To our YW family—
There are no two ways about it: this year has been a trying one. Our community has dealt with tragedy and loss, frustration and disillusion, fear and unrest, and so much more. But what we witnessed this past week was true democracy in action, and we are proud to have watched over 160 million of our fellow countrymen and women—the highest voter turnout in 120 years—let their voices be heard at the ballot box. Civic engagement is a cornerstone of our society; it empowers those who participate, and without a doubt, it has the power to change our community, our state, and our country.
Like much of 2020, we recognize this past week was one filled with turmoil. With election night stretching on for days, our fellow Americans were fraught with exhaustion, anticipation, and anxiety. For some, the announcement that came through on Saturday was celebratory; for others, it was a disappointment. We are a nation filled with differing opinions, voices, and thoughts; this election showed how fractured we are and how deep a divide we face. Regardless of political opinion, it is clear we need to remember who we are: the United States of America. It is time to reach across the aisle and begin to heal. This will undoubtedly take time and effort, but it is time and effort well worth it, because we are so much more together.
It is with this in mind that we celebrate the many historical firsts resulting from this election:
- The first woman, first woman of color, and first Asian American, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris;
- The first openly transgender woman Senator, Sarah McBride; and
- The first non-binary state legislator and the first Muslim lawmaker in Oklahoma, Mauree Turner.
100 years after the Nineteenth amendment passed and 55 years after the Voting Rights Act, our nation is starting to understand and embrace that representation matters. We are thankful that forthcoming generations will grow up seeing these trailblazing elected officials in office. And maybe—just maybe seeing someone who looks like them, paving the way for all those who follow—Kamala, Sarah, and Mauree’s example will change their life, allowing them the space to dream and become something beyond what they even thought possible.
Regardless of this election’s outcome and what this new administration will bring, the YWCA’s mission remains the same: eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. We are dedicated and committed to ensuring women and women of color are seen, heard, and lifted up. Our mission centers us, and we will continue our work towards a world free from inequity today, tomorrow, and every day.
But we cannot do it alone; this work needs all of us. As Vice President-elect Harris shared in her speech, “‘We The People’ have the power to build a better future.” We invite you to join us in building that future. Let’s do this together.
YWCA Princeton CEO