Over the last few weeks, and years, we’ve watched over and over again, footage of people running in fear, writhing in pain, and dying at the hands of another. The locations and details change, but the agony is the same for all involved and those that love them.
We pause for lives lost when we have a point of connection; family, friends, pop culture icons, victims of natural disasters and tragic accidents. All too frequently now we pause for people-made tragedies.
We lower our flag. We hold a moment of silence. We say a prayer.
We provide commentary.
We live in an age where anyone can instantaneously publish their own views or find others to share and retweet.
There is great power in this digital land. Light can be shed on important issues and conditions that were once hidden, and people can be mobilized to join each other to take action and improve our world.
There is also danger. With a cloak of anonymity we lose our accountability. And in an effort to validate our own beliefs, we gravitate toward like-minded people and reject those that differ and, as a result, we grow further and further apart.
But truth is not an object that you can hold in your hand. Look at it from another vantage point, in the shoes of another, and it often looks very different. The same goes for relationships and community. Their true power and worth are only visible with the investment of time and care.
Regardless of the color of our skin, gender, sexual orientation or economic conditions we were born into, or the faith, politics or professions we have chosen, none of us would look into the eyes of a newborn child and hope that they witness the death of someone they love at the hands of another. None of us would want less than the best for them.
All of us who work at United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County feel grief for our country. We don’t have answers. We know we have work to do ourselves; individually and organizationally. But we look to our mission: “Unite People. Improve Lives. Strengthen Community.” and we see our way forward.
We promise to:
- Hold the lives of everyone in our community as precious, and commit to ensuring that the most vulnerable are cared for and listened to.
- Build diversity within our organization so to that the perspectives of all drive our work forward.
- Continuously question our assumptions and how we do our work and identify problems and solutions so that we are strengthening our community for the long term, not just addressing immediate needs.
- Be kind and generous in our actions and to expect the best, not the worst in each other.
- And finally, to have the courage to be vulnerable and step outside our comfort zones so that we can learn from others and be a part of the healing.
We promise to Live United. The children of our community, our world, deserve that we do nothing less.
- from the staff of United Way of Asheville and Buncombe County