As we approached Election Day, we saw Americans taking to the polls early and in record numbers, and filling out mail-in ballots by the millions to ensure that their votes are counted and their voices are heard. People have been willing to endure physical discomfort and profound inconvenience to exercise the franchise that so many fought and died for -- fueling what is likely to be a historic voter turnout. This is Democracy in action.
We also recognize that these last few months have wrought division and polarization in our communities, on top of the challenges so many are facing in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing racial injustice, economic crisis, and disaster response and recovery.
Whatever the outcome of the election, please know that our United Way will have an important role to play in healing and bringing our communities together. We are a trusted voice. I am writing to you today with a re-affirmation of United Way’s core principles and to provide guidance in anticipation of a polarizing election outcome.
- Civic engagement is at the heart of what we do. United Way has been working to build stronger communities in Santa Cruz County since 1941. We are committed to equipping and empowering our communities to participate in the democratic process and make their voices heard before, during and well after the election.
- We stand united against division and hate. We know the outcome of the election will cause intense polarization and anxiety in our communities. We remain committed to our values of diversity, equity and inclusion, and our unequivocal opposition to division, hate and systemic racism.
- We work to bring the diverse aspects of our communities together. United Way is a nonpartisan organization focused on communities. Bridging divides and bringing our communities together to solve our most intractable problems is at the core of what we do at United Way.
- We focus on policy, not politics. Our public policy work is driven by our mission. We adjust our strategies based on Congress’ agenda, but good policy is good policy—regardless of who’s in charge. While our policy and impact priorities won’t change, we will adjust our tactics and messaging to the current political environment.
Our greatest strength at United Way of Santa Cruz County is our ability to work collaboratively with the entire community. Our county and state have worked diligently to provide a safe and secure voting process. Should for any reason you experienced any issues on Election Day, please use the Election Protection Hotline
Thank you for exercising your right to make your voice heard with your vote and let's remember to practice COVID-mindfulness throughout this week.
Keisha Browder - CEO, United Way of Santa Cruz County