Hi! Long time, no blog. Not for good reasons other than I haven’t figured out how to load on our website. Now I know Troy knows how so they’ll be back far more regularly.
I’m so excited to share in this first blog in forever that the United Way Board of Directors approved at their meeting last month, our Land and Peoples Acknowledgment. And they did it thanks to the amazing work of our DEI Council. The members of that council are DL Richardson, Southern Oregon Educational Service District and Council Chair; Apaau Fuataga, Samoa Pacific Development Corp.; Brooke Kirkland, Community Volunteer Network; Cathy Noah, Asante Health System; Christina Kukuk, Jackson County Community Long Term Recovery Group; Jessica Murrey, Wicked Saints; Johnny Vaigafa, Samoa Pacific Development Corp.; Megan Flowers, Sanctuary One; Nancy McKinnis, Jackson Care Connect; and, Richard Allen, 1800Flowers. What an incredible group of people! They have worked on this statement for many months and checked in with community partners. Here is our Land and Peoples Acknowledgement:
We are here because this land was occupied, and its traditional people were displaced by colonists and settlers. As settlers and/or guests, we recognize the strong and diverse Native communities in our region today, from Tribes both local and distant, and offer respect and gratitude for their stewardship of these lands throughout the generations. We encourage you to learn about the land you reside on, and to join us in advocating for the inherent sovereignty of Indigenous people. We stand on the grounds of the Shasta, Takelma and Latgawa Peoples. (Adopted 5/31/23)
We will read our statement at the beginning of the year in all our meetings. It is on our website. And the statement will hang in our conference rooms and our front office. We proudly share our acknowledgment.
Also, this past month, our Board adopted our Statement on Race. This is profoundly exciting to me. It also has been worked on in partnership for more than a year and a half and we have arrived at a beautiful place of sharing this statement, knowing we did our best, knowing we will make changes as we go and with the pride of more than 200 young people who attended the Black Youth Leadership Summit who provided the final edits. Here is our Statement on Race:
United Way of Jackson County works for the education, income, health, housing, and transportation of every person in our community.
We Acknowledge the pain and wrongdoing that racism and ethnic discrimination have inflicted on Black, Indigenous, and people of color. We understand this acknowledgement is a necessary first step to healing and reconciliation that will lay the groundwork for a growing, collaborative, and thriving community.
We recognize structural racism in the workplace, schools, and community ethnic discrimination and other forms of oppression have contributed to disparities which United Way seeks to dismantle. We know this is challenging and can be uncomfortable to talk about. We acknowledge discomfort is normal and invite community members to engage to bring about true change.
We understand that these disparities have existed in the past and persist in the present. We are committed to learning about and understanding our biases and seek to understand ways we can do better every day and invite the community to help and inform us when/if we fall short.
We acknowledge that these inequities are the result of policies and practices that work to marginalize entire populations of people. We are committed to changing racist, systematic policies and practices.
We denounce and stand against racism and ethnic discrimination because it undermines the well-being and vitality of our communities, so we pledge to stand up and support all affected by racism. We are laying ground to heal and grow together through understanding and reconciliation.
We strive to engage community members, especially those whose voices have traditionally been marginalized. We work with residents, businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and faith communities to co-create solutions that ensure everyone has the resources, supports, opportunities, and networks they need to thrive.
We commit to leveraging all our assets (convening, strategic investments, awareness building, advocacy) to create more equitable communities.
We do this together because disparities are real. We vow to help educate the community on the dangers of racism and help teach how to avoid racial aggressions, racial stereotypes, as well as raise awareness of the issues and concerns associated with this problem within our community. (Adopted 5/31/23)
We will read our statement at the beginning of the year in all our meetings. It is on our website. And the statement will hang in our conference rooms and our front office. We proudly share our acknowledgment. And we invite feedback as always.
Dee Anne Everson, CEO/Executive Director