Now is the time, do your part.

By Martina Pace, Relationship Manager, United Way of Greater Cleveland

Martina Pace, Relationship ManagerI write this with various emotions that range from heartbreak, anger, sadness and eagerness.

Heartbreak for the officers killed in Dallas and most recently in Baton Rouge.

Heartbreak for the unbearable videos of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.

And heartbreak thinking of others such as Eric Garner, Michael Brown and our community’s own Tamir Rice.

Anger at the issues such as poverty and violence that disproportionately plague communities of color. Sadness for the families who have lost their fathers and bothers. And eagerness to break down barriers, dismantle issues of generational poverty. And a desire to shake those who somehow feel they are not a part of the problem.

Many of us chose to work at nonprofits in part because we want to make a difference, we believe in opportunities for all and we believe in the pursuit of social justice. With all the emotions we are feeling, we must not lose hope. We must be change agents and lead the bridge to garner communication and understanding which has been the cause of so much strife and violence we have witnessed in our country.

It’s time for us to stop pointing the finger outwardly and point it inward. We must ask ourselves what are we doing to help! I urge us all to turn our fear, anger and heartbreak into a powerful-positive action, understanding and collaboration. It’s time for us to get off the sideline and get in the game. It’s time for us to look in the mirror and ask ourselves what are we doing to create change.

Live United: It’s the slogan United Way’s across the country use. It is the core of our mission and needs to be engrained in the hearts and actions of all at a time like this. To Live United means coming together to improve our community. To Live United is as simple as becoming a part of the efforts to improve our community and working together to create a better life for ALL.

Without question, United Way’s investments have helped thousands of our community members, but my question today is what are you doing personally to Live United? It is time that we ALL do our part and be a part of the solution.

It’s time that we turn our heartbreak into action. The hope for our community and our nation lies within us. So do something! We must all figure out what we can do to effect change and DO IT!

Use this as a call to action. Change is uncomfortable. Talking about race can be difficult and awkward. But we need to start talking about it without fear. Only then can we get to the society we aspire to live in. A community where we all Live United.

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