Progress is Inherently Disruptive

Dear Colleagues,

Stories have power. That’s why those with control over the dominant culture have consistently, relentlessly, deployed inaccurate terms, phrases, and rhetoric to undermine progress and success toward racial and gender equity and justice.

The impact of their strategies is heartbreaking. It’s the testimony of a nine-year-old girl in the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd. It’s the news last Saturday of a Tulum, Mex. police officer kneeling on the spinal cord of Victoria Esperanza Salazar Arriaza, killing her as she cried out for mercy — just days before Mexico was to serve as kick-off host for the UN’s Generation Equality Forum. The tragedy highlights the discrepancy between Mexico’s talk of women’s rights and its domestic violence record that includes an average of 10 women killed every day in 2020.

This week I also wrapped up service as a Mayoral appointee to my community’s policing review commission, which after 74 meetings, two public hearings with hundreds of residents’ testimony, and countless number of hours researching and investigation, concluded with recommendations that were a far cry from the demands of last year’s Black Lives Matter civil rights protests.

Progress is inherently disruptive. Experiencing the disruption (even if in our favor) can be highly uncomfortable, even terrifying. Status quo supporters exploit our basic human need for anchoring during turbulent times by responding quickly with stories that help us make sense of hard truths and unconscionable loss.

You have stories too. You’ve gathered the data, you’ve surfaced trends, you’ve pioneered new practices. You are also in unique positions to match data to your community’s lived experience. Your stories not only create clarity and conviction about what needs to be done, but they also help everyday people see themselves as powerful and moored to the narrative.

That’s why we’re excited to honor your requests for WFN to create a narrative infrastructure that centers your leadership in making sense of the collective trauma we’ve endured, deepens the imperative and urgency of the moment, and that ensures as we change the world. We are also ready to rapidly deploy as effective and trustworthy guides of the new world that emerges.

As a start, we hope you join us this Wednesday, April 7th at 1:30 p.m. EST for our next Economic Justice Speaker Series, where our speakers will share their deep expertise and expansive vision for how stories, culture, and transformative narratives can catalyze social change, build towards equitable policies, and create narratives where all communities see themselves reflected.

In solidarity,

Elizabeth Signature

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

Influence and Amplification Letters from Elizabeth