Almost a year ago, I gave the keynote at the Classy Collaborative. My talk was supposed to be on tactical ways to pivot your fundraising strategy in the light of COVID-19.
But, I had much more to say that I felt needed to be said. The full transcript of my talk is here.
A quick excerpt:
“What I do know is that in order to move forward, we can’t pretend we haven’t witnessed all of these horrors.
Trust me, there are many institutions that would love to just sweep it all under the rug and ‘move on’.
Can we honestly have a future-leaning conversation about philanthropy and fundraising without questioning what we’ve seen with our own eyes?
Without questioning whether or not we are part of the problems that we attempt to solve?”
This talk was given on June 9, 2020 in light of George Floyd’s murder and the increased calls for racial justice that followed.
In just the past eleven days alone, the world has witnessed not only the Chauvin trial, but also the murders of Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, eight FedEx employees (including four individuals of Sikh descent), and Ma’Kiah Bryant.
When the Chauvin verdict came in, I was both completely shocked, and relieved. I can only speak to my personal lived experience, and can’t imagine what people of color and Black communities were experiencing.
This led me to think about us as a sector. How do we talk about this conviction? How do we address the rampant, incessant murders of BIPOC people?
The question isn’t IF we should speak up — it’s HOW.
Strongly, with conviction.
You don’t have to have all, or any, of the answers. Being willing to get uncomfortable is a step.
To help you, I’d like to share a video. Brené Brown explains what privilege is and why it matters in the context of speaking out.
If you’re shying away from tough conversations about injustice and inequality, she walks you through the ways to start.
I do know this — white people need to step up.
Marginalized and racialized people are feeling drained and exhausted, and it’s time for white leaders with privilege, platforms, and influence to do the work. (Please take a moment to read Vu Le’s latest post on this subject.)
You don’t have to have a list of custom-ready checklist “solutions” to the problems you are calling out.
Liz LeClair sheds light on this is her great piece called “A sea change is coming…”
“Some people have said to me, instead of criticizing provide some solutions. The solutions I am looking for are not simple steps that can be crossed off a list. The solutions I would suggest involved making everyone, including our donors, very uncomfortable. The solutions I would suggest involved white privileged fundraisers stepping up, speaking out, and being okay with being uncomfortable.”
How are you speaking out about issues of racial injustice and inequity? What have you learned? What will you take with you?
I’d love to hear your experiences.
Thanks for reading, and keeping doing the amazing work you were meant to do.