A message from our Board Chair and CEO
Granite United Way’s Board Chair and CEO statement on equity and access to justice
Granite United Way believes all individuals are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect – this includes equal treatment and access to justice. We recognize lack of opportunities and structural racism negatively impacts mental, social, economic, and educational success, not just for the individual but also for families, neighborhoods, and communities. Prejudice and racism hurt all Americans.
Granite United Way has promoted and increased opportunities to learn, earn and be healthy for many years. While we have never been more attentive to the importance of these social determinants of health, we know we must do better and address the root causes of inequity. It is socially and morally wrong that prejudice(s) based on race, gender, gender identity, social class, sexual orientation, religion, or age limits one’s opportunities while at the same time increasing their chances of experiencing poverty, health issues, and violence. The current crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has devastatingly shown the differences between those with opportunities, versus those born with fewer or no educational, health, and financial assets.
It is time to reexamine and reimagine how we invest in our communities with the goal(s) that all have access to opportunities that lead to a safer and healthier life, family, neighborhood, and community. We recognize that we approach this from a privileged position, and we need to engage and listen to those whose voices have not been heard. We are humbled watching peaceful protests where citizens of every race, gender, age, and social class are marching united demanding change.
To change, we need first to recognize and understand that the outrage caused by the senseless killing of George Floyd is deeply rooted in structural discrimination that promotes fear and violence, especially towards Black and Brown communities.
We know that to address these root causes of injustice, racism, and violence we must increase our funding and advocacy for programs that:
• Increase educational opportunities in the neighborhoods and communities that
need it the most
• Increase access to affordable behavioral, substance misuse, and healthcare
• Increase economic opportunities including jobs that pay a living wage, access to
capital, and financial stability training/education
We, as a society, can and must do better. We cannot measure the return of our collective investments until we create an effective network of programs that offer all citizens the same opportunities to learn, earn, and be healthy.
Heather Staples Lavoie Patrick M. Tufts
Board Chair President & CEO