What does it mean to Live United?
What does it mean to Live United? Often times, the reality is it is much more complex than the phrase. It means that you agree to live for something larger than yourself. It means that you stand for what is right and just. It means that you believe that everyone deserves the same opportunity to have an equitable seat at the table. And, when you are choosing to Live United, it means that you invest in bringing those realities to life. It takes all walks of life, their perspectives and experiences to make up our community. What defines this community is deeply rooted in the values of what make us proud to call Southwest Alabama home. Loving thy neighbor is a tenant that has been engrained in our children since birth. And those children have grown up to be adults who now have an even greater ability to impact our community – for the better – by changing lives and saving lives through their investment in Southwest Alabama. We have professional business leaders, community leaders, those who lead in critical areas of public service, commerce & industry, education, finance and the healthcare field. We have those who advocate for more jobs, those who advocate for the protection of our natural resources, and those who fight every day to ensure equitable access to health and human services. And all of those people have one thing in common – they choose to Live United.
This February, as we honor Black History Month, we continue down our path of Living United. We are fortunate to have the example of two great leaders in our regions history: John LeFlore and Joseph Langan. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, LeFlore, a civil rights leader and Langan, our former mayor and city commissioner advocated for interracial cooperation to bring about desegregation of city buses, police department and other institutions. Institutions like Spring Hill College led the way in desegregation among Southern colleges and earned the respect of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who mentioned the moral significance of Spring Hill’s initiatives in his 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” Dr. King said “I commend the Catholic leaders of this state for Integrating Spring Hill College several years ago.” We still have much to learn from leaders of our past while new leaders continue to blaze a trail for One Mobile. “The great leaders of our past have invested their blood, sweat and tears to add to the solid foundation of what unity looks like in our world. It is up to us to continue to add to that foundation and to expand the footprint of unity, diversity and inclusion in our communities; not seeking perfection, but always with the goal of real progress in mind. By this, we will know that the world we leave is better because we were here.” Audra Harper, Board of Trustees for the United Way of Southwest Alabama and Operations Administrator for Harper Technologies.
The United Way of Southwest Alabama’s mission is to improve the quality of life for all citizens in the communities we serve. We acknowledge it takes a diverse village to lift our community up and sustain that progress for future generations. We work with all sectors of the community and partner with diverse businesses to change lives and save lives right here at home. The past year has been difficult for so many individuals and businesses within our local communities and across our country. Across Southwest Alabama, we have experienced civil unrest, had multiple natural disasters bring devastation to those in their path, and lost countless lives to COVID-19 while our healthcare workers are giving everything they have to save our grandparents, parents, siblings, coworkers, neighbors, and friends. With an unimaginable year behind us and an uncertain future, Mobilians continue to do what Mobilians do, we remain resilient. We step up to the plate when there is no plate left. We continue to fight for our loved ones and businesses. Your United Way is no different. We will continue to knock down barriers on our way to ensuring everyone has equitable access to health and human services. At the United Way of Southwest Alabama, we are able to create the community safety net through the support of countless community members and businesses who all continue to fight for what is right. United We Fight, United We Win. Live United.