“You don’t change the world with ideas in your mind, but with the conviction in your heart.”—Bryan Stevenson
At United Way of Western Connecticut, we acknowledge the anger, pain and grief suffered by Black Americans as a result of the murder of George Floyd. It comes in the wake of the senseless killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless other acts of violence in the recent past – and, indeed, since the formation of our country. Let this finally be a wake-up call. We can no longer settle for words or cries of righteous indignation: it’s time for deep change.
Every person is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect – this includes equal treatment and access to justice. These incidents are abhorrent and run counter to everything that United Way, its volunteers and professionals value, live, and fight for every day.
Our United Way is focused on the 40% of our community members who struggle to pay their bills, a population we call ALICE®. We know that Black Americans disproportionately suffer the impact of low wages, and their economic vulnerability has been exacerbated by the pandemic. It is the intent that all our work on behalf of ALICE will help struggling, hardworking people to prosper. Part of that work is to acknowledge the systemic racism that has had profound economic effects on Black Americans.
We are committed to addressing community needs while dismantling and undermining inequities that hold back marginalized racial communities, not only in greater Danbury, greater New Milford and Stamford, but across our country. We can, and will, do more as community conveners to amplify the work of other organizations and voices that advocate for justice to keep our communities strong and vibrant.
In the coming weeks, months, and years, we will work with our community partners, residents, and faith leaders to incite change. We will start by listening, learning, and reflecting. And then, United, we will act to improve the lives of all people, especially victims of injustice and people of color, in our region. We will move forward, as Bryan Stevenson says, with conviction in our heart.