From the President
We are deeply saddened by the recent events that have taken place in Orlando, Baton Rouge, Falcon Heights, and Dallas, and our condolences go to all of the families who have lost loved ones.
We also mourn those who have died as a result of state violence, particularly perpetrated on black and brown men. How has this become a common occurrence? We are a country built upon slavery, where human beings were treated as property. Vestiges of that legacy continue today in the implicit (and sometimes explicit) consciousness of white Americans. Speaking as a white woman to my white colleagues, when we fail to see the humanity in the faces of black men, when we fail to speak up in the face of oppression, we create the conditions where it is easy to kill.
There is a chasm between white and black America in which we live different realities. As white people, we must wake up to the realities of the inequalities that exist in daily life in the United States. We must acknowledge the experiences we hear from our black friends and colleagues of being pulled over by the police, followed in the store and being denied a job. The devastating proliferation of black deaths at the hands of the police is forcing all of us to acknowledge the sad reality of the ongoing racism that permeates our society and becomes embedded in our institutions and our laws.
We all need to come together to envision and explore a new reality. A reality based upon our shared humanity, a reality based upon what john powell terms belonging to the circle of human concern. In that reality we can reimagine what safety looks like based upon community, family, a home, a job. In that reality we are not dependent upon policing as a mechanism for safety. Akonadi Foundation continues to work toward that reality in partnership with leaders who carry a vision for a racially just society, listening to their ideas and strategies, and responding to their needs.
Philanthropy can respond to and support initiatives addressing the inequities lived out on our streets. We must commit to racial justice movement building and actions that support efforts to advance solidarity. We can engage in efforts that link multiple struggles: police brutality, immigration reform, violence against trans women of color. We need to claim and demand that black lives matter.
Akonadi Foundation’s commitment to racial justice is deepened through our long-term investments in community-based organizations and initiatives in Oakland that are on the frontlines of racial justice movement building. We will continue to provide ongoing support to enable organizations to build power to create that reality of a community of belonging. We are launching a rapid response fund to help support new ideas for work centered on healing and safety for communities of color in Oakland.
We at Akonadi Foundation are hopeful. Hopeful because we continue to see the powerful work that is happening in Oakland and across the country to challenge institutionalized racism and push for lasting solutions. The moment requires both responsive and ongoing funding and we are committed to investing in efforts that support and nurture racial justice movement building in the short and long-term.
President, Akonadi Foundation