A Critical Moment in Time

Word Inequality cut with scissors to two parts In and Equality, gray background, top view

By: Lt Col Jamie Cox
United Way of Northern New York stands against the systematic racism and the implicit biases that have been the root cause of inequity and injustice throughout our nation’s history. Our society – and Northern New York – is at a point where we must openly and honestly address these issues.

    United Way Worldwide’s mission is to “improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good.” Through this lens, we believe every one of us at United Way plays a pivotal role in ensuring all residents of Northern New York are treated with dignity and respect. We believe this requires all of us to stand up against injustice to ensure that every member of our community feels the spirit of welcome that Northern New York is widely known for. 

    United Way of Northern New York acknowledges that our society is imperfect and has denied equality to many different people. Women fought for suffrage for nearly 100 years. Black Americans accomplished the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Yet discrimination still occurs daily based on skin color, country of birth, sexual orientation, financial status, age, gender and beliefs. When are we going to adhere to the notion that everyone is created equal and treat them with respect? 

    During this time when the national conversation is rich with dialogue about how to combat discrimination and racism at the local level, there has been a lack of discourse in our communities. We owe it to ourselves and our neighbors to engage in the difficult conversations to advance this work. The United Way of Northern New York commits to lead and foster dialogue through many initiatives, including:  

  1. The North Country Center of Nonprofit Excellence will host multiple forums to discuss racism, biases, and diversity, with the goal of achieving a community educated on creating equal access for every resident to nutritious food, a strong education, quality physical and mental healthcare, justice and the opportunity to succeed. 
  2. We are going to commit resources to endeavor to create a higher quality of life for each resident, with a focus on lifting the vulnerable and disenfranchised of our region by supporting programs and services that provide equal access. 
  3. We are going to set the example through our words and actions – fighting for the voiceless; demanding justice where justice is due; and tirelessly advocating for each person to have the opportunity to thrive. 

    We believe that Black lives matter. We strive for a more inclusive world where the inherent worth of all members is valued and celebrated. We cannot achieve this vision without addressing the underlying causes of racism, privilege and inequality. Each one of us own a part of the solution. 

    We hope that you will join us in this important work, because we know that the only way we can do this is to do it together. To succeed, we must Live United. 

The United Way Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement of Principle:  

We value the visible and invisible qualities that make you who you are.  

We welcome that every person brings a unique perspective and experience to advance our mission and progress our fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in every community.  

We believe that each United Way community member, donor, volunteer, advocate, and the employee must have equal access to solving community problems.  

We strive to include diversity, equity, and inclusion practices at the center of our daily work.  

We commit to using these practices for our business and our communities.