Cincinnati spoken-word artist Siri Imani released a video today featuring a powerful piece that speaks to how United Way of Greater Cincinnati has helped her and our region to thrive.
Imani, known for her work with Triiibe as well as her solo work, discusses how her journey toward community change sometimes seemed lonely, and she came to realize United is the way to change.
“Like every individual star it takes to light up the sky in the thick of the dark, like every individual brush stroke that led to a beautiful piece of art, like every vein that maintains a heart, United and stuck together we are,” she says in the video which was produced by RedFly Media. “At the end of the day, the only way is the united way.”
Imani, whose community gardens program is supported by United Way, points out United Way uniquely tackles deep-rooted community problems by harnessing the power of diverse resources to achieve results no entity can achieve on its own.
“Our city is no stranger to deeply-rooted problems. Now is the time for comprehensive solutions,” she says. “We must create the change we envision for ourselves.”
That particular part of her art, said Moira Weir, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Cincinnati, shows the importance of United Way: every dollar given to the United Way is amplified because of the organization’s ability to convene resources and develop replicable solutions.
“Siri’s piece is beautiful and powerful,” she said. “She mentions the nearly 140 agencies we support as well as the many grassroots organizations we work with, calling out the power of United Way in bringing those resources to the table to develop comprehensive solutions. Her eloquent words capture our work well.”
United Way of Greater Cincinnati played a key part in the region’s COVID-19 response and recovery, working with Greater Cincinnati Foundation to activate a regional response fund that raised and distributed more than $7 million into the community in a matter of months. United Way kicked off its annual campaign early to continue its COVID-19 work and is in the midst of a summer sprint to raise $10 million by Labor Day – a meaningful start to the goal of raising at least $50 million by the end of 2020. Procter & Gamble CEO David Taylor is this year’s campaign chair. Support United Way’s community work with a donation at uwgc.org/united or by texting “waytohelp” to 50503.
Among the other work United Way is doing to help during COVID:
- Allowing United Way agencies to access early allocations for help with emergency relief.
- Establishing its 211 Center as a one-stop shop for COVID relief.
- Reaching out to non-traditional partners (faith-based and community-based organizations) to ensure relief work hits all communities.
- Delivering iPads to help isolated seniors connect with their families.
- Establishing a partnership with Hamilton County Job and Family Services, as well as other partners, to deliver $160,000 in gift cards directly into the hands of vulnerable families
- Connecting United Way 211 and Meals on Wheels to proactively reach out to seniors living alone and inquire if they need social services.
- Delivering 1 million masks and sanitizer to organizations throughout our community for distribution to neighborhood residents.
Siri experienced United Way’s impact firsthand as a recipient of the organization’s Black Empowerment Works grant program. Twenty-nine Black entrepreneurs recently received $600,000 in funding for anti-poverty initiatives under the Black Empowerment Works program. Triiibe’s grant funds a community garden project promoting healthy lifestyles.
Imani discussed the United Way’s support in her spoken-word interpretation.
“The United Way is how my community will have a garden and my children will know ownership,” she said.
She ends her piece by emphasizing united is the way to change.
“The United Way shows we are all branches on the same tree and sometimes we just got to grow together to notice it,” she says. “If we decide as a community we don’t like what we see, we must fight. For a tribe like mine, we choose to do it united.”