“There will never be equity without equal access to justice.”
United Way of North Central Florida believes that every person is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect – this includes equal treatment and access to justice. Although recent events have brought this current crisis to light, incidents involving violence and threats against people of color have been a part of American history and are a result of our society’s underlying racism, prejudice and privilege that prevent too many people from being treated with the humanity and respect they deserve. We must acknowledge these experiences for what they are and, quite simply, apologize for not doing enough. The treatment of Black community members is sickeningly abhorrent and runs counter to everything that United Way of North Central Florida, its volunteers and supporters value, live, and fight for every day.
We must continue to support ALL residents in our local community. All people of all backgrounds must call out discrimination and demand its removal from our society. Otherwise, we are endorsing the status quo and are complicit in the abuses that follow.
We must all do our part, working with organizations and people promoting racial equity to make our community the place that we need it to be; respectful, opportunity-filled, and with justice for all. We can no longer afford to shy away from difficult conversations or situations. We must be leaders in creating the change we need to see. United Way of North Central Florida is working with leaders in the Gainesville Empowerment Zone, Greater Duval and Porters communities, as well as others through our place-based initiatives to continue this fight locally. As a society, we can and have to do better to guarantee that the basic human rights and freedoms of every person in every community are protected.
We are mourning and angry for all the precious lives that have been lost and all the fear, pain, and suffering so many people of color experience daily. We will continue working with the residents in our community to speak out on these injustices with them and use our resources to help create lasting positive change in our community. Black lives matter every day and always.
Mona Gil de Gibaja
Scott Thomas, Board of Directors Chair