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“We Must be in It for the Long Haul” Black Foundation Executives Request Action by Philanthropy on Anti-Black Racism

“We are managing a pandemic within a pandemic. Police brutality is a scourge, it is a pandemic. The pre-existing condition before COVID, and it still exists, is racism.” — Representative Ayanna Pressley

While COVID-19 is novel as a virus, the pestilence of anti-Black racism that dictates its disproportionate impact on Black communities is centuries old.

Few things drive this point home more poignantly than the massive protests sparked by the recent killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade at the hands of the police and white vigilantes. The inability to breathe of those stricken with COVID-19 and George Floyd’s last breaths being stolen from him by a white police officer’s knee on his neck are profoundly painful symbols of the intersecting threats to Black life caused by the ubiquitous plague of anti-Black racism.

For several weeks ABFE worked with over 40 Black Philanthropic CEOs in the US, including Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands, to craft a set of imperatives for ensuring the well-being of Black communities to guide the philanthropic community’s response to the COVID-19 crisis.

As we set to release our statement, the country erupted in righteous rage at the brutal murder of George Floyd and the demand to defend Black lives from state sanctioned violence.  As the Black community struggles to manage these overlapping pandemics, we challenge philanthropy to be bold and be inspired by the courage of the protestors who are risking their well-being for the sake of defending Black lives.                 

Our long-term goal is to free Black people from disparate treatment that result in the racial disparities we see in COVID-19, police brutality and on almost every indicator of well-being.  To get there, we must dismantle the structures (institutional policies and practices) that disadvantage and marginalize Black people as well as the false narratives about Black communities that allow for continued inhumane treatment. This will lead to stronger Black communities.

Philanthropy has a critical role to play and must step forward. In addition, a more robust partnership moving forward between philanthropy, government, businesses and Black communities is needed to address immediate needs and opportunities (targeted COVID-19 relief and police reform); as well as the longer-term strategies to address racial inequity.  We need deep, transformative institutional change in this country; foundations and donors that support Black communities, in addition to those from other sectors (government, business, etc.) must commit to and deploy an equity analysis to investments moving forward. This is a marathon, not a sprint and all of us in philanthropy must be in it for the long haul.

Our imperatives for the philanthropic sector are follow… PLEASE, press the next link to read the full document. KEEP READING.

NOTE | The bullet number 9 talk about Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands | This document was circulated by ABFE.

Photo by Nicola Fioravanti on Unsplash

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