It’s been two weeks since the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Since then, we have seen protests around the country demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and the many victims of police brutality. At Building Movement Project, we remain committed to the struggle for racial justice and ending anti-Black racism. Since our founding two decades ago, BMP has been grounded in the understanding that systemic and institutional transformation requires action from all of us.
Our research on race and leadership, our on-the-ground work in Detroit and New Mexico, and our documentation and facilitation – via SolidarityIs – of cross-racial and cross-movement coalition-building demonstrates that the current protests and calls for justice are not happening in a vacuum. The current pandemic has further exposed the deep structural inequalities and anti-Black racism within our systems, institutions, and policies. As a nation, we have an opportunity now to squarely address these inequities and make our post-COVID-19 society a far different one.
As a nonprofit sector, we must also be mindful that social change organizations are under tremendous strain right now. People-of-color led organizations in particular were already navigating the COVID-19 crisis and adapting their programs to meet the unprecedented needs in their communities. Now, many of these same organizations are mobilizing and supporting campaigns to defund the police and reinvest in community-centered services. It is vital that the foundations increase funding and support to community-based and POC-led nonprofits as they respond to the coronavirus crisis while also participating in and leading racial justice efforts.
Here are three action items that nonprofits, funders, and other stakeholders can take:
1. Support calls for justice by making a solidarity statement aligned with your organization’s values and commitments to end anti-Black racism.
- The Movement for Black Lives Policy Platforms
- “America, This is Your Chance” by Michelle Alexander (The New York Times, 2020)
2. Support nonprofit leaders of color and Black staff who may be responding to the current moment by working hard to meet their community’s needs while also managing personal pain during this crisis.
- “Supporting Black Staff In Times of Crisis: What Managers and Organizational Leaders Can Do To Support Black Lives” by Bryan Celotto (LinkedIn Pulse, 2020)
3. Support nonprofits on the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis and racial justice through multi-year, unrestricted funding.
- The Case for Funding Black-Led Social Change by Susan Taylor Batten and Nat Chioke Williams, PhD (Black Social Change Funders Network, 2017)