Dear Stakeholders Committed to Community,
I began writing this letter just prior to our November 3rd election day (who knows where the world will stand by the time you read it). It is amazing that so much is focused on this one day and its outcome, as though a future that embraces the human dignity of us all depends on only one moment in time.
There is truth in this concept of “one moment in time” but the contradiction – or more accurately the paradox – is this: although this moment is pivotal, it is only one moment.
Our future – the one YWCA Southeast Wisconsin and YWCAs across the nation are working to build – is not about one moment in time, but an everyday energized and visible commitment to build a more just and equitable community.
That’s a hard sell because it doesn’t grab headlines; but it is key to understanding a fundamental truth: Justice cannot be silenced.
As we enter the season of thanks, giving and reflection, we must remember that justice takes many forms – it is:
- the fair, inclusive opportunity for economic empowerment and reliable employment
- access to foundational education and essential healthcare
- honest review of policies and practices that have implicitly (as well as deliberately) barred BIPOC from full participation in our community’s civic and economic life
- provision of a living wage for all, which would most dramatically improve the lives of BIPOC women and their families
- advocacy for change – especially by those with power and influence…
…and so much more.
Justice is – simply – making human decency a reflexive part of our everyday lives.
We have hard work to do here in Southeast Wisconsin – work that requires both maintaining continuity in what is already being done to eliminate racism and empower women and initiating new collaborations among private, public and nonprofit organizations. And, we must do that work with the counsel and participation of the community members currently excluded from table.
We have the power to change Southeast Wisconsin, to build a thriving and inclusive region if we commit ourselves to the work of racial justice and gender equity. While some of this work will be at our own kitchen tables, in our workplaces, or wherever our personal spheres of influence may be – it is time for it to also be an active part of our collective spheres of influence. It is past time for this work to be visible, public and consistent. In that spirit – stay tuned for the debut of our PayEquity/Living Wage Report Card.
At YWCA Southeast Wisconsin, we are grateful to all those who have made our work this year successful and invite all reading this letter to join with us because, while justice cannot be silenced, it requires partnership to be impactful.
There’s more to come – because justice must be part of everyday life.
Onward in solidarity,
President & CEO