The events involving the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have once again made us painfully aware of the divisions and inequities which undermine the well-being of our community and communities across our nation.
These deaths, combined with the COVID-19 pandemic, highlight the continued health, education and economic disparities that exist within our communities of color. Data demonstrates that Wisconsin has the dubious distinction of being the worst place for an African American person or family to live (source). This should and must be of concern to us all.
United Way Blackhawk Region’s (UWBR) mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities. As an example, UWBR is focused on learning from and advocating for those in our community who are living in poverty as defined by the Federal Poverty Level and those who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE).
We envision an inclusive community where all individuals are able to meet their basic needs and have equal opportunity for stability in their health, education, and financial stability. Current events clearly demonstrate that physical and emotional safety, as well as the recognition of the need for healing from recent and historic traumas, is essential for us to achieve this vision.
As we look to the immediate future and beyond, UWBR will continue to engage in the necessary systemic advocacy work that will bring about lasting change both within our organization and throughout our community. Our history of collaboration with diverse stakeholders must continue so that multiple perspectives are represented, respected and engaged as we forge the path forward.
Now more than ever, we need to LIVE UNITED. Silence is not an option. The UWBR Board of Directors and staff will do our part to show up, listen, share our voices in ongoing community conversations and be part of the solutions.
A message to our Funded Partners
The past few weeks have been incredibly challenging. A blinding spotlight is being shone on the tremendously difficult issues of race and equity across our country. Recent events involving violence and threats to Black people expose our society’s racism and privilege.
In the midst of this we must come together to reject racism and violence, bigotry and hate. And, we must stand with partner organizations that espouse the same core beliefs, and that bring the voices and perspectives of those that are underrepresented and marginalized into this work.
Now, more than ever, we must take action on matters of race, equity, diversity, inclusion, intersectionality, etc., as they are more relevant than ever to our shared mission, and to the fundamental essence of our network.
– Mary Fanning-Penny, President & CEO United Way Blackhawk Region
– Al Hulick, Chairman, Board of Directors United Way Blackhawk Region