No Matter What Happens on Nov. 3
Many of us have been eyeing this November 3 with anxiety, stress—and hope. Some others are looking at that date with great uncertainty: what does the future hold for our community, our state and our country?
We, the staff and volunteers at United Way of King County, are not exempt from the angst, and we worry about our community’s most vulnerable populations: those living on our streets without shelter, crammed in cars or tents—as the weather turns cold and wet; and our neighbors with health challenges or barriers to accessing food.
But no matter what happens on Tuesday, United Way will still be there, working to take care of each other, helping our neighbors, working to keep people in their homes, assisting students at our community colleges when they fall on hard times, helping families break the cycle of poverty.
We will be there, ready to innovate and find ways to get assistance to those who need it most, especially our communities of color, whose struggle is made much harder due to structural and systemic racism in education and housing.
Our mission will not change, regardless of what the headlines say on November 4. United Way will be there, as we have always been when big events change our world.
We were there after the attacks of September 11, 2001, when we redirected our priorities toward a much greater national need to aid affected areas.
We were there, at the onset of the Great Recession, when we launched the Emergency Response for Basic Needs Fund to support the needs of our community.
We are here in times of COVID-19, raising millions of dollars to enable our partners to provide rental assistance and deliver healthy food to our neighbors affected by health and economic impacts of the pandemic.
No matter what happens, the economic effects of the pandemic will still impact those who have lost income and can’t feed their families, especially Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) in our community who have been hit disproportionately by the recession. United Way will still be there to provide support along with our partners in community-based organizations.
The homelessness crisis, which disproportionately affects BIPOC populations due to systemic racism, will not go away, no matter where the election takes us. People who are accumulating debt because of past-due rent will still need rental assistance and support from our partner organizations. And we will continue to advocate for more affordable housing, which is still lacking in our region.
Students in our community colleges who are struggling to pay for their education and basic needs will still need guidance and support from our AmeriCorps members, who have been essential in the past few months and will remain so after next week.
Many families in our community will still have ParentChild+ coaches doing their home visits—virtually— before and after the election.
The past few years have been stressful and traumatic for communities of color in our region and the nation. The racism and bigotry that have impacted our communities of color for decades have become normalized and wholly embedded throughout our systems of housing, health, education, finance and more.
While we at United Way cannot end these injustices alone, we are working, and will continue to work, to alleviate the symptoms of the racist legacy that afflict our country—regardless of who is sworn in in January.
No matter what happens in the next few days, weeks and months, United Way will continue to take care of our neighbors and each other. And we will continue to support our communities who will still need assistance, regardless of next week’s outcome. Stay safe, stay well, stay connected with your neighbors.