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Communities must speak out against discrimination

We fight for the education, health, and financial stability of an entire community.

When we say that, it is actually what we mean, in the fullest, most sincere sense of the words.

To some it might just sound like a warm and fuzzy statement.

Some might hear that and think it is a lofty and even unattainable goal.

It may even sound like a talking point or catchy marketing spin to some. In actuality, it is simply an all-encompassing statement of who we are and what we do.

We believe that every person is entitled to be treated with dignity and respect — this includes equal treatment and access to justice.

It means if there is a need that we can address then we SHOULD and we WILL.

Recent events involving violence and threats expose the underlying currents of prejudice and privilege that prevent so many from being treated as they deserve.

These incidents are detestable and loathsome. They go against the very grain of everything United Way stands for and strives towards each day.

We are so incredibly proud of the work we do and the impact we make in our community.

We fight every day to make a difference, to effect change, to bring critical impact to those who need it most.

Yet if we do not stand tall and speak clearly against discrimination and prejudice, what meaning does our work really hold?

Endorsing the status quo and being complacent of unforgivable abuses undermines the very commitment we have made to building stronger more vibrant communities.

Our community is the sum of all.

Community is not a shade or a texture.

It is not a niche or nuance.

When we talk about the community we are not talking about some pie in the sky, hopeful version of what we wish our community was.

We aren’t talking about what would be easy and without challenge.

We are talking about the reality of what our community is, in real time.

It is the current status of where we are NOW that we must work from.

We must all do our part, living and working united, to make our community what we need it to be — a place of fairness, a place of safety and vibrancy, a place of opportunity. We can do better.

We MUST do better.

Your United Way is here for you.

Your United Way is committed to being that voice and presence that demands equity and justice for all.

Your United Way simply refuses to accept anything less.

Stacy DeCicco is executive director of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley, located at 935 Market St., Parkersburg.

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