By Lateefah Simon | December 15, 2020
To our Oakland community,
What a year. Whether in our personal lives, in our families or our neighborhoods, 2020 hit us hard. Yes, despite the existential challenges we have faced this year, our communities continue to guide us down the path toward a racially just Oakland. Organizers and movement leaders are undaunted in their work to make a beautiful vision of collective freedom and liberation a reality. Thanks to the leadership of Black people and communities of color, a historic number of voters turned out to make their voice heard in this year’s election, in many cases in the face of profound challenges. We see the largest racial justice movement of our lifetime, gaining new ground all over the world.
As we reflect on all that 2020 has shown us, we also acknowledge the organizing wins the year brought — among them, winning police free schools in Oakland, a renewed focus from philanthropy on racial justice, and the importance of supporting Oakland’s arts and culture keepers. The courageous advocates who continue to be on the frontlines every day are the ones who give us the hope we need to move into the new year with determination, resilience and love. We must support them with no reservations as they continue to pave the way for a better future for us all.
To our grantee partners and movement leaders — we will continue to follow your leadership. To our partners and allies in philanthropy — we look forward to working together to fund our racial justice movement. Let’s continue the fight together.
From all of us at Akonadi Foundation, we wish you a safe, healthy and joyful holiday season.
A Spotlight on 2020 – Key Highlights
Akonadi re-launched the So Love Can Win Fund, awarding $1.1 million in rapid response funding to support people of color-led organizations and initiatives in Oakland that are on the frontlines of responding to communities impacted by COVID-19. To date, we have made over 90 grants to Oakland-based healers, journalists, culture-makers and movement organizations.
In June, we launched All in for Oakland, a five-year, $12.5 million initiative to end the criminalization of Black youth and youth of color in Oakland. Our eleven grant partners have worked tirelessly to cultivate the power of young people and families criminalized by the education and juvenile justice systems and hold people in power accountable. We have already witnessed partners such as Black Organizing Project lead the efforts to successfully eliminate the Oakland school police department; organizations like Young Women’s Freedom Center provide housing and monetary aid to their members who did not qualify for federal support during the shelter in place; and Urban Peace Movement’s work to close down Camp Sweeney, urging Alameda County to stop locking up youth and reimagine what real justice and rehabilitation for young people can truly look like.
To support our city’s visionary arts and culture practitioners, we launched “Belonging in Oakland: A Just City Cultural Fund,” in partnership with the East Bay Community Foundation and Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Division. The multi-year program aims to support cultural practitioners of color to radically imagine what a racially just Oakland can look like.