by Chelsea Nelson

Communications Director

The month of February contains two wonderful themes that are very much in line with LIVING UNITED:  Black History Month, and of course, LOVE!  Both of these themes are layered with acceptance, tolerance, helping those in our community who need it, and inclusion.  As I try to adopt the idea of LIVING UNITED into not only my professional life, but my personal life as well, I am finding more and more that doing this is a daily way of living, an attitude even, and not just a few minutes or hours when you donate or participate in a volunteer program.  It is being a part of a communal united front that focuses on loving those around us–and then taking action.

I recently visited The Leonardo Museum in Salt Lake where they are holding an exhibit entitled “This Light of Ours” for Black History Month. Walking through this exhibit, I was filled with emotion and love for every person who fought so hard to gain freedoms that every human deserves. The exhibit features 156 black and white photos taken by activist photographers during the Civil Rights Movement. Each photo shows the hardship, the emotion, and the determination that was felt by so many people.  And, despite the violence and ignorance that was so present at this time, you could see the love in the eyes of those who were fighting for what they believed in. As I viewed every photo, I kept thinking that this was a group of people who were truly LIVING UNITED and advancing the common good for all of us. I would highly recommend taking an afternoon to visit this exhibit for yourself!

Valentines Day tends to be geared around the romantic love that we have for our significant others–which is a wonderful thing.  However, I encourage everyone to think broader this month (and year round!) and consider how we can each show love for our communities and neighborhoods.  How can we be a part of a united front of change?  I truly believe that the catalyst for change is love–and that LOVING UNITED is the first step to LIVING UNITED.  I encourage everyone to take the next step and give, advocate, or volunteer in any way you can.  Every small contribution helps United Way of Salt Lake to move forward on our mission of building stronger communities and helping children and families find future success–and isn’t that what LOVE is all about?