Updates on Ferguson, Cleveland, and NYC

By Lorraine Ramirez, Program Manager, Neighborhood Funders Group, November 25, 2014.

As you know, last night it was announced that the grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown. Like many of you, we are saddened and angry, but unfortunately not surprised, given the long time crisis level of police violence against communities of color, low-income communities, LGBTQ communities, and others across the country. NFG is committed to continuing this conversation and movement against systemic racism, in close partnership with our sister affinity organizations, organizers in the field, and all of you. The role of philanthropy as committed partners remains critical, as we all understand the need to build just and vibrant cities, and inclusive democracies. If you would like to become connected with NFG members talking about organizing in Ferguson and beyond, please write to us at fundersforjustice@nfg.org.

For information about current protests, calls for action, and demands for justice at the federal level, visit FergusonAction.org, and http://FergusonResponse.tumblr.com/. Also issued today were The Results are In: An Open Letter from Protestors on the Grand Jury Decision, and Letter to President Obama and US Attorney General Eric Holder, a petition generated by ColorOfChange.org immediately following the grand jury verdict, and a statement from Center Social inclusion on Ferguson and the racialized cycles of poverty and criminalization. These are just a few of the many statements and opportunities for action; if you have any to recommend that NFG posts on our resource page, please write to us at fundersforjustice@nfg.org.

Last week, in anticipation of the grand jury verdict, Ferguson Governor Jay Nixon preemptively declared a state of emergency. That decision, as well as information leaks over the past few weeks, had caused the widespread expectation that the grand jury would not deliver an indictment. Several public statements were issued from national partners, including Statements to President Obama & Governor Nixon Prior to the Ferguson Grand Jury Verdict, from Muslim Advocates and fellow civil rights organizations.

For more resources for funders, visit NFG’s resource page, as well as the websites of our partners, including ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities, and the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity. For tools and framework on community policing, visit PolicyLink’s resource online.

We also offer these updates from Ohio and New York:

Ohio

Since John Crawford was gunned down inside a Walmart on August 5, young people led by Black youth in the Ohio Student Association have been demanding justice and organizing to fundamentally shift the relationship of power between law enforcement and our communities. The murders of Tanesha Anderson and especially 12 year old Tamir Rice continue to demonstrate the savagery and racism of police in Ohio, and we will continue to target law enforcement from local police all the way up to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine demanding the justice we as black people in Ohio deserve. As we move forward we are developing two parallel strategies: (1) regular, disruptive non violent actions to declare that we will never forget and never stop demanding the justice we deserve, and (2) coalition building to wield power with organizations and institutions across the state and nation to move policy at the local, state, and federal level that strikes at the root of police brutality and mass incarceration. Working with our partners in the Ohio Organizing Collaborative and across the nation through the Freedom Side, we are positioned to build power and develop the leadership of black and brown youth in Ohio while pushing the movement forward with bold and visionary organizing. However we have not raised the resources we need to grow or even maintain our capacity in 2015, and will need to find new streams of revenue to support the work through 2016 and beyond.

www.ohiostudentassociation.org

Twitter/IG: @OHIOstudents

www.freedomside.org

www.ohorganizing.org

James Hayes 614.216.4548 jamesh@ohorganizing.org


New York City

While the movement for police accountability and an end to systemic racism in NYC grows in power in New York, the police violence against New Yorkers also continues. Most recently, Akai Gurley was shot and killed in the Luis H. Pink Houses in East New York, yet another police assault on residents of public housing. The NAACP held a candlelight vigil for Gurley on Nov 25th; a statement from the Justice Committee on the killing of Gurley and assault on Donovan is available here. Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) and its member/ally organizations continue organizing for police accountability, calling for NYPD & criminal justice accountability in recent and past cases of excessive or deadly force. This includes Akai Gurley, Donovan Lawson, Eric Garner (the Staten Island resident killed in a chokehold by police this summer), and Ramarley Graham. CPR  has put developed a number of concrete mechanisms for police accountability, as part of a movement for racial justice; these include local and statewide legislation like the Right to Know Act and the Community Safety Act, and community organizing strategies that include tactics like cop watch and training NYers on their rights. CPR also issue a statement today: After Ferguson Grand Jury Failure, Federal Government Must Act for Justice.

Contact: Joo-Hyun Kang  jkang@changethenypd.org

Find More By:

News type: 
June 26, 2020

Strike Watch: Workers refuse to relent for Black lives, as COVID-19 workplace dangers expand

If there is an image that encapsulates the continued expansion of worker-led direct action in the last few weeks, it is Angela Davis on Juneteenth. With her fist raised high and face mask tight, Dr. Davis stood strong out of a roof of a car moving through a massive strike linking dockworkers and community to shutter the Port of Oakland for 8-plus hours. Led by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) shipping and transport workers, 29 ports were shut down as tens of thousands came together, and drew connections by featuring speakers such as fired Amazon warehouse worker Chris Smalls between the racial violence of police and that of powerful corporations.

Payday Report tracked more than 500 strikes from the first protest for George Floyd at the end of May to a nationwide day of action on Juneteenth. In Minneapolis in the days after the murder of George Floyd, workers showed solidarity in ways ranging from unionized bus drivers refusing to transport police to direct action by teachers to remove police from schools. Journalists also have confronted racism in their institutions, such as the 300-plus sickout at the New York Times to challenge Arkansas Tom Cotton’s op-ed calling for military action against protestors. Workers, small businesses and community collaborated on a Washington State-wide day of action where dozens of businesses shut down and employees skipped work to support of Black Lives Matter and confront white supremacy. 

Unions are also taking strong stances on the efforts to divest and defund from police (see our NFG resource for funders here) and invest in real community need and safety, including a wide ranging set of locals in the Bay Area supporting this call directly. Locals like UNITE HERE Local 11 in Los Angeles have confronted recent police killings such as the murder of 18-year old Andres Guardado (whose father is a union member) by the LA Sherriff Department (LASD) in Compton. The local joined street protests and signing on to BLM and abolitionist-led calls for a #PeoplesBudgetLA and a Care First budget defunding the LASD.

Using one’s workplace power to support anti-racism has also morphed among professional class workers “at home.” Dozens of scientific institutions, from journals to university departments, also #ShutDownSTEM to force reflection on entrenched racism in the US and support for Black lives.  #Sharethemic days where white women-identified influencers ceded space to Black women anti-racist leaders like #metoo founder Tarana Burke also offered new ways to consider not only walking out, but handing over resources, space and power.

Like the ongoing strikes responding to COVID-19, workers are exposing the hypocrisy of the endless barrage of corporate statements professing #BLM while taking actions that are quite literally killing their Black and brown workers. Under the cover of slick marketing, trillion-dollar companies like Amazon and Whole Foods are cutting back low-wage worker hazard pay and other protections (won by protests), even as COVID-19 cases spike in their worksites, and even seeing BLM masks banned on the job.

Global Essential Organizing in the Age of COVID-19

As COVID-19 cases (and unemployment claims) continue their ascent in the US, and other regions of the world see dangerous resurgences, mostly Black-, Latinx- and API- (including and especially migrant)-led worker organizing for basic protections has not let up either. The latest waves of strikes organized by Familias Unidas por la Justicia (FUJ) among dozens of apple picking and packing sites in Washington state’s Yakima Valley saw a significant victory with a signed collective agreement for safety and hazard pay among dozens of different apple picking workers earlier this month.

Mosty-migrant meatpacking workers globally – from Germany’s hinterlands to Hyrum, Utah – continue to demonstrate n the face of outbreaks in plants. Unionized nurses represented by National Nurses United and different SEIU affiliates are striking nationwide against the large US corporate hospital chain HCA Healthcare for still failing to provide Personal Protective Equipment (while cutting staff) starting Friday, June 26. Disney workers, meanwhile, attempt to stave off a disaster at their multi-billion dollar company seeks to re-open its theme parks in July.

Months of essential worker strikes are becoming entwined in an even broader sea of actions for Black lives and calling, in many cases, for police and prison abolition. Angela Davis reflected in an interview on the same day as the Juneteenth strike: “Activists who are truly committed to changing the world should recognize that the work that we often do that receives no public recognition can eventually matter.” The power reflected in ongoing strikes has been built at the grassroots through base building and other work for numerous years. Dr. Davis’ words are in many ways a call to action for philanthropy: how will funders fully recognize and support the immediate and long-term building necessary for worker-led organizing and power? And as major institutions like universities look inward, will foundations reflect on their own perpetuation of racism and corporate power - from external investments to internal practices?

FJE’s Strike Watch is a regular blog and media series dedicated to providing insight on the ways in which grassroots movements build worker power through direct action. Our ultimate goal: inform philanthropic action to support worker-led power building and organizing and help bridge conversations among funders, community and research partners. We are grateful and acknowledge the many journalists and organizations that produce the content we link to regularly, and to all our participants in first-hand interviews. Questions on the content or ideas for future content? Reach out to robert@nfg.org

Photo Credit: Yalonda M. James / The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

Photo Credit: Yalonda M. James / The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

June 25, 2020

$50million for M4BL - See You There

Dear Donors, Funders, and Resource Mobilizers: 

The Movement for Black Lives mounted a significant SixNineteen Juneteenth weekend of actions in a matter of weeks. Virtually, over 185,000 people viewed M4BL-TV to celebrate, mourn, and learn. Over 650 in person and online actions took place in cities and communities across the nation, and globally. For context on the strategy behind this weekend of action we recommend the first episode of the People's Action Podcast The Next MoveMaking Meaning with Maurice Mitchell

We are deeply moved by Black Leadership and now we are getting closer to a world where defunding police and building new visions of community safety, infrastructure, and recovery are not just possible, but are inevitable.  This month alone, we’ve seen:

·  A veto-proof majority in the Minneapolis City Council pledged to take steps to eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a community alternative.

·  The mayor of Los Angeles announced that the city’s police budget would be cut by $100-150 million to reinvest it in programs to create better conditions for Black residents,

·  The public perception of policing and racism has shifted dramatically, with 54 percent of Americans supporting the uprisings.

·  And dozens more victories listed here.

We asked you to meet the courage of M4BL’s Juneteenth action by moving resources with integrity and speed. We asked you all to resource our movements working to Defend Black Lives by breaking the rules: give more than 5% from your endowments, trust Black leadership, and remove habitual philanthropic red tape. We responded to M4BL’s call to philanthropy and stated that $50M is the floor, and it is more than possible if we are prepared to fund the Movement for Black Lives like we want them to win. Your commitments so far is the proof point - you were listening! We are grateful for the ways you have shown your solidarity so far. 

Our first goal was to raise half of it by the end of June - $25M. We need your support and solidarity over these next seven days and beyond.  

In 14 days we have raised $18M in commitments, pledges and cash on hand. We have $7M to raise in 7 days and a week to make our first goal.  Solidaire Network and Resource Generation have both pledged to organize their members, and we’ve had contributions come in from the $10,000 to $5M range. Some of you have even pledged for 10 years, demonstrating your commitment not just to the moment but to the long term movement that’s needed to win. 

As a reminder, here are the four ways we need you to show up for Black lives: 

  1. FIRST: COMMIT. If you haven’t done so yet, complete this survey with your own pledge today.
  2. SECOND: ORGANIZE. We need you to organize your institutions, boards, friends, family, funder affinity groups -- the communities you can and have organized to move resources.
  3. THIRD: GIVE. We ask that you make a generous one-time donation and a sustainable recurring donation to M4BL and its ecosystem here.
  4. FOURTH: FOLLOW THROUGH. Get ready to share with us what you are prepared to do, and what philanthropic “rules” you are prepared to break to Defend Black Lives today.

In struggle, 

Funders for Justice and our donor-organizing partners for the Movement for Black Lives 

Find More By:

News type: