Too frequently, we see anti-Black racism and systems of white supremacy oppressing and inflicting violence upon Black lives. If it wasn’t clear enough before, the explosive growth of racist, anti-democratic, and militarized policing and carceral systems are on full display in Black communities across the country. They must be stopped. This violence counteracts our shared vision of a society where Black, Indigenous, and other people of color have the power to make a difference on issues that directly affect their everyday lives. FCCP firmly and unequivocally believes that Black lives matter.
For months we’ve seen how our structural inequities have led to disparate impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color, and the resulting increase in racial economic inequality. And last week we saw the tragic murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. We honor the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Dreasjon “Sean” Reed, Tony McDade, and the countless other victims of state violence, who deserve justice and a society that demonstrates that Black lives matter.
As a community of civic participation funders, we know that this justice cannot be achieved without acts of resistance and civic participation. We support the protests taking place across the country and recognize these demonstrations as critical elements of our democracy. The importance of exercising and protecting these First Amendment rights have been painfully underscored this week as those in power seek to threaten or silence them. The activists are not only exercising their voices, but are also building community power, by and for communities of color, to impart real change.
The further dismantling of white supremacy will also come as communities can be counted, fairly represented, and vote for government officials who they can hold accountable to create policies, laws, and practices that protect people of color and rectify centuries of inequality.
As a civic participation funder network, we recognize the role and responsibility philanthropy has in either perpetuating or dismantling systems of oppression. We must call on each other to fight white supremacy and support racial justice and equity through civic engagement funding and sharing of power. This includes directly funding and centering BIPOC-led organizations, providing flexibility and extra support for your grantees as they fight for their communities, and funding systems change work.
The events of this year have further exposed the substantial work ahead of us to dismantle 400 years of oppression in this country. We must respond to this moment with courage and conviction that shows up in changed approaches. We cannot stop now. We must hold ourselves accountable and support these movements in unparalleled ways to create an authentically equitable society.
Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett, FCCP Co-Chair
Steven Cole-Schwartz, FCCP Co-Chair
FCCP and Advisory Board Members
Learn more with these resources being shared by our philanthropic partners:
- Dear Philanthropy: These Are the Fires of Anti-Black Racism — by Will Cordery of Leverage Philanthropic Partners LLC & Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice
- Solidarity, resources, and calls to action from Headwaters Staff — by Headwaters Foundation for Justice (Minneapolis, MN)
- Statements on the death of George Floyd from MCF, Members, and Allies — by Minneapolis Council on Foundations