith communities, small businesses and large companies, schools and governments—commit to fighting racism in all its forms and choose to truly LIVE UNITED.