Upswell 2020 Is About These Two Things
// By The Upswell Team
2020 has been an unexpected year.
It shouldn’t have been, of course, because the writing has been on the wall. The fatal flaws in our systems – lack of trust, lack of empathy, lack of leadership, lack of preparedness — are not new. The racial injustice that has consistently and brutally oppressed so many human beings in our communities is as old as the country itself.
As changemakers, we know these things. We work to improve them every day.
And yet we find ourselves at a moment of reckoning – a moment when death has become a defining characteristic of our national identity. Black people are losing their lives at the hands of those sworn to protect them and under broader conditions that don’t exact an equal toll from white Americans. More than 130,000 people in our country have lost their lives to COVID-19, a wretched marker that far outpaces the rest of the world, with no end in sight.
Even as we work furiously to ensure all people thrive, it’s clear that we aren’t doing enough.
So, we’re making another pivot – one that is critical to the health of our sector and country. Upswell 2020 will now focus exclusively on two issues: anti-racism and COVID-19 recovery.
These are issues that affect every single one of us, no matter our specific mission area or geography. They are issues that we cannot address alone or in limited collaboration. They demand our full focus and deepest thinking, our best resources and highest commitment. They require more of our energy, more of our talent, more of our ingenuity. Because if we can’t collectively engineer a more equitable, just, and healthy nation, then we are part of the problem.
What, exactly, does that mean for Upswell?
It means that everything in the virtual summit program this October will be dedicated to one or both of these issues. Main Stage speakers, sessions, arts, networking – every element of Upswell will be designed to help us find solutions to these two problems. Our mutual responsibility is to subvert the obvious and make precise sense of exactly how we got to this point and then catalyze immediate action.
The fight against racism and the recovery from the pandemic are complicated and complex, challenging us to explore every angle as we search for breakthrough solutions. And the diversity of our community is our strength, so you should expect a typically wide array of approaches and ideas. It will be the same vibrant spirit that defines Upswell, channeled into a more clearly articulated sense of purpose.
End racism. Heal the nation.
It’s a herculean task ahead of us. And it’s time to flex our muscles.