Building on a recently announced $10 million community initiative for racial equity and social justice, The Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties is urging community residents to take the Mohawk Valley Equity Pledge to build grassroots support for meaningful change.
“Money alone won’t solve our community’s problems,” said Alicia Dicks, Community Foundation president/CEO. “Just like communities across the nation, we have to work together to acknowledge where we’ve fallen short and where we need to do more, so that the words ‘opportunity for all’ become more reality than vision.”
Taking the pledge at mvequitypledge.org commits signers to “encourage diversity, challenge injustice and help build opportunity for all.” Staff and volunteers will physically circulate the pledge in the community as well, to reach those less likely to see it online. Dicks said encouraging public participation in a continuing conversation is a critical component of the broader equity initiative approved unanimously by The Community Foundation Board of Trustees in July, as is attracting support from other foundations and donors.
“People of color in this community ask for nothing more than equity, for fairness, so that they can achieve and succeed up to their full capacity,” said Jawwaad Rasheed, chair-elect of The Community Foundation Board of Trustees. “We are a two-county community of people in larger cities, suburbs, smaller towns, rural areas—but on this issue of racial justice and equity, we must speak with one voice. Our message to all is simple: Please, take the pledge.”
Rasheed said the ongoing pledge effort will serve as a rallying point for supporters of systemic change to advance racial equity and social justice. Building grassroots engagement and support will be an important part of the overall initiative, he said, and will complement coalition-building efforts also underway. Since the initiative announcement, a group of community leaders of color has been working with Community Foundation Trustees and staff as a first step to build a diverse collaborative or coalition that will guide the community’s equity work for years to come.
“Our commitment as part of the community’s equity initiative is to build participation and support for a better future at every level—online, in homes, schools, the workplace and government,” Dicks said. “And it all starts with more opportunity for the two counties’ most diverse neighborhoods, and a better understanding of these issues across the Mohawk Valley.”
To take the equity pledge or make a donation, visit mvequitypledge.org.