A Letter to Our Neighbors

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June 4, 2020

This is a painful time in our country and in our community. As United Way staff, we have spent the last week in conversation with one another, sharing the impact of what has been happening, sharing our emotions and questions, and contemplating our collective role going forward. Just as COVID-19 has further exposed the disparities in our health and economic systems, the killing of George Floyd (the latest in a long history of injustices) has laid bare the deep, structural racism that pervades every aspect of our society. All of us who work at United Way of Greater New Haven share the anger, frustration, and loss that so many are feeling.

This is an unprecedented moment and it is challenging to see a clear path forward. As United Way staff, our work allows us to see the hopes and dreams of our neighbors every day. We also understand how a system that negates the worth and humanity of our Black and Brown neighbors limits their ability to thrive. Our region can never truly reach its full potential unless every person has an opportunity to succeed. Because of this, we are looking inward and we all, collectively and individually, are challenging ourselves around how we can be better advocates for racial and social justice in our work. We believe that Black lives matter, that our system is oppressive and must change, and that silence is not an option.

As your neighbors, we are here to listen and learn. We are here to uplift and support. We are committed to taking every opportunity to speak out against racism, address systemic challenges directly, increase representation across our work and ultimately create a future that values Black and Brown voices and dismantles centuries of injustice and oppression to pave the way for change.

Collectively, we stand with our Black and Brown neighbors and will not waver in our resolve to center anti-racist work and anti-racist voices in our fight to provide a better future for all of Greater New Haven. We see and value each and every one of our neighbors in this journey and are humbled to dedicate ourselves to making Greater New Haven a more equitable, just, and inclusive community.

In partnership,

Signatures from UWGNW


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