It is more important than ever that we reject increased militarization at home and abroad. It is more important than ever that we uplift the experiences, politics, and movements of Black, Indigenous, and Latinx queer and trans people fighting for self-determination of our bodies, homes, neighborhoods, clubs, and lands.
The Movement for Black Lives and Black Lives Matter have afforded philanthropy an opportunity to rethink how to be more helpful to communities in peril. Over the past few years, we’ve seen notable shifts in how donors and institutional funders move money to crises and burgeoning movements.
While the shooting in Minneapolis is in itself an abhorrent act, we see it as part of escalating harassment and violence against social movements and social inclusion. Such a trend of activities are abhorrent but not surprising. What is in fact most concerning is the virtual silence by government institutions and leaders. The failure of government agencies to take action reveals a severe lack of accountability to the people.
There’s a big disconnect between how social change is happening and how resources for change-makers are distributed. Unless changes occur in the activist funding system the most effective activists will be starved of resources and change will not occur.
Brown’s death at the hands of former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson sparked a national dialogue about racial inequality. It brought home the point that, just as place and poverty are social determinants of health, racial equity is an important indicator of our communities’ health. This dialogue has been a critically important step toward addressing the complex challenges and deep fissures that exist in communities plagued by racial tension and economic instability. But we at Deaconess Foundation strongly believe that in order to overcome these challenges and heal the fissures, the dialogue must be followed by action on a systemic level.
Of course, changing police policies is not a panacea to police violence against Black girls, women and gender nonconforming people. In order to to strike at the root of the issue, we need to transform our responses to poverty, violence and mental health crises in ways that center the safety and humanity of Black women and our communities. Still, taking action in these seven areas would go a long way to reducing harm while we work toward deeper systemic change.
Following five years of targeted grantmaking designed to build the capacity of a field of Muslim, Arab and South Asian (MASA) organizations and strengthen civil rights protections in a national security context, the SRC is now moving forward with a renewed strategy – one that is more directly aligned with the natural trajectory of the field and serves to integrate these issues and communities into the broader rights movement.