THERE WILL NEVER BE EQUITY WITHOUT EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE
We LIVE UNITED for ALL people!
Juneteenth, also known as Juneteenth Independence Day or Freedom Day, is a holiday that commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States. It was on June 19th 1865 - two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation - that Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas and brought with them news that the war was over and that slavery was ended throughout the Confederate South.
Olmsted County is the vibrant and hard-working place that we call home. But it’s not without its problems and we know we have a lot of work to do. The good news is that we’re Living United and we’re not leaving anyone behind.
United we’re fighting to ensure every voice is heard and systems are changing for the better. Because we believe in the potential of every person - and when we Live United there’s no limit to what’s possible!
United Way of Olmsted County, alongside numerous other community partners, has signed on to the Rochester Nonprofit Consortium Commitment to Action towards Racial Justice. In the weeks since George Floyd was murdered, organizations around the country have released statements affirming their belief in the values of racial equity and inclusion. Such statements play a role in advancing our national conversation about anti-Black racism and intersecting forms of oppression.
Yet we know that words without actions can do more harm than good. United Way of Olmsted County’s core values are integrity, equity, excellence, accountability, and leadership. Signing our name to a statement of support without also making specific commitments to action would be a violation of those values. It’s not enough to talk about racial justice. We have to be about it.
That’s why we’re committing to the following concrete actions to do our part to make Olmsted County a more just and equitable place for our Black, Brown, and Indigenous neighbors, as well as all people facing oppression. Over the next year we will:
- Increase our investments in nonprofit agencies serving and led by people of color
- Begin compensating community members for their time when we ask to learn from their lived experience and expertise
- Provide additional intercultural competence training for staff and board
- Develop a process for tracking purchasing from businesses owned by people of color and set goals for increasing our purchasing from businesses owned by people of color
- Increase the diversity of vendors represented in our Caring Club Card program
- Consistently implement best practices for equitable recruitment and hiring
- Identify key performance measures to evaluate our progress in advancing equity in our organization and our community, begin collecting relevant data, hold ourselves accountable to those measures, and report publicly on our progress
- Continue listening to and learning from our neighbors who experience systemic inequities and act on what we hear and learn.
We will share more details about these commitments as we further develop our plans. This isn’t the start of United Way's race equity journey, and our work won’t be done when we’ve met these commitments. We know we’ll make mistakes along the way, but we’ll keep showing up, learning, and doing the work. We invite you to join us.
Every person in every community must do their part to make our communities the places that we need them to be – equitable, respectful and providing opportunity for all. As a society, we can and must do better to guarantee that the basic human rights and freedoms of every person in every community are protected and ensured.
This is our home. And TOGETHER we’re working to ensure it’s a place where ALL people can thrive!