A Call to Funders to Fund the Struggle Against Anti-Black Racism

By: Funders for LGBTQ Issues Staff on June 3, 2020

For the past week, the Funders for LGBTQ staff has been reeling at the anti-Black murders of George Floyd and Tony McDade at the hands of police. Our organizational statements are often collaborative efforts, but this statement in particular was written through a thoughtful, collaborative process, with nearly everyone on our multi-racial team of 11 staff contributing in some way.

 

The entire team at Funders for LGBTQ Issues stands in solidarity with the national uprising against the ongoing pandemic of anti-Black racism and police brutality.

The last few months, our team has worked to adjust to a new normal in our personal and professional lives, as COVID-19 has changed the world around us and further laid bare the systems of inequity that have built our country and sector. While the path forward largely remains unclear, we have been reminded that there are two pandemics plaguing us, one as defined by the World Health Organization and the other by centuries of systemic racism rooted in anti-Blackness. The time to act is now.

As an organization dedicated to LGBTQ liberation and racial, economic, and gender justice, the entire Funders for LGBTQ Issues team joins millions around the world in outrage at the ongoing pandemic of anti-Black racism and police brutality in this country. The tragic murders of George Floyd in Minnesota; Tony McDade in Florida; Nina Pop in Missouri; Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia; Breonna Taylor in Kentucky; and countless others–many by the hands and weapons of police officers–are part of a long legacy of systemic racism and white supremacy.

While the LGBTQ movement has indeed won important victories for our community, the fight for LGBTQ liberation will not be won until all LGBTQ people are free. The white-supremacist and militarized violence that continues to terrorize Black and indigenous people of color, particularly queer Black people and Black trans women, is one of the greatest challenges facing our movement at this time. The LGBTQ movement owes much to transgender people of color who resisted police violence. Fifty-one years ago, the Stonewall Riots ushered in the modern LGBTQ movement as a response to police harassment. Resisting police brutality is at the very root of the movement for LGBTQ rights, and we stand with the powerful protesters and movement leaders and their demands to Defend Black Lives.

Our mission is to mobilize philanthropy to do more for LGBTQ communities in a way that is aligned with our racial, economic, and gender justice values. We are a multi-racial organization with staff in New York, California, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. As individuals, we carry our own experiences of and relationship to race, class, and gender. We come to this work with different relationships to white supremacy and state violence. Like our members around the nation, we are finding ways to attend to the immediate needs of our neighbors and seek solutions rooted in the needs of our own communities. Our work to transform philanthropy does not happen outside of our everyday lives, and we know that we cannot do this work if we do not first take care of ourselves and each other and also confront white supremacy in our lives and our institutions.

As a network, we strive to support our community of members – individuals and institutions – to do this work. We are working in partnership with our members to increase support for Black-led movements, especially work led by and for Black trans and queer communities. Through our Out in the South Initiative, we will continue to work in partnership with Grantmakers for Southern Progress and  Black Southern movement leaders on a coordinated campaign to call funders to fund grassroots organizations led by Black, brown, immigrant, LGBTQ, low-income, and rural people across the U.S. South. Through our Grantmakers United for Trans Communities (GUTC) Initiative, we will continue to support Black trans leaders in philanthropy and to mobilize more resources for Black trans communities. We will work to increase opportunities for Black movement leaders to share their expertise and knowledge with funders. We will bring together our white colleagues for political education and anti-racist action. We will partner with our sister affinity groups, particularly in the CHANGE Philanthropy coalition, to share power and demand true racial justice in philanthropy.

For those funders and donors in our network looking for ways to give in response to the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and white supremacy, we encourage you to reach out to us and our sister affinity groups in the CHANGE Philanthropy network. We also offer these resources:

Funders are in the unique position of controlling access to resources. Now is the time to use that power to move more resources in support of this movement moment, in support of communities rising up against the centuries-long legacy of white supremacy, anti-Black violence, and police brutality. Let’s work together beyond this movement moment to fund long-term in work led by and for Black communities, particularly Black trans and queer communities–the communities who are most affected by these dual pandemics and who have the wisdom and experience to build a world that is more just and free.


Editor’s Note: After the publication of this statement we realized that Ahmaud Arbery’s name was misspelled in our original post. We deeply regret this error and reaffirm our commitment to saying their names. We are firmly against the erasure and invisibilizing – intentional or unintentional – of those who have been taken from us and apologize for the error.

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