In his 1963 book “Strength to Love,” Martin Luther King Jr. wrote: “The ultimate measure of a man is … where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
We continue to see examples of the underlying inequity in American life, including unequal police response to protests based on color, increased police violence against African Americans and the overwhelming and disproportionate toll of COVID-19 on communities of color. In response, millions joined in the call for racial justice and equity in their local communities and across the nation.
Aligning with the call for equity, United Way of Champaign County’s work focuses on health, education and financial stability for every person in our community.
We, as a community, can and must do better to guarantee that the basic human rights and freedoms of every person in Champaign County are protected. We must all do our part, working United, to make our community a place where everyone has the resources, opportunities, and support they need to thrive.
To that end, we are calling on you to join us in the fight for equity and justice in Champaign County On January 18, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, consider taking one or more of the following actions in order to honor Dr. King’s legacy and keep up his work in the 21st century.
- Sign up for the United Way of Illinois 21 Week Equity Challenge. Commit to spending at least 15 minutes a week between now and Juneteenth (June 19, 2021) to learn about equity. Sign up here.
- Educate yourself about systemic racism and oppression. Spend a few hours on Martin Luther King Jr. Day reading, watching, or listening in order to learn more about our country’s history of racial injustice and how people are organizing for change.
- To Read:
- To Watch:
- To Listen
- Support local minority-owned businesses and restaurants. Visit Buy Black Chambana to discover local Black-owned businesses.
- Participate in a virtual event. Join the Champaign County Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Sunday, January 17 from 3pm - 4pm.
- Call or write your local or state officials to express your support for policies that promote racial justice. Find your elected officials here.
- Talk to a child in your life about race. Reading a book is an easy way to teach this complex concept to children. Good options include:
- A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory
- Not My Idea: A Book About Whiteness by Anastasia Higginbotham
- A is for Activist by Innosanto Nagara
- Sometimes People March by Tessa Allen
These ideas are just a few ways you can get started. The fight for racial justice and equity must continue beyond MLK Day. It will take everyone working together, year-round, United for equity, United for change.
As Dr. King once said, “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl, but by all means, keep moving.”