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Above the Fold, July 24

@chara_stagram_ via Twenty20

Dear Colleagues,

This past week, a men’s rights advocate shot Ester Salas’ spouse and killed her son, in a failed attempt to assassinate the federal judge at her New Jersey home. This is only the latest of violent attacks on women by men who blame their personal failings and struggles on feminism. But we would be remiss to focus only on the misogynistic motivation for the deadly assault.

Judge Salas’ would-be assassin called her a “lazy and incompetent Latina judge appointed by Obama.” His writings are riddled with vitriolic rants that demonstrate the dangerous intersection of sexism and racism. Sadly, wherever we find sexism, racism will also be present. Why? Because these deadly fruits sprout from the same tree rooted in oppressive structural power. 

Systemic racism and sexism can not be dismantled separately, rather, must be addressed through an intersectional strategy that includes remembering and acknowledging the history of racism within the movements for women’s rights.

We know that white women leaders of the suffrage movement traded the rights of women of color in exchange for their own right to vote. White supremacy and homophobia are also well documented in the second wave of feminism. That legacy is with us to this day — making our role as funders for the movement for gender and racial equity and justice all the more vital. Together, we can intentionally uproot whatever vestiges of racism remain in our movement, our organizations, and in ourselves.

Thank you for joining us, and for having the courage to learn from our past to create meaningful impact and sustainable structural change for all. Our network has the power and opportunity to lead the way – both by stepping up to serve in this critical moment and by working to shift oppressive power dynamics that keep harmful systems in place. 

Together, I’m confident that we can hold each other up, hold each other accountable, while also holding the highest standards for partnership and mutual respect.

Yours for equity and justice,

Elizabeth Barajas-Román
Women’s Funding Network 
President & CEO

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Influence and Amplification Letters from Elizabeth

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