This week, I watched with horror the assault on our Democracy that sought to disrupt our nation’s peaceful transition of power. I was reminded of the numerous coups and the weak hold my home nation of Venezuela has on its own democratic ambitions. I never thought that I would live to see insurrection and violence against the American democracy — it is painful. But I am not one bit surprised. In fact, this is exactly what he promised us. And I expect that he and his supporters are not done attacking our democracy and spreading white supremacy, either.
At 18 years old, I emigrated from Caracas, Venezuela, to Atlanta, Georgia, to attend college. I was hoping to return once I graduated. But watching what transpired when Chavez was elected — his tyranny that bred violence, destitution, and mistrust among neighbors — I chose to make this great country my home. I’ve dedicated my career to improving financial access in underserved communities, supported the nation’s entrepreneurs, and advocated for stronger federal support, protections, and investments.
It’s not perfect, but I love this country. And to see it torn apart so wantonly, so willfully, it breaks my heart. But as our hearts are breaking, our will is building.
I am alarmed at the injuries our democracy has endured these past four years. Make no mistake: the biggest threat on display this Wednesday wasn’t just a small group of extremists threatening our Democracy, it is the growing divisiveness— unmasked, emboldened, walking the halls of our nation’s Capitol.
The actions of a few extremists to rise and disrupt the will of the people will not change my faith and trust in our Democracy. I feel stronger than ever that the way to defend our values and rise above this deplorable behavior is by continuing to help those who need us the most. At Accion Opportunity Fund, that means we keep focused to support the 30 million small businesses in America that have suffered so much with the pandemic in the past 10 months and are fighting as hard as they can in order to provide for their families and keep their employees.
America is beautiful, she is complicated, but she is stronger than any one man, stronger than any one mob. And we get stronger with each challenge, and we overcome.
At Accion Opportunity Fund, our mission—to drive economic mobility—is part of the fight against systemic inequities, including racism. Today, we need to do that work with greater speed, unyielding commitment, and increasing courage.
To the seditious leaders, and the everyday racists among us, I say: Not today, not on my watch. And to the children of color watching, know I’m here, as are so many others just like me.
We are strong and getting stronger, and we are changing America one day at a time, for the better, despite the injuries she endures.
-Luz Urrutia, CEO, Accion Opportunity Fund
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