Following the Election, Our Work Remains
On the eve of last week’s election, I told our staff unequivocally: “Regardless of the outcomes of our national and state elections, our work, our intentions, our commitment to equity will not change. If that means we are fighting upstream, if that means we are alone in our effort, then so be it.”
What the Election Revealed
Getting through Election Day didn’t solve the challenges we’ve faced this year. The COVID-19 pandemic rages on with no end in sight, taking lives, threatening children’s learning and decimating the economy. The election affirmed rather than resolved deep divisions forcing us apart during a time when we should be holding tight and taking care of one another. And racial injustice – which for centuries has run through our communities, chipping away at our nation like a river through a gorge – didn’t end with the election of the first woman of color as Vice President.
The election revealed that our work – our mission to bring health in reach for all Coloradans through our North Star of health equity – remains vital. The year 2020 will soon be in our rear view, but its impacts are strewn across the road ahead. Our leaders in the White House, in Congress, at the state Capitol and in policy-making rooms across the state cannot fix our problems on their own. We have much to do.
First, let us celebrate the beauty of democracy and all that’s possible when people actively participate in civic engagement. Nationally, our voter turnout shattered records, powered by people of color who organized in ways and places previously unheard of. Diverse candidates will change the face of our leadership – from the largest class of openly LGBTQ candidates elected to the U.S. House, to our first Muslim state lawmaker here in Colorado – so that more folks can see themselves in positions of power.
As we celebrate democracy, we must also thank those who made Colorado’s election a shining example nationwide – from the mail carriers who delivered ballots to the workers who staffed polling places and counted carefully and quickly to ensure that every vote matters. Thank you to the community organizers and advocates who worked around-the-clock for candidates and causes they believed in. Thank you to the voters who didn’t let a pandemic and a recession stand in the way of having their voices heard.
What the Work Is Now
This kind of active participation we’ve seen in this year’s election must continue – beyond the ballot box – if we want to create a more just and equitable future in our country and in our state. The work ahead requires much of each of us.
At The Colorado Health Foundation, we will be impatient, unapologetic and passionate about centering racial justice in all that we do, like never before. This year and this election has called us to do that – out loud.
To protect and nurture the health and well-being of our communities, including and especially communities of color, we commit to denouncing racism, tearing down the barriers inherent in our systems and structures, and getting out of the way of leaders of color who know what’s best for their neighbors. We’ll do it all with a deep love for all the people of Colorado, extending a hand even to those who think differently than us and bringing every willing person on the journey with us.
I hope you’ll join me in a moment of reflection. As the election gets further and further behind us, ask yourself: What is your commitment to making Colorado a more just and equitable state for all of us?
Save the Date
I invite you to plan on joining me on Monday, Dec. 7 (Noon – 1:30 p.m.) for “Your Turn at the Mic” as we close out our free, virtual “At the Heart of the Matter” series for 2020. It’s time for you and other Coloradans from across the state to drive the dialogue by sharing personal insights and stories around a set of key questions related to the role of racial justice in health equity. Learn more.