January 5, 2015

A Pivotal Moment for Racial Justice

Eric Ward, Program Officer of Ford Foundation's Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice program, reflects on emerging opportunities for the racial organizing movement. 

This post originally appeared on Ford Foundation’s Equals Change Blog, which you can find here.

On December 3, a New York grand jury announced that no indictment would be delivered in the police killing of Eric Garner. Following the grand jury decision not to indict the police officer who shot another unarmed black man, Michael Brown, in Ferguson, Missouri in August, this news set off protests across the country. But these deaths weren’t isolated incidents: On November 22 in Cleveland, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot by police who mistook his toy gun for a real one; on December 2 in Phoenix, police shot Rumain Brisbon when they thought he was grasping for a weapon instead of the medication he was actually reaching for. And on December 8, 22-year-old Cedric Bartee was shot by police officers in Florida. Witnesses report that Bartee had his hands up at the time of the shooting.

While the relentless pace and intensity of this violence can leave us feeling discouraged and hopeless, there is room for significant optimism. We are in a pivotal moment, one filled with opportunity for the racial justice field. In ways we haven’t seen before, these killings are being brought to public attention and generating significant outcry. Cultural figures including country star Garth Brooks, comedian Chris Rock and players from the St. Louis Rams and Brooklyn Nets are making public statements in opposition to police violence, making the issue increasingly hard to ignore. We’re seeing broad-based coalitions coalesce around racism targeting blacks. And we’re seeing emerging leadership that is young, multiracial and national in scope, exercising tactics and strategies that are grounded in a deep analysis of systemic racism and prioritize people-centered democracy.

In this movement, there is no single charismatic leader and no single anchor institution. National organizations are not driving the agenda but instead playing support roles that amplify on-the-ground organizing. By creating social tension through non-violent direct actions (mainly targeting commerce and transportation), young leaders have effectively nationalized the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Their incredible energy has produced significant of pressure that has compelled the White House and the Department of Justice to announce federal changes to policing practices, the creation of a commission to study police violence, and federal review of racial profiling guidelines. As I write, protests have entered their 124th consecutive day.

Now is a moment where each of us should seriously consider what role we play in supporting these emerging leaders and their growing network. The Neighborhood Funders Group has launched a new tool for philanthropists and others looking for more information and ways to engage in this movement moment. (You can learn more by visiting Funders for Justice.) The site serves as a virtual information hub to help philanthropists and donors support efforts in Ferguson, related organizing across the country and community-based efforts to strengthen inclusive democracy. The new online space includes news and events, opportunities for funders and analysis, case studies and reports.

What’s happening today is an Ella Baker moment. Baker was a leading civil rights strategist committed to youth-centered local action as a means of change. Her commitment to non-violent direct action, locally organized, provided the momentum that was needed to nationalize the 1960s civil rights movement in the South. Like Ella, this emerging leadership is also conceptualizing an inclusive democracy—one that is people-centered, locally supported, transparent and accountable. They need and deserve our support.

December 10, 2018

Welcome to the new NFG website!

Thank you for visiting Neighborhood Funders Group's new website! We've completely redesigned and improved how it works to make it easier than ever for our members to use as an online resource.

We're currently in soft launch mode before we publicly announce the new site in 2019, so thanks for taking an initial sneak peek! Please excuse our digital dust as we finish testing all of the features of our new website. You can find a temporary archive of our old site at old.nfg.org.

What new features can you find on the site?

  • Search the entire website for news, events, and resources using the search bar at the top of every page
  • See where all of the members of our national network are based, right on our member map 
  • Discover more related content, tagged by topic and format, at the bottom of every page
  • Look up NFG member organizations in our member directory
  • Log in to view individual contacts in the member directory and register for events in the future

If your organization is an NFG member, first check to see if your account has already been created for you. Click "Forgot Password" on the log in page and try entering your work email address to activate your account and set your password.

Let us know at support@nfg.org if you come across any issues logging in, or anywhere else on the site. Stay tuned for our official launch announcement, and thanks for visiting!

Find More By:

News type: 
January 22, 2019

Welcome Faron McLurkin, Sr. Program Manager of the Integrated Rural Strategies Group

Faron McLurkinFaron McLurkin has joined NFG’s staff as the Senior Program Manager for the Integrated Rural Strategies Group (IRSG), which brings together funders working to build long-term support for rural organizing infrastructure that centers values of racial justice and builds sustainable power in rural communities. 

Faron was a founding member of IRSG in his former role as Program Officer at the Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock (Veatch). During his time at Veatch, Faron oversaw its New York state and Environmental Justice portfolios. He has also served as the Executive Director of the Center for Third World Organizing, one of the oldest racial justice organizations in the country, and as a national organizing director for several unions.

In his new role leading IRSG, Faron will utilize his background in political education, philanthropic grantmaking, and organizing for social change to help drive the growth and advancement of the group’s programming. His focus will include developing programming for funder audiences to promote rural organizing opportunities; creating vehicles for moving resources to support rural communities; and identifying grantmaking strategies, grantees, and partners in the field to inform this group’s work.

To learn more about IRSG and how to get involved, get in touch with Faron at faron@nfg.org
 

Find More By:

News type: