A Letter from our CEO

Our community is suffering. We see you. We hurt with you and we are here for you. The past week of death and racist violence has been disheartening, disturbing and incomprehensible. The brutality of George Floyd’s death, along with so many other Black lives, requires us to raise our voices, to fight against racism, to end repressive use of force by police, to demand change and advocate for dismantling systemic and institutional racist structures.  
We need you. We believe united action is powerful and it benefits us all to have greater collective capacity and courage to identify and address the different ways that bias, prejudice, privilege, and oppression show up in our work and lives. We look to you, our community, to continue to direct the solutions and be part of the ongoing conversation to confront and end systemic racism, with leadership and space held for people and neighborhoods most affected by racial injustice. United Way’s Board of Directors made a commitment earlier this year to launch a Racial Justice Fund with the intent on fueling Washtenaw County-grown solutions to racial inequity in its many forms.  
We are united for equity.  We acknowledge that there is more work to be done. We understand this work is a marathon, not a sprint. We committed to investing in long-term solutions to uproot structural racism and build a more equitable community in Washtenaw County. We know this begins within our walls, and have been transforming how we advance our mission so that you, our community, sees us as a both an anti-racist and anti-poverty agency. Your United Way has brought two racial equity challenges and an equity summit to this community in the last six months, putting racism at the center of the conversation for more than 6,400 people. It is our belief that the people, the conversations and the commitment make the difference.
This is a time for united action. This is a time for Living United. We must act now to realize a time when a zip code no longer predicts opportunity in our Community.
Thank you for Living United.
Pam Smith