As I was reflecting on this post, I came across a poem by Diane Ackerman in Tara Brach’s book “True Refuge.” The poem, “School Prayer,” includes this stanza:
I swear I will not dishonor
My soul with hatred,
But offer myself humbly
As a guardian of nature,
As a healer of misery,
As a messenger of wonder,
As an architect of peace.
To all my friends and colleagues in the social sector, to all those we are privileged to work with, this is you—this is us. Even in a time of outrages, perhaps especially in such a time, the work remains the work—to be guardians of nature, healers of misery, messengers of wonder, and architects of peace.
That is our most daunting challenge right now but also our greatest calling: Not to lose heart, not to succumb, not to fall silent, but to continue through our work to manifest love as the only known antidote to hate.
Many of us have been disheartened with the re-emergence of divisive and racist language in the national discourse recently.
It is vitally important that philanthropy push back against language that insinuates that immigrants and people of color somehow don’t belong in our communities and civic life. We want GCRI to be a safe place for Rhode Islanders in philanthropy to bring their best selves, without fear, and we know that immigrants and people of color bring invaluable experience, expertise and wisdom to our collective work.
If you are an immigrant or person of color, please know that we support you during this difficult time. Please reach out to immigrants and people of color in your workplaces, networks and neighborhoods, to let them know your support and care.
In addition, this is an important to reaffirm your values as an organization and step forward to lead our communities and conversations forward in ways that demonstrate respect, compassion, collaboration and solidarity.
As Jim Canales of the Barr Foundation stated, “We must boldly proclaim the values that unite us, drive us, and bind us to our work of higher mission and purpose. As exhausting and dispiriting as it is to find ourselves at such a moment again, we must persevere. And, as we do, the circle of voices carrying this message of resolve and of hope grows larger and stronger, the best of who we are is manifest again.”
Here are some foundations that have taken this opportunity to step forward and share their guiding values and principles: