President's Corner

We All Contribute to – and Belong in – the United States of America

September 26, 2019

Luz Vega-Marquis
By Luz Vega-Marquis
President and CEO

I recently signed the “Querida Familia Latina” solidarity letter, joining hundreds of concerned people. I did so because I support dignity and equity for all families. All of us make the United States of America a rich place.

It might seem hard to remain hopeful when it feels like hatred is winning the day in America. We’ve seen vitriol spew forth in rhetoric, actions and policy manifestations. Immigrants demonized. Kids locked up, separated from parents.

I’ve worked in philanthropy for 40 years, and I remain committed to strengthening families, community organizing and movement building. One belief continues to guide me: All of us contribute to – and belong in – the United States of America. Immigrants, citizens, the Indigenous and refugees. Dignity and respect belong to all of us under the U.S. flag. That’s easy to forget when mockery is used. Over the decades, we’ve had to stand up and fight for both dignity and respect.

I recently joined more than 200 people in signing the “Querida Familia Latina” letter. It’s about heartbreak, hope, and love in the Latinx community. The letter highlights the fact that we are not alone, that we stand together to say the U.S. is rich for a reason. It is rich because of families. It is rich because of us. It is rich because we include people – the young, the old, Latinx, Blacks, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, Whites, and LGBTQ+.

Let’s continue to include. Let’s continue to find peaceful moments, build community and participate in public life. Let’s continue to organize. Let’s use our voices to inquire, illuminate and engage in conversations about poverty, progress and families. Let’s make sure we’re counted in Census 2020. Let’s vote.

Since 2001, Marguerite Casey Foundation has issued more than $450 million in sizable, long-term, general support grants to community organizations led by low-income families fighting for equity. It is our way of saying: “You belong here. We belong here.”

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously invoked the arc of the moral universe. It does bend toward justice. But it does not happen overnight. Take care of yourself, your families and your communities. Speak up when intolerance and injustice surface. Be safe.

Our worldviews can be the launch pads for growth and transformation – and realizing how much we have in common within the richness of our diversity.

We All Contribute to – and Belong in – the United States of America