Civic participation and democracy are tied to our nation’s overall health and well-being. The efforts on January 6 to overrun the United States Capitol and disrupt the electoral process were a threat to democracy, civic engagement, and peaceful demonstration that are at the core of our country’s values.
And they were a fundamental threat to our nation’s health.
At the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust, we know people in our community and our nation are hurting after witnessing these riots and destruction, and we feel that pain as well. We also witnessed how a white, violent mob was met by law enforcement yesterday versus the thousands of diverse, peaceful protesters—often led by people of color—calling for racial justice and fair treatment by police this year. The stark contrast was not lost on us and underscores our commitment to racial equity and justice in our philanthropic work.
Mrs. Reynolds founded the Trust more than 70 years ago to improve the health and quality of life of people with low incomes throughout North Carolina. According to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, civic participation, which includes voting, volunteering, and participating in group activities, is a social determinant of health—the factors outside of a doctor’s office that impact people’s overall health and well-being. And the highest levels of health are seen in free, democratic countries.
Together, we strive for a healthier and just North Carolina—and nation.
As we continue to strive for a healthier, thriving North Carolina, we will work to ensure the communities we serve can engage in the democratic process and feel safe and empowered to do so, because we know democracy is tied to a community’s overall health and well-being.
Out of the pain and anger so many have experienced this year because of a raging global pandemic, economic uncertainty, nation-wide calls for racial justice, and now a violent threat to the peaceful transition of power, we vow at the Trust to continue to stand up for thriving communities and residents. This means advocating for new systems and policies that ensure an inclusive economy, equitable access to health care, and a fair and just education system that begins in the early years and addresses disparities by race and place in our schools.
At the Trust, we will keep working for racial justice and speaking out against systemic racism, investing in and lifting up the voices of people and communities that have been marginalized, and supporting efforts that promote and honor democracy and civic engagement. We believe it is the only way forward toward a thriving state and nation that offers everyone the opportunity to live a healthy, hopeful life.