Today, I raise the question for philanthropy, particularly for white and non-black people of color donors and foundation staff: what more is required of us to advance racial justice? It is a question I have been grappling with as a biracial Sri Lankan/white American working in philanthropy.
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.
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.
Transformative Campaigns are a means to create the operational alignment our progressive infrastructure needs to build a new, and specific, type of power: the power to govern based on our values. The capacities needed to govern are much different than the capacities we’ve needed to successfully elevate grievances and lead protests. In order to govern, we need political power. In order to govern with progressive and social justice values, that political power has to be independent from the two dominant political parties. That’s why a critical mass of progressive and social justice organizations is aligning around a strategic focus on building independent political power.
The United States is on the verge of an upsurge in democratic participation in cities and communities across the country, but will traditional civic engagement funders take notice?
Chicago Has Spent Half a Billion Dollars on Police Brutality Cases—And It’s Impoverishing the Victims’ CommunitiesLorraine
Settlement generally come out of city budgets, not police budgets, and in Chicago these payouts compound the city’s financial distress, leaving less money for public services and forcing cuts.
To overcome the fictions we tell ourselves requires us to acknowledge that the way the criminal justice system operates for Black and brown people, like the way our national security system has operated since 9/11, and the way our immigration system has functioned for virtually all of American history, is to restrict and confine participation in American democracy – to squelch civic engagement in the most literal sense.
Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, explains how inequality and the abuse of power exploit people of color and the poor.
Tides and its sister organization, The Advocacy Fund, work closely with funders and grassroots organizers to accelerate policing reform. Since 2010, we’ve been bringing people together to find innovative solutions for safer communities.
In this Five Questions edition, Dagenais discusses the importance of bringing all Baltimoreans to the table — particularly those with limited access to opportunity — to achieve lasting, positive change.