Every day, people throughout our region and across our country are confronted with systemic barriers based on race, gender, social class, ability, citizenship, and other identities. The history of discrimination and oppression in the United States has fostered deeply ingrained institutional bias resulting in gross racial and ethnic disparities in education, income, housing, incarceration, health, business ownership, homeownership, and countless other key aspects of a free and prosperous life. These disparities are a key focus of the ALICE report, produced by the Michigan Association of United Ways, which shows people of color, and African Americans in particular, are dramatically overrepresented among those households living below the basic survival income threshold.
We recognize that these disparities are not attributable to individual work ethic or personal ability, but are the result of a massive systemic failure whereby our education, economic, and criminal justice systems are not setting people up to succeed, and in many cases, have been deliberately constructed to oppress specific communities. To truly create opportunity for everyone and advance the mission of United Way, we must come together to recognize these issues and work to address them.
United Way for Southeastern Michigan is committed to deconstructing systemic racism and institutional bias while promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion as a core value in every aspect of our work.
Now is the time to act, and United Way is prepared to do its part in combatting discrimination against people of all ages, races, ethnicities, and creeds. We will strive to fulfill our mission to mobilize the caring power of Detroit and Southeastern Michigan to improve communities and individual lives by celebrating one another’s differences and making direct efforts to create a more equitable and inclusive society.
United Way plans to accomplish this mission by collaborating with community stakeholders, prioritizing both large and small matters of injustice, and keeping equity and inclusion at the center of our work while fighting for change. It is our hope that by remaining focused and united, we will create a better future for coming generations.