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

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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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