Statewide Collaboration

October 2020
Statewide Collaboration

Submitted by Michelle A. Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Delaware

More than 380 years after “Black Anthony” became the first African slave to arrive in Delaware, racial equity remains elusive for black and brown Delawareans. More recently, COVID-19 has highlighted racial disparities in education, employment, wealth accumulation, healthcare and housing. Many of these disparities are the byproducts of policies and practices that have enabled systemic racism in Delaware for generations.

Left unaddressed, systemic racism stifles the potential of every black and brown Delawarean, limits our state’s ability to compete in the global marketplace, and compromises the quality of life for everyone. In response, United Way of Delaware (UWDE) recently reenergized the Delaware Racial Justice and Social Equity Collaborative with the goal of eliminating systemic racism in our state.

The Collaborative includes more than 200 leaders (and counting) from grassroots, civic, business, and non-profit groups in Sussex, Kent, and New Castle counties.

The group’s goals include:

  • Closing the academic achievement gap in minority communities
  • Promoting financial empowerment and wealth creation
  • Advocating for community policing
  • Building safer, healthier environments in minority communities

To achieve its goals, the Collaborative is leveraging and amplifying the work of its grassroots members; empowering community-based leaders with the resources necessary to drive local action, and advocating for changes in the policies and practices that enable systemic racism.

In the last few months, the Collaborative established county-level subcommittees, created a statewide racial equity database, launched a social justice volunteer corps, established the Racial Equity & Social Justice Fund, and completed the 21-Day Racial Equity Challenge, an online awareness campaign that attracted more than 8,000 participants.

Systemic racism is not new, nor is it unique to Delaware. But here in Sussex, and across the First State, the Collaborative is taking giant steps to chart a new course.

Want to get involved? Contact Michelle Taylor, President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Delaware, at or 302-983-1643.

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