Believing Black Lives Matter is just the beginning.
We each have our unique part to play to move from conversation to action. To succeed in our mission, we must call out the historical injustices of our society. United Way makes space for conversations towards achieving greater parity in our society. Those conversations must align with contemporary understandings of equity because for too long in our society, "all" hasn't included everyone.
United Way of Lancaster County is making a commitment to building a more inclusive and diverse organization. We have made progress in building diversity on our board and our leadership team, but realize we have more we need to do. As a community leader, we must live out our values authentically.
The killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor can make it difficult to see societal progress. Especially knowing they join a long list of names. Eradicating the sins of 400 years of slavery, segregation, evil policies, and immoral practices designed to suppress black, brown, and indigenous people in this country will take time and steadfastness.
United Way's work is the active work against injustice. Our mission, "to mobilize the caring power of our community to achieve impactful systemic social change within our community" invites everyone to the table to seek solutions so that the problems of today's parents will note be the barriers for their children. That's worth doing the hard work.
We know the work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is unique to every United Way community around the world. We are committed to:
- Exploring our own institutional cultural competency and adapting our policies to respect diversity, equity, and inclusion;
- Providing space and processes to facilitate deep and honest learning ensuring our work and the work of our partners overcome the historical vestiges of racism and white supremacy;
- Ensuring our actions support equitable, not just equal, access to community resources;
- Remaining at the forefront of social change and continuously monitoring that our work is creating systemic change;
- Using our voice to boldly speak out publicly to support the range of diversity, equity, and inclusion concerns in our community;
We believe to have a United Way is through the vulnerable, transformative process of change. At times, this change may cause us to lose the comfort we have with our present way of life. This United Way of Lancaster County will continue to boldly move forward because everyone has a right to health, education, and financial access. It starts with us.
Kevin M. Ressler, President & CEO, United Way of Lancaster County, on behalf of the staff of United Way
Steve Nieli, Board Chair, United Way of Lancaster County, on behalf of the United Way Board of Directors