Live United is not just a slogan for us, but a way of life. Events this past week have shown in a tragic way how devastating it is when we are not united together.
We know that people in our community are hurting. They may encounter racism and discrimination in subtle or obvious ways every day. What we are doing is listening to their fear and anger, hearing the pain of old and new wounds and facing the fact that together we have to consciously change the conditions that are hurting our Black- and Brown-selves -- our coworkers, friends, family members, neighbors.
Now, the pandemic has added the stress of the loss of work or the fear of losing employment as businesses struggle to survive, and indeed the fear of falling ill or dying of this virus, to those already feeling the debilitating effects of racism and discrimination.
Before COVID-19, United Way of NYS's ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Report showed that more than half of New York State's African American households (61%) fell below the Basic ALICE Threshold. Every day each family has to make life changing, heart-breaking decisions as they cannot afford the basics of life. It might be a choice between buying food for their family or asthma medicine for their daughter. Or between paying a utility bill or the rent. Now these choices are even more difficult with COVID-19. However these choices seem insignificant when our friends also fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones because of the color of their skin.
This. Is. Not. Fair.
At United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region we stand together with you - UNITED - to create change for the health, education, financial stability and equal access to opportunity for all.
Let us all be able to say - as so many in our community are doing today - that we LIVE UNITED and stand for one another every day.