Dear United Way Friends,
I hope this note continues to find you and yours safe and healthy.
It is difficult to put into words the feelings I experienced as I watched the events of January 6th unfold. We were starting our weekly Leadership Team meeting when my phone alerts started going off at an alarming rate. At the top of the agenda, we always check-in by asking the question, “is there anything keeping you from being fully present”? I mentioned that I was turning on the news and was a bit distracted by what was happening at the U.S. Capitol.
At that point there was still a certain level of confusion about what was taking place. I wondered if this was a group of folks exercising their right to protest and if the crowd was just larger than anticipated? However, as I watched, I was horrified by the images and later heartbroken by the loss of life. Over the last week as more stories and images have been released, I am still shocked and have more questions than answers, as I suspect many of you do.
I am, by nature, an optimistic person, who tends to believe there is a solution to every problem and that nothing is too large that we cannot solve it together. It’s at the very core of who we are …the United Way. As I say that I feel a tug inside of me that knows it is true and it makes my heart glad. When I say that in relation to where it feels we are as a nation, it brings tears to my eyes and I feel overwhelmed. However, I am also finding comfort in the basic tenants that our organization holds so dear, the power that we have when we Live United. United we can live in a community where everyone is valued and provided an equal opportunity to thrive. Just like we have done before, with you, we will stay focused on building better tomorrows for everyone in our community.
I am sure many of you are experiencing these same range of emotions. And there’s COVID-19 rearing its ugly head as the number of confirmed cases and deaths continue to rise. Both are unlike things that we’ve ever experienced before in our lifetime and while the weight of that is heavy, I still believe hope will prevail.
I wish I had the words to provide comfort and inspiration at this time. What I can offer is this: I think it is important to know that it is okay to not be okay. It is okay to still be processing what happened at the U.S. Capitol last week and confronting the emotions that come along with such a traumatic event. It is okay to still be anxious about COVID-19 and the long-term impacts this will have on us as individuals and our community. It is okay to not be okay.
I encourage each of you to spend some time doing things that bring you peace and comfort in the days ahead. I truly believe that America will come together, that our community will strive forward- together, and that we will be better than we can even imagine.
We know that our work has never been easy, but we’ve been here for one another through the good times and the bad. We will continue to be here, we will continue to do our work with hope, and, together, we will build a better future.
As always, thank you for LIVING UNITED.
President and CEO of United Way of Forsyth County