Many of us have heavy hearts from the events of the last weeks and months, watching the lives of people of color be snuffed out by racial violence and the disproportionate impact of a relentless virus.
I want to reach out to our members of color to offer our solidarity and support, and our commitment to continue the work we have begun on racial equity. We clearly live in a world that is broken, and its sharp edges predominantly scar those whose skin pigments are darker than mine.
In some ways, the pandemic, and the release of videos of racial injustice, are lightening strikes in the midst of a devastating storm. They shine light on generations of accumulated damage, a legacy of racism that affects the health and well-being and hope of our colleagues, neighbors and friends.
As we move forward in supporting our communities in this pandemic and come together to build “A New Better,” we need to continue to center the work of racial equity, and learn to be better allies and partners in the work of dismantling perspectives, practices and structures that perpetuate harm against communities and individuals of color.
For those looking for tangible, positive opportunities to respond, we will be sharing recommended reading, but for now, I wanted to highlight Ibram Kendi’s book, How to Be an Anti-Racist, and two articles, “75 Things A White Person Can Do For Racial Justice,” and “Your Black Colleagues May Look Like They’re Okay — Chances Are They’re Not.”
If you are a GCRI member, please also plan on joining us next Thursday, June 4 from 2:00-4:00pm for a timely session on “Investing in Equity in Grantee Organizations During the Pandemic and Beyond” to learn more about how to support nonprofit leaders of color, and to advance intersectional racial equity in our work. Register
This is just a piece of much larger work that is needed, internally in our own organizations, externally in our grantmaking, and community-wide in our state and nation.
I’m grateful for the ways that you all have partnered in supporting our communities through this pandemic, and your continued commitment gives me hope that we can, in partnership with nonprofits, community members and the public sector, indeed build a “New Better” that advances racial equity and healing, and creates a Rhode Island where everyone can thrive.