United Way of Central Illinois Statement

United Way of Central Illinois is saddened by recent events which have brought the issues of racism and discrimination to the forefront. Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of what it means to LIVE UNITED. It is not enough to simply acknowledge that systemic racism exists in our community and communities across our country, and that the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer was wrong. The best way to build a strong community is to lift up voices that are often not heard, valuing and learning from the diverse experiences and perspectives of those who call Sangamon and Menard counties home.

It is at the core of our United Way that we publicly stand up against racism and call for everyone to join us. George Floyd deserved justice, dignity and a different fate. This is why we work towards equity in schools, jobs and health care, to address the root causes of systemic poverty, and negative social determinants of health which disproportionately impact the African American community and communities of color.

We are joining the call across our country for policy changes and reforms addressing equity and inclusion, as well as the police and criminal justice system. We recognize, promote and encourage the participation in trainings such as Crossroads, hosted by the Springfield Coalition on Dismantling Racism, to address these issues. Our community needs to engage in critical dialogues including peaceful protests, and hold people accountable and work together to create these necessary changes.

We truly are stronger together. We know our place in this work has only begun and we are committed to work with our community partners to ensure our Black community is heard, so that we may create a better future for our community.

-John Kelker, President and CPO of United Way of Central Illinois