In the weeks since George Floyd’s death, there has been a collective call not only for justice, but also for philanthropy to resource systemic change by supporting organizations that are taking real steps to end the undeniable racism and injustice baked into our society that defines Black lives as expendable.
Just as we’ve seen Black women mayors across the country rise to national prominence and gain widespread praise for leading with the courage, integrity and strength required to meet the dual crises of this moment in their cities, women-led funders have the strategies and community-based knowledge to lead the fight for equity and justice in their communities. There is no gender justice without racial justice.
This month, we observe Juneteenth (short for “June Nineteenth”), a holiday dating back to 1865, which marked the day that news of the end of slavery was delivered to enslaved people in Texas — more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. This day historically has served the dual purpose of celebrating emancipation but also demanding accountability for historical and present wrongs. As we well know, there are many wrongs still standing in the way of true emancipation for all people.
Women’s funds are mobilizing to advance community-based solutions to these historical and present wrongs across the U.S. As system change institutions, our members multiply every size gift 10-times primarily by supporting women of color-led organizations that are mapping an inclusive economy built on racial and gender equity and justice. The only way to end the cycle of government violence against Black people is to act not just on this day, but every single day.
June is also LGBTQ Pride Month, a celebration with roots not dissimilar to the current uprisings against police violence. Fifty-one years ago, trans women of color and queer people rose up together against a police raid of the Stonewall Inn in New York City, demanding an end to the violence and harassment that law enforcement inflicted with impunity against the LGBTQ community. We honor the courage and strength of those who have fought in the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ equality. At the same time, we condemn continued injustices against the queer community, especially the violence against trans women of color, whose stories are too often erased, ignored or pushed aside. We cannot have gender equality until people of all gender identities, gender expressions are sexual orientations are emancipated from the oppression and violence of misogyny, homophobia and transphobia.
I truly believe the world is on the precipice of change. In what feels like our darkest hour, we see rays of hope and the promise of a brighter future in response to the massive resistance against oppression. As women’s funds, foundations and gender justice funders, we vow to continue our work to get resources to the movements and organizations demanding a world free from the institutions and violence rooted in racism and sexism.
Yours for equity and justice,
Women’s Funding Network
President & CEO