Like most of you, we have been horrified viewing the awful events taking place in our country. While the incidents and related reactions as a result of the violent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery have been startling, they unfortunately are only the most recent of many similar tragedies that have transpired in our country over the past 400 years.
It is past time for our community to prioritize and expand the dialogue on matters that will make life better for all of our residents, including but not limited to social justice, and disparities in education, health and income. We believe that in order for that to happen, our communities must be safe, thriving and equitable. All must feel valued and empowered. Our most vulnerable neighbors must have their basic needs met. Our community must work together to bring about real and lasting change. The racial injustices we’ve recently seen broadcast in mainstream and social media remind us that diversity, equity and inclusion must not only be championed by the underrepresented (or misrepresented) populations – but by every one of us.
Collectively, our organizations have a legacy of leading initiatives in our community to foster prosperity for all citizens. At the Greenville Chamber, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative, as well as the Minority Business Accelerator program, facilitate minority-owned business growth as well as economic parity. For nearly 50 years, the Urban League of the Upstate has worked to provide economic empowerment, educational opportunities and the guarantee of civil rights for the underserved in the Upstate and beyond. And, the United Way of Greenville County values, understands, accepts and celebrates all people as their team and volunteers carry out the important work of enriching the community.
However, this work is not enough.
We recommend that a county-wide commission convene to discuss our current state and move aggressively toward influencing solutions to ensure that all area residents have unobstructed opportunities for safety, justice and success.
We look forward to continuing to lead and engage in these conversations and implementing long overdue solutions. Let’s love our community and everyone in it.
Greenville Chamber President/CEO
Urban League of the Upstate Interim President/CEO
United Way of Greenville County President/CEO