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
May 9, 2019

Building Power in the Sunshine State: Lessons from FJE’s Florida Learning Tour

In April 2019, NFG's Funders for a Just Economy and Florida Philanthropic Network brought together funders from across the country and community organizing leaders in Florida to explore how diverse communities in the state are building power and political infrastructure for workers’ rights, migrant justice, women’s rights, and more.

Sienna BaskinSienna Baskin, Director of the Anti-Trafficking Fund at NEO Philanthropy, shares her experience from the learning tour. You can follow Sienna at @SiennaBaskin and NEO at@NEOPhilanthropy

Would you be able to come from the frozen Northeast to a resort in Ft. Myers without relishing the feeling of your toes in sandals or the warm bay breezes? I know these were my first impressions as I landed for the Funders for a Just Economy Florida Funder Tour. But as we left the sunshine to enter a darkened conference room, our eyes adjusted to read the first slide: “Racial Capitalism and Resistance in the Sunshine State.” As funders, many of us tourists and outsiders, we were invited in to learn the real story of Florida.

During this introduction to the tour, we learned that the inequities Floridians are suffering were sown in the earliest days of European colonization, and the roots of revolt stretch just as far back. By the 1800’s, Native Seminole communities were a haven for escaped slaves, and some of the largest anti-slavery uprisings were launched from these enclaves. Post-reconstruction, this blossoming of freedom was repressed with an especially brutal reign of the KKK – Florida had the highest number of lynchings per capita of any southern state. Florida also passed the first “Right to Work” law in the nation, disenfranchising African American communities to maintain the status quo, and built the tourism sector with leased convict labor. Considering these challenges, Cuban, Spanish and Italian workers built strong unions and mounted many strikes at cigar-rolling factories. In 1968 it was out of a failed sanitation strike in St. Petersburg that one of the fastest growing multiracial unions in the south — SEIU Florida Public Service Union – was born. And just this week, Florida passed one of the harshest anti-immigrant bills in the country, banning sanctuary cities and requiring local government agencies to cooperate with ICE.

Learning tour participants sit at tables to listen to local community organizers in a colorful room surrounded by posters.

Photos by Arista Collective

This sense of a violent swing from liberation to repression and back again permeated our time in Florida. We met many of the brilliant leaders riding these waves. They had much to teach us. Like the country at large, Florida is almost perfectly balanced between progressive possibility and conservative ideology. Every election is won or lost by 1%, but a Republican stronghold has held onto power. This means organizers must find ways to engage conservatives around shared values, build an alternate narrative powerful enough to contest for governing power and move the apolitical (30% of voters are unaffiliated), or create new systems of accountability and power outside of government.

We heard examples of all of these strategies. The Florida Rights Restoration Coalition recently won a ballot initiative to restore voting rights to people with criminal records by connecting with returning citizens, their families, and the wider community around a sense of justice, not by arguing politics. Alliance for Safety and Justice organizes crime victims around criminal justice reform by talking about failures in public safety. The Statewide Alignment Group, an alliance of 7 organizations including Florida Immigration Coalition, Central Florida Jobs with Justice, and Faith in Florida, are building a new electorate through leadership development, community-based popular education, and ballot initiatives, with Medicaid expansion, automatic voter registration and $15 minimum wage in their sights. The Miami Workers Center organizes victims of domestic violence and domestic workers to fight the feminization of poverty with a shared agenda. All aspire to a new definition of civic engagement, where working people are authors of the laws that affect them, an audacious goal in a state that has long repressed workers. This requires not being “prisoners of the moment” as Alphonso Mayfield of the SEIU called it, but seeing where even failure leads to future change, if there is deep collaboration and engagement over years.

Nelly Rodriguez of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers speaks to learning tour participants sitting at a table with her.We also visited Immokalee, a town of migrant workers, small bodegas and vast tomato and citrus farms. Around bright oilcloth-covered tables we heard about the Coalition of Immokalee Workers' famous human rights program, built to change the slavery-like conditions on industrial farms. By holding the brands at the top of the supply chain accountable for enforcing worker protections and threatening the loss of sales for farm owners if they did not sign up, workers were able to institute higher pay and standards than even the law requires. Surrounded by hand-painted signs from their marches against Wendy’s, Taco Bell and other corporate giants, we saw the potential of this program, born of necessity in one of the most oppressive regions and industries in the country for low-wage workers.

Unfortunately, philanthropy is not always walking with these activists. While Florida is perceived as a wealthy state, we learned that there are almost no social justice funders in Florida, especially for workers or immigrant rights. Many holders of wealth hail from outside of Florida, and think of the state as their vacation or retirement spot, not where they should be giving back. And national funders aren’t always investing in the most impactful ways. Money pours into Florida for disaster response or to swing the state during election years, focused on numbers, not depth or long-term engagement. These kinds of resources may lead to the problem of “burnt turf,” when voters don’t trust that organizers are really working in their best interest. For long term grassroots investment, Florida often falls through the cracks.

Two people on the learning tour sit in a bus looking out onto farm fields.

Photos by Arista Collective

The Contigo Fund showed us one example of how to do things differently. After the massacre of 49 LGBTQ Latinx young people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a combined effort through crowdfunding and traditional philanthropy raised 30 million for the families and survivors, and 3 million more was raised for longer term efforts. The Contigo Fund carried out an assessment to learn how the community identified the conditions they were facing, the gaps in resources, and their hopes and dreams for change. The resulting grants promoted 37 new LGBTQ leaders of color into positions of power, launched new programs for LGBTQ communities in existing organizations, and helped found 11 new organizations led by LGBTQ people of color in central Florida.

Tarell McCraney, writer of the Academy Award-winning “Moonlight,” called Miami “a beautiful nightmare.”  My sense, after soaking in Florida sunsets and hearing from these activists, is that this moniker could apply to the entire state. Florida has suffered many traumas: historical, environmental, collective and individual. It is top in the nation for poverty-wage jobs, has the highest rate of ICE arrests in the country, and was home to half of all US murders of trans people in 2018. But it also has enormous potential, potential Florida activists and organizers can feel. Some of the most brilliant organizing strategies in the country are emerging from this state, out of the urgency of the moment and the creativity of activists overcoming high barriers. These are the strategies we need to turn this whole country around. Marcia Olivo of the Miami Workers Center shared her belief that out of healing can come collective action, and without this action, healing is incomplete. Philanthropy has an opportunity to help move this, and all the other exciting ideas in Florida, to a place of flourishing.

More about the tour: Tour Agenda | Speaker Bios | Attendees List

We are so grateful to the organizations that worked with us on this tour: Alliance for Safety and Justice, Alianza for Progress, Central Florida Jobs with Justice, Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Community Justice ProjectContigo Fund, Dream Defenders, Faith in Florida, Fair Food Standards Council, Family Action Network Movement, Farmworkers Association of Florida, Florida Immigrant Coalition, Florida New Majority, Florida Philanthropic Network, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition, Miami Workers Center, Organize Florida, QLatinx, SEIU Public Services Union of Florida, VIDA Legal Assistance, WeCount!

May 1, 2019

FFJ Advisor Discussion Series: Jenny Arwade

Photo of JennyJenny Arwade, Co-Executive Director of Communities United and FFJ Field Advisor, tells us about current Chicago happenings and the role of healing justice in “building the power necessary to change the conditions in our communities, dismantle structural racism, and address long term healing through transformative change”.

What are some key fights happening in Chicago that you think folks across the country should be watching?

In Chicago, we are coming off of a historic Mayoral run-off election, with voters electing the city’s first Black, Lesbian woman as Mayor. We now have Black women at the helm of our city, county, and occupying a key position in our state as Lieutenant Governor. All eyes are watching to see if this will help our city lead to progressive change, or if the status quo will merely be reinforced through new leadership. What we do know is that all three women have a stated an ongoing commitment to criminal justice and juvenile justice reform, and addressing the cycle of violence through positive investments in communities.

There are several key things to watch for: Under this new leadership, will we start seeing progress towards community justice reinvestment? — a paradigm shift in which public resources are invested in meeting the employment, housing, educational and health needs in communities of color that have been hardest hit by disinvestment, mass incarceration, and immigration enforcement, rather than perpetuating systems that reinforce trauma, violence, and the separation of families. Can we move from a place of winning critical policy changes, and losing others, to having truly transformational change to preserve Chicago as a city that continues to be home to the poor and working class, and where a holistic racial equity agenda is advanced by both communities and our elected leaders?

This may all sound aspirational – but that is the key challenge ahead of us. We need to not only believe it is possible, but recognize that it will only be possible with visionary demands, coming from communities most directly impacted. While having people that represent the identities of our communities is an important aspect of the paradigm shifts we are working towards, we know from history that it is not just who represents us, but the movement for change that is built from the ground up that will make the difference.

Why does Communities United use a Healing Justice Frame? How is Healing Justice central and vital to your work and the work of Communities United?

“We are the solution we need”

Communities United’s Healing Justice frame is centered around the need to decolonize health and wellness. While there is growing attention to the medical benefits of mindfulness, yoga, and other practices that are deeply rooted in the ancestry of people of color, they are also becoming billion dollar industries that in many cases continue to fuel corporate profit, and underscore elitism, cultural appropriation, and a lack of access for communities most directly impacted by trauma.

CU’s approach is grounded in the notion that we all have the capacity to be our own healers, and support the healing and wellness of those around us – that we ARE the solution we need. Breaking it down very simply, our approach to healing justice focuses on the sharing of our stories and our wounds, building a community of support, moving to collective action, and being conscious of our own movement and breath as we build together. We believe that every act of self-love and individual recovery is an act of heroic living. By building a critical mass of individuals who are redefining what investments in communities need to look like, we are building heroic communities. This leads to building the type of power needed to hold public systems accountable and advance change that is truly transformational.

What do you want funders to better understand about the healing justice frame?

We believe that a healing justice frame creates a pathway for systems change and community change that is transformational. Through our work with mental health professionals, we have broad agreement both that the scope and impact of trauma is so expansive that clinical supports will never be enough, and that there are often no systems available that reflect the cultural dynamics and histories of communities of color. We also have agreement that the critical role of community in supporting the healing process is not widely recognized or valued through traditional systems, even though it can have the most powerful impacts. Healing needs to be broadly accessible, and the reason community plays a vital role is that it is rooted in relationship – our relationship to ourselves, each other, and our understanding of the world around us. We all have the power to be our own healers, and to help each other on the healing process.

Partnerships are also critical in this work. CU partners with organizations that have values and approaches that are aligned with our healing justice frame, such as organizations focused on supporting individuals suffering from addiction along their path to recovery using approaches that include traditional healing practices, and more. These partnerships are critical to bringing the breadth of community wisdom and values-aligned health institutions together to advance our healing justice work.

We are currently working to build movement with our Healing and Justice Transformation framework across communities. Our hope is that the more we all share and make resources accessible, the more this work can grow and become part of the fabric of how communities and institutions are engaging in this work. As we work to decolonize health and wellness, we believe there is a crucial role for mental health professionals, especially those that come from our communities, but that healing and wellness is a movement approach.

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

Healing justice is about building the power necessary to change the conditions in our communities, dismantle structural racism, and address long term healing through transformative change. If we believe that “we are the solution we need,” then we need to trust communities to define our own needs, what makes us well, and not try to fit anything into a box. In this political moment, as in all political moments, we have to look back to our roots. Healing justice is not a new shiny object, but an approach grounded in our ancestry and past movements, and propelled by the vision of our next generation of leaders.