Across the country, millions of people are protesting in the streets and speaking out online to demand justice for Black lives. This protest movement is setting the agenda for vital systemic changes, but to achieve those changes requires building political will to demand our elected leaders make them a priority and hold them accountable. Voting may seem dull compared to the passion involved in a protest march, but it’s essential to turning demands into action.
Our vision at United Way is that all people have an equal opportunity to succeed. We believe that a community, or an economy, cannot be truly successful unless everyone in that community succeeds, most especially those with the least. We recognize structural racism and other forms of oppression have contributed to persistent disparities that United Way seeks to dismantle.
A month after the murder of George Floyd, the movement to end police brutality and stand in solidarity with Black lives continues to grow. Here at Valley of the Sun United Way, we are committed to doing our part to build political power in our communities and ensure our elected officials are prioritizing policies to end racial injustice and inequality.
Elections have a huge impact on police reform policies, including police officer training, use of force policies, police accountability and oversight measures, funding for community services and criminal justice issues. Voting is essential to turn demands into action.
Our United Way network strives to engage community members, especially those whose voices have traditionally been marginalized. We work with residents, and public and private partners to co-create solutions that ensure everyone has the resources, support, opportunities, and networks they need to thrive. We commit to leveraging all of our assets (convening, strategic investments, awareness building, advocacy) to create more equitable communities.
We actualize our vision by trying to ensure that all people have access to education, an opportunity to provide a livelihood for themselves and their families, and access to affordable quality health care. We also have made a real and deep commitment to the work of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. The killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville are just the latest examples of excessive and deadly force used against Black people by police in the U.S., and the inadequate response of the justice system to the racist killings of Ahmaud Arbery and others—the list goes on and on—makes it clear that we have to act.
Our society will make the most progress when every one of us can contribute and share ideas, and have their basic rights and dignity respected. Now, more than ever, we must embrace ideas that unify us and make us stronger. To live better, we must Live United.
Help us build a healthier, more equitable democracy and fight for system level change Arizona!