I choose hope.
I choose hope as more of my brothers and sisters die, as my heart breaks, as my blood boils, as my stomach churns, as I try to manage my fear, as my community suffers, as the lives of our citizens of color are devalued.
I choose hope as I reflect upon: the traumatic legacy of slavery in the Americas; the consequences of systemic racism which we experience on a daily basis; and the continuing disparities in economic, educational, health, and legal outcomes between Americans of color, native Americans, and white Americans.
I choose hope because, although my military service is over, the oath I once took to support and defend the ideals represented in our constitution, still hold true for me.
I choose hope because, as a military veteran, I understand the challenges associated with operating under adverse and stressful conditions where split-second decisions with life-changing consequence are regularly made and where the standards of accountability, integrity, and performance, are (and must be) high and unforgiving.
I choose hope because two key tenets of my faith are love and forgiveness.
I choose hope because I strongly believe that Greater Twin Cities United Way’s work improving educational outcomes, increasing earnings, providing a safety net combined with the organization’s equity work, is making Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream a reality and honoring Malcolm X’s journey.
I choose hope because I believe in humankind and in the difference that caring people, working together, can make in creating a more just and equitable community.
I choose hope because I believe in our future.
Craig Warren is chief operating officer of Greater Twin Cities United Way and a United States Army veteran. He’s deeply committed to working towards achieving an equitable society. Craig and his family have called this area home for the past six years.
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