Dear United Way supporters, friends, partners, and colleagues,
The tragic deaths of Black Americans George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and too many others have shocked and outraged people around Vermont, around the country, and around the world. Their deaths have been a representation of the insurmountable loss created through the undeniable systematic racism within our nation. As an agency whose mission is to fight for the well-being of all people, we have a responsibility to stand up and speak, because silence is not an option in the face of this tragedy. With that understanding, we want to be explicit in saying we honor and value the voices and experiences of those in our community who are Black, Indigenous, and persons of color. We stand with you and your fight for equality in our communities, our state, and our country. This tragedy has opened a space for conversations about inclusivity and opportunities for accountability. We heard the call when Governor Phil Scott, in creating Vermont’s Racial & Equity Task Force, said that each of us must take action to make change.
We also consider this a call to hold ourselves accountable, not just in words, but in action in order to create pathways to ensure that opportunity is accessible to all Vermonters. We understand that this work will require courage, discomfort, and an honest look at the ways we as a community are perpetuating or benefitting from these systems and the power we have to change them.
We pledge to do better. We urge you to join us. Together with our volunteers, our partner nonprofit agencies, all members of our communities, we are dedicated to making our Vermont UNITED. We invite you to join us in this work to create the equitable and inclusive communities that we have been called to create. The power one person holds is strong, the unified power of a diverse and responsive community is invincible.
The team at Green Mountain United Way