President’s Message: E Pluribus Unum
Every year, our Annual Gala gives us great hope and strength. A lot of work goes into making the event a success. Long hours, long nights. But I never get tired of seeing a venue like the American Museum of Natural History come alive with hundreds of our strongest supporters and closest friends. It fills me with great pride because I know how much good our collective makes possible. I know that together we are an extended family that shares common values and dreams, and lifts up millions of lives across our nation. And because we know how much is at stake – how much important work we have ahead of us – it is no surprise that this year we raised together a record $2.6 million dollars to advance our shared causes.
As important as raising those funds are to us, we know that our gathering went beyond dollars and cents. The theme of this year’s gala was E Pluribus Unum. ‘Out of many, one’. Our decision to focus on this national motto of our country, wasn’t a random one. Just four years ago, that motto seemed irrefutable, unquestioned and unchallenged. But these days it is a value that is consistently under attack.
You look around our nation today and you can see that the forces of division and fear feel emboldened. They look at America’s diversity and see a threat. They take our compassion and caring for others, and they see weakness. They think our push to expand equality and opportunities for all, means less for them. They’re wrong, of course. America’s greatness rests precisely in its diversity, in its commitment to being a hopeful nation, a beacon of opportunity for its residents and the world over.
We have all watched the troubling events of these past three years: the constant demonizing of immigrants, Charlottesville, our Dreamers being put in harms way, the efforts to undermine people’s access to health care, the callous disregard of our fellow American citizens in Puerto Rico, and migrant children being torn from their parents arms.
This is not the America of e pluribus unum. It is an angry and small-minded America. It is an America of the few that believes that in order for one person to get ahead, many should suffer. That my well-being and success aren’t related to yours. That in order for me to win, you have to lose.
But the good news is that none of you have been silent or idle as these fundamentally un-American actions have taken place. You have responded unequivocally through your embrace of our work. That is the clear message each of you sent by joining us at the Gala. We all understand that our strength as a nation comes from our diversity, empathy and commitment to being a beacon for opportunity and democracy. We also know that our community stands strongest when it stands together.
On behalf of our board and staff, thank you for believing so strongly in our mission and the work we carry out to advance an America of e pluribus unum.