Outrage Over Garner and Brown Cases Should Keep Philanthropy Focused on Criminal Justice

By Vincent Stehle, The Chronicle of Philanthropy. December 17, 2014

The streets of Ferguson, Mo., New York City, and many other cities across the nation have been overflowing with protests for the past month in reaction to grand-jury decisions not to indict police officers responsible for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

The anger and frustration many people feel over those deaths and many others involving the excessive use of force by police is understandable, particularly when it comes to encounters with African-American men and boys. ProPublica, an investigative journalism organization, recently reported that young black males are 21 times more likely than their white counterparts to be shot dead by police, based on an analysis of 1,217 deadly U.S. police shootings from 2010 to 2012.

The problem of police brutality aimed at blacks has been with us for a long time. What’s different today is the prevalence of cameras—an important factor identified by the international human-rights group Witness, which offers guidance to rights advocates and citizens on how to acquire evidence of abuse. Increasingly, video evidence of unjustified and excessive use of deadly force coupled with viral dissemination of such evidence via social media has led to a new movement to demand that police acknowledge a simple fact: Black lives matter.

Read the full article.

February 12, 2019

FFJ Advisor Discussion Series: Marisa Franco

Marisa Franco, FFJ Field Advisor and Director and Co-founder of of Mijente, a digital and grassroots hub for Latinx and Chicanx organizing and movement building, speaks on the current political moment and how funders can contribute to movement work.

Tell us about the particular moment you are in with your work and place in the movement.

Entering into our fourth year, we are doing our best to be a vehicle to both respond to the real-time challenges our communities face and a place to find respite, connection, and replenished meaning. Given what the Latinx and Chicanx community faces, we’ve got to walk and chew gum at the same time (and hop on one leg, juggle, and balance something on our head!) but we believe that through the continued growth where organizers, healers, change-makers, designers, and disrupters feel Mijente is a place to meaningfully contribute to collective liberation means we are going in the right direction. It is my view that our most critical task at this time is growth and recruitment - millions of people are becoming exposed to the injustice and summarily wrong direction we are heading in - our organizations must be open and accessible entry points for people to contribute to moving us in the right direction.

How do you understand the political moment that we’re in? What do you think we need to do differently right now?

Ultimately I think that lots of what we reference as threats that are coming are largely here - crisis as a result of climate change is here, it’s being felt across the planet. The extreme backlash and attempt to re-entrench power due to demographic change is here, occurring in localities across the United States. Authoritarianism is a growing threat beyond Donald Trump and within the domestic United States. Given all of this, at the very least I think it’s critical we start to widen our panorama of political understanding to include outside of the United States and make the connections internationally. Rest assured, our adversaries are in coordination - we ignore our movement siblings and the struggle outside of the United States to our own detriment.

What should funders be understanding in this political moment? What should funders be doing to support organizations and movements?

What’s important to understand in this political moment is how the volatility impacts the plans, perspective, and morale of people in organizations and social movements. It has become more and more difficult to lay out plans that feel real given how normal it's become for so much to turn upside down pretty regularly. Some understanding and support of this from funders, particularly when it means proposed work is not carried out in the way it was initially described, is very helpful.

Continued support for rapid response tactics is critical, as well as funds that help convene key groups and/or leaders in this time goes a long way. In times like these, those that are able to adapt and move quickly are well positioned to make impactful changes. These folks have got to be able to do so with enough support and not too many hurdles, hoops, and paper to be able to move. So some of these existing practices around simplifying processes, making funds available for rapid response activities, and pop up convenings is something that has been helpful thus far and is important to continue.

December 10, 2018

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