We’re In This Together

Tyler Merbler, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dear Colleagues,

Wednesday started as a day ripe with hope, as we celebrated Grassroots organizers who campaigned on issues like reproductive justice, voting rights, health care, economic equality and criminal justice/policing reforms, register and mobilize Black and brown voters as well as young people and working families, to elect Georgia’s first Black and first Jewish U.S. senators.

Joy soon gave way to uncertainty, fear, anger and despair as we watched a sitting U.S. president whip an armed and dangerous crowd into a frenzy before directing them to storm the U.S. Capitol — in an audacious attempt to overthrow the government. We watched law enforcement officers unwilling to act and/or plainly abetting the dangerous mob. We even watched as some police officers paused to take selfies with the insurrectionists; all while the armed insurgents terrorized members of Congress, threatening violence and endangering lives. The House and the Senate came to a standstill, delayed from exercising their sacred duty to uphold the will of the voters and advance the peaceful transition of power. 

January 6th made crystal clear the double standard in policing, shining a bright light on the many ways racism is foundational in the U.S. It was a watershed moment, the kind that tests the very foundation of a democratic republic; the kind that must make us question the institutions we cherish. The aftermath of the attempted coup is a sobering reality that must serve as a wake-up call — not only to address the racism in the criminal justice system but also to examine the racism and sexism in all systems throughout society, including philanthropy. 

In 2021, our collective work continues to be guided by this network’s shared aspirations to take action to directly address and dismantle racism and sexism. Working from within philanthropy to deconstruct the systems that reinforce inequity, racism and sexism and creating a new vision for philanthropy that builds equity and justice. Our work together to promote participatory funding models, women’s economic mobility, and rapidly responds to the pandemic and COVID-adjacent crises is foundational to dismantling systems of oppression inside-out.

Onward, colleagues and friends. Your work is the beacon of hope not just for “building back better” but for actually building a world by and for the people in 2021 and beyond.

Yours for equity and justice,

Elizabeth Signature

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

Letters from Elizabeth