Support Minneapolis Protesters

Last updated December 2, 201. Please check back regularly for updates.

DONATE to Black Lives Matter Minneapolis: Please donate to help support their efforts with bail, legal support, and other supplies.

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November 27, 2015

Dear Community,

In the past 10 days Minneapolis has experienced horrific acts of violence, first with the shooting of Jamar Clark, a 24 year old unarmed black man, who was killed by the Minneapolis police just over a week ago. Then, on Monday night, in the wake of an ongoing peaceful occupation demanding justice for Jamar Clark outside of Minneapolis’ 4th Police Precinct, white supremacists shot at peaceful protesters, injuring five protesters. This is an incredibly traumatic time for our city and especially for the lead organizers/organizations who have been strategically organizing around the clock for the past 10 days.

Many of you have asked how you can help. Thank you. Please read on about what support is most urgently needed.

Headwaters is proud to continue to stand with our grantee partners, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis— leading the efforts to maintain a peaceful 24-7 occupation, organizing marches, events, and meeting with policy makers from the Governor to the Department of Justice. Organizing alongside them, is our grantee partner, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC)—the NOC office has been used as the organizing hub and meeting space for BLM-MPLS, offering a safe space for meetings, press conferences, healing, warmth, electricity, covering printing costs, access to the internet, and more. Both groups are working together to demand justice for the killing of Jamar Clark and to address some of the worst-in-the-nation disparities between African Americans and whites. Their fight is not just for one man, but for the thousands of black and brown people who unjustifiably die at the hands of law enforcement and as a result of our broken systems. Protestors have responded with courage and love. In response to the shootings on Monday night, over 2,000 people joined together to march for justice and peace from North Minneapolis to City Hall in downtown Minneapolis.

We’ve spoken with Black Lives Matter Minneapolis and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change about their immediate needs. We know there will be short and long term needs to sustain and grow this work, but we want to let you know about ways you can help right now. We think of this as “rapid emergency response” for social justice organizing.

Current Needs:

Harriet’s Apothecary Healers
Covers costs, including, travel and lodging, to bring several nationally renowned Black healers to work with our community.
Cost Estimate: $10,000

Material Needs to support on-going organizing:
Food, flyers, pens/paper, clipboards, email access, phones, non-violent direct action training, funeral costs, transportation costs.
Cost Estimate: $20,000

Stipends to Organizers-in-Need:
Hourly compensation for community members (without a financial safety net) now serving as organizations.
Cost: $8,000

Because we see this as “rapid emergency response” social justice funding, we advise you to send donations directly to Black Lives Matter, noting “Emergency Response-Social Justice Organizing” in the comment field so funds can be directed accordingly.

If donations require a 501 c3, please make donations to Headwaters Foundation for Justice, noting “Emergency Response-Social Justice Organizing” in the comment field so all funds can be directed accordingly.

Please feel free to call my cell phone with any questions, 612-822-8966.

We all have a role to play.

“We want them to stop killing us. We have rung the bells loud. We are not going to take this anymore.” Lena Gardner, member of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.

Headwaters’ Giving Project participant and donor-activist Emma Buechs recently wrote from the 4th Police Precinct:  In these moments of fear and violence I am so grateful for the power of community, for the strength in hope, for the energy of song and dance and drums, for the smart and persistent organizing of @blacklivesmattermpls, and for the belief that we can and will win, that we can create a system not ruled by white supremacy, that we can be liberated if we all stand together.

With deep appreciation, and in solidarity,

David Nicholson
Executive Director
Headwaters Foundation for Justice

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November 23, 2015

Headwater Foundation Statement in Support of Minneapolis Protesters

Dear Funders for Justice Colleagues,

In the past several weeks, we have all seen violence and fear rock our cities, our nation, and the global community.

In my own city of Minneapolis, early Sunday morning police shot Jamar Clark, a 24 year old unarmed black man. While we might not yet know all the specifics surrounding the killing of Jamar, what we do know is that this is an all too familiar occurrence in our nation.

From Ferguson to Baltimore to New York and everywhere in between, our structures and systems are in urgent need of change. Race and racism are at the center of so many of our broken institutions: policing, health care, education, housing, and so many more.

At Headwaters, we fund groups organizing for justice and equity. Our grantees are in it for the long haul, and they are bending the arc of justice with each step they take whether through direct action or policy advocacy.

We are honored to stand with our grantee partner, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, and other organizations, such as the NAACP and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, as they courageously organize for #justice4jamar. Their fight is not just for one man, but for the thousands of black and brown people who unjustifiably die at the hands of law enforcement and as a result of our broken systems.

“We want them to stop killing us. We have rung the bells loud. We are not going to take this anymore.” Lena Gardner, member of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis.

Watch the videos, look at the photos, follow the work of Black Lives Matter Minneapolis, and contribute resources. We all have a role to play.

Late last night from the 4th police precinct in Minneapolis, Headwaters’ Giving Project participant and donor-activist Emma Buechs wrote: We are not leaving until our demands are met. In these moments of fear and violence I am so grateful for the power of community, for the strength in hope, for the energy of song and dance and drums, for the smart and persistent organizing of @blacklivesmattermpls, and for the belief that we can and will win, that we can create a system not ruled by white supremacy, that we can be liberated if we all stand together.

With deep appreciation, and in solidarity,

David Nicholson
Executive Director
Headwaters Foundation for Justice
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Press Release from Black Lives Matter Minneapolis:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 19, 2015

Black Lives Matter Minneapolis Calls for Civil Rights Investigation into Abuses of Peaceful Protesters

Community members vow to continue occupation of 4th precinct until video of the killing of Jamar Clark is released

A statement from Black Lives Matter Minneapolis:

Last night, community members showed incredible restraint in the face of militarized aggression during a time of painful mourning of the killing of Jamar Clark, an unarmed black man witnesses say was handcuffed and shot in the head “execution style”. We have, and will continue to call for Mayor Hodges and Chief Harteau to ask the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) and Department of Justice (DOJ) to immediately release the tapes of Jamar’s killing.

We demand an immediate end to the harassment of peaceful demonstrators, and call for civil rights investigation into police violence against protesters. Some of the egregious violations of civil rights documented last night include:

An officer punched a young woman in the face before macing a crowd of people
Police pointed potentially lethal weapons in the face of numerous peaceful protesters including Congressman Keith Ellison’s son.

Police maced scores of people including WCCO journalist and Northsider Reg Chapman.
Police shot a 14 year old child with a marker bullet.

At 2:45am Police advanced into camp, tore ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter banner down, & retreated behind the barricade again

Police made false claims that pepper spray was coming from protesters not them.
We understand the frustration of community members who may take actions not sanctioned by our group; this is a time of grief and rage and we remain committed to nonviolent direct action. As has always been the case, our members remained committed to peaceful protest even in the face of growing escalation.

We want to thank Council members Bender, Cano, Gordon, Andrew Johnson, Glidden, Rep. Dehn, and the hundreds of community members who joined us last night. However, we are disappointed in the actions of Mayor Hodges, Chief Harteau, Minneapolis City Council President Barb Johnson, and 4th precinct Council Member Blong Yang for their lack of commitment to the welfare of Black residents in Minneapolis and beyond.

This incident is receiving international press coverage because it is emblematic of the larger problem of a culture of policing in America where Black lives do not matter. We call on City council and city leadership to take dramatic and bold action to stop another shooting death of an unarmed Black person from happening.

Despite attacks on the protestors and community, we're still here and more determined than ever to get justice for Jamar, and to see the video footage of his killing. Please join us at 5:00pm today for an action as we continue the occupation at the 4th Precinct.

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Black Lives Matter Minneapolis is a group of Black and allied organizers in Minneapolis, Minn. working in solidarity with the national Black Lives Matter movement.

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DOJ: Protect Black Activists from White Vigilante Violence
“We Cannot Live without Our Lives”
—Audre Lorde, Black author, poet, activist, and academic
The Black Lives Matter Network stands in solidarity with the five members of the #BlackLivesMatter Minneapolis chapter that were shot on Monday night. All five are reportedly in stable condition. Protestors were shot as they attempted to move a group of apparently armed white men away from a peaceful protest over the fatal shooting of unarmed Black 24-year-old man Jamar Clark by a police officer.
While activists on the ground at the #4thPrecinctShutDown are shaken, they are not derailed in their efforts. They will remain at the scene, occupying the precinct, until justice for Jamar Clark and his family is served.
The war on Black lives is escalating, and it’s time for President Obama to intervene. The Black Lives Matter Network urgently calls upon the Department of Justice to investigate this shooting as a hate crime.
This shooting of Black activists by white vigilantes in Minneapolis is a symptom of a much larger problem—that while the homegrown domestic terrorism of white supremacists is alive and well in 2015, it too often lives in the shadows of media coverage dominated by the international terrorism of so-called religious extremists.
But, organized white American vigilantism too, is terrorism.
It is a terrifying kind of terrorism where the “radicalization” of white supremacists is allowed to grow in plain sight, erased by an invisibility cloak of media neglect, endorsed by politicians, egged on by online trolls, and entrenched by an anti-Black state and civil society.
When white males of the far right carry out violent attacks, they are typically described in media, and by neocons and Republicans, as independent actors, rather than members of well-organized terrorist movements. In fact, a recent study found that, despite Presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s desire to increase targeted surveillance of Black activists and Muslim communities, white supremacists are actually more dangerous to America than foreign terrorists. Most terrorist activity has come not from Muslims or from Black people, but from a combination of radical Christians, white supremacists, and far-right militia groups.
The Black Lives Matter Network also calls upon the Department of Justice to investigate the Minneapolis police department’s negligent and incompetent conduct in response to this crime. Instead of responding appropriately to secure the safety of protestors who had previously reported credible threats made by white supremacists, the concerns of protestors were ignored. Instead of immediately assisting those injured, Minneapolis police maced protestors who were attempting to record events as they occurred. Rather than take witness statements, Minneapolis police mocked the suffering of Black activists, insisting that by demanding answers in the fatal shooting of an unarmed Black teenager, protestors had brought the violence upon themselves. Blaming the targets of racist violence is an old trope, but one we must actively and wholeheartedly reject. Our right to organize in defense of Black lives is inherent and inalienable, and beyond the jurisdiction of any law enforcement or white hate group.
White vigilantism is a persistent threat that exists to uphold the war on Black lives, reinforce existing racial power dynamics as the status quo, and terrify Black people into silence. But we will not be silent in the face of this long-held extension of state violence.
We will continue the occupation of the 4th precinct. We will not be intimidated by white supremacy. We will not bow down to white vigilante terror. Just as our ancestors in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s sang, we ain’t gonna let white supremacy turn us around.
Not now, not ever.
We demand #Justice4Jamar, justice for the five victims of this racist hate crime, and all victims of police violence
September 3, 2019

Capitalism and Racism: Conjoined Twins

By Marjona Jones, Co-Chair of Funders for a Just Economy and Senior Program Officer at Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock

Marjona Jones speaking at a podium.

A few weeks ago, Democracy Now! aired a segment with Ibram X. Kendi, author and founding director of the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center at American University, where he discussed white supremacy, anti-racism, and the increase in mass shootings. What struck me about the segment was his illuminating statement about the origins of capitalism. Kendi views capitalism and racism as "conjoined twins" and that “…the origins of racism cannot be separated from the origins of capitalism… the life of capitalism cannot be separated from the life of racism.”

Kendi continued by discussing how the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade allowed for the massive accumulation of wealth in Europe and the Americas. Centuries of wage theft, trading in human bondage, insurance claims on "lost" cargo, and reparations for slave owners after emancipation entrenched this capitalist system with inequities based on race built into it. Slave owners protected their concentrated wealth by shaping our socio-economic and legal systems to benefit themselves and the industry of slavery, as well as limit democracy.

As I celebrate the worker movement’s victories on Labor Day this year, this segment and past conversations with grantees has triggered an important question for me: What does the notion that capitalism and racism are inextricably linked mean for our work as funders of racial and economic justice? Our grantee partners tell us how workers are implicated in the entangled web of these “conjoined twins” of racism and capitalism. Many worker-based organizations state that the best vehicle this country has in pursuit of economic justice is through organizing workers, but traditional labor hasn’t always been the best vehicle for racial justice. As Bill Fletcher Jr. and Fernando Gapasin discuss in Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice, while many unions integrated in the 1920s, some unionists decided to resist integration to ensure wins and job quality for white workers. These traditionalists understood the idea of “conjoined twins.”

Racial and economic justice movements have exposed exploitative and extractive practices within capitalism, making it less secure to accumulate wealth through those means. However, as Michelle Alexander points out in her book, The New Jim Crow, exposing capitalism for what it is forces it to transform and evolve. For example, following the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863, agriculture was still the main economic engine, and free exploited labor was needed for this industry to survive. Capitalism evolved while maintaining its racist and exploitative roots through policymakers passing the Black Codes of 1865 and 1866, making it easier to imprison recently freed slaves to continue that supply of free labor.

We are catching up to the fact that capitalism was never meant to work for everyone. What will the next evolution in capitalism bring as our movements fight even harder for racial and economic justice in the face of harm to workers and marginalized communities?

Funders for a Just Economy (FJE) has created an intentional space to begin discussing what these questions mean for our work and the grantees we support. Capitalism’s origin story is a critical part of analyzing how this system operates. By acknowledging the “conjoined twins,” we acknowledge the role of race and the legacy of slavery. FJE believes that there is a renewed opportunity to support a working-class movement that builds the power of all workers, especially Black, Trans and LGBQ workers, women, and immigrants—and lift their role as the main strategists to change the system. If we believe another world is possible, then so is another system that bakes in justice, equity, and respect.


  

Join FJE for these conversations and more at the upcoming Racial Capitalism, Power and Resistance event on October 17 & 18 in Brooklyn, NY. More information and registration link here.

Stay tuned for an upcoming Power Building Study Group for Neighborhood Funders Group members, and the Disrupt the System: How Labor and Philanthropy can Build Worker Power in a New Era event co-convened by the AFL-CIO, the LIFT Fund, and FJE on December 11 in Washington, DC. More information coming soon!

 
August 15, 2019

Beyond Outrage: A Clarity of Purpose

Dimple Abichandani, Executive Director of the General Service Foundation, urges grantmakers and the philanthropic sector to take concrete actions to defend democracy and speak out against racist attacks on people of color. This post was originally published here on the foundation's website.

Dimple was part of the first Philanthropy Forward: Leadership for Change Fellowship cohort, a joint initiative of Neighborhood Funders Group and The Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions. General Service Foundation, which partners with grassroots organizations to bring about a more just and sustainable world, is a member of NFG.


  

Dimple AbichandaniWe live in dangerous times, and every passing news cycle contains another outrage, another violation of norms, another threat to our democracy, another threat to our planet.  

In the face of escalating racial attacks, (be it imprisonment of kids on the border or the racist rhetoric being tweeted from the white house) many have noted, rightly, that philanthropy as a sector has been too cautious and too quiet.  The Communications Network, in it’s recent piece, Silence Speaks Volumes, calls on foundations to use their voices in this moment.

Yes, it’s meaningful for people from all sectors of our society to condemn the Administration’s attacks on people of color.  And, for those of us working in the philanthropic sector, these times call on us to use all of our tools in defense of our inclusive, multi-racial democracy.  We are more than commentators or observers– as funders, our role is to resource a more just and equitable future. What we do in this moment will be far more important than what we say.  

As painful as this moment is, it is also a time in which the work to be done has become more clear. The vulnerability of our democracy has become more clear.  Racial anxiety and social divisions are being stoked in order to prop up a reckless system that benefits only the wealthiest. As we condemn the most recent of a long list of outrages, can we also use this moment to deepen our own clarity of purpose, and ensure that our funding will bring about a more just future? 

As funders, we can not only speak out but also take action to bolster our inclusive democracy.

  1. Support those most directly impacted by injustice. Instead of wielding of our own voice and power as a foundation, we can support those most directly impacted by injustice to build their voice, power, and leadership. They must lead the way to a more just world; it is our job to uplift and resource their visions and voices. National organizations such as Color of Change, New American Leaders, and National Domestic Workers Alliance, regional and state-based organizations such as Western States Center, Black Voters Matter and Workers Defense Project and so many others are seeding a future in which racial, gender and economic justice will be the norm.
  2. Invest in the creation and dissemination of narratives that reshape cultural attitudes around belonging in our country.  The recent escalation in the use of racist and sexist rhetoric is not happening in a vacuum– rather it builds on broader public narratives shaped by white supremacy and male dominance.  We need to normalize new narratives that humanize all of us, that value all of us. Organizations such as the Pop Culture CollaborativeReFrame, and the Culture Change Fund, for example, build capacity for narrative equity and culture shift.
  3. Question the default funding habits and practices that limit us from making a bigger impact in this moment. As funders, we sometimes have a blind spot for how our internal practices create unnecessary burdens and barriers for organizations that do the important work we support. This moment calls on us to question our practices, shift to ways of working that account for the gravity of the problems we face, and center the people who are leading the social change efforts we support. Could your foundation increase its payout, provide more general operating support, increase the length of grants, and minimize busywork for grantees? Could you shift your grant strategy to more boldly meet the moment or more directly address the imbalances of power in our society? The Trust Based Philanthropy Network has tools and stories of inspiration from foundations who have increased their impact by changing their practices.

So many of us in philanthropy are eager to do something meaningful in this tumultuous time.  Let’s challenge ourselves to use this moment to put our institutional values into practice. Let’s walk the walk as boldly as we talk the talk.