Welcome to Black Futures Month! At Change Consulting, we are committed to lifting up Black changemakers and visionaries who are committed to a more just future – not just this month but everyday.
Why Black Futures Month, not Black History Month? Thank you for asking. As Alicia Garza puts it: “Black communities have always been futurists….Because of the way that the rules have been rigged against our communities, we’ve been forced to imagine a new future with possibilities for freedom.” (More on Alicia’s groundbreaking work in an interview with Yes! Magazine).
We encourage you to find ways to support Black visionaries, changemakers, leaders, and dreamers not just in February, but year-round.
The inspiring and essential work that our partners are leading in the movement for racial justice and to dismantle anti-Blackness is even more remarkable against the backdrop of ongoing and devastating state violence against Black people. Our hearts are broken yet again by the disregard for Black lives that Tyre Nichols’ murder at the hands of police signified. All this as we reel from the murders of Keenan Anderson, Takar Smith, and Oscar Sanchez by Los Angeles police, and the horrific shootings that impacted AAPI communities in Monterey Park and Half Moon Bay.
Garza, who is founder and principal of Black Futures Lab and Black to the Future Action Fund, offered a reality check for Politico on how quickly authorities moved to terminate and charge the officers who attacked Tyre Nichols: “There are some people who are going to … thump their chest and say this is a victory….at the end of the day, this case will become an exception to the rule as opposed to the rule itself.”
Garza also acknowledges the importance of recording and sharing accounts of state violence in this story on The Root: “When we don’t have records, when we don’t have documentation, that’s when people are able to ignore the problems.”
Our client partner California Black Freedom Fund rallied 28 foundation leaders to issue a joint letter, calling for sustained support for Black-led movement organizations from private, corporate, and community foundations to make justice real in California and across the country. The California Black Freedom Fund has distributed $26 million to date to Black-led movement organizations, including some specifically focused on policing such as the Anti Police-Terror Project, the Black Organizing Project, the California Black Power Network, and more.
California Funders for Boys and Men of Color highlighted statements from members of their coalition who offer wisdom on navigating the heaviness of this moment, and how we can achieve community safety:
Chet P. Hewitt, President and CEO of Sierra Health Foundation and CEO of The Center: “Our shared safety is rooted in healthy communities — not law enforcement.”
Dr. Robert Ross, President of The California Endowment: “Communities must be the centerpiece of any discussion of overhauling of the definition of public safety, rather than centering on badges and guns.”
Brandi Howard, President and CEO of East Bay Community Foundation: “We recognize that AAPI community members everywhere will feel these incidents acutely because of the recent increases in anti-AAPI acts of violence. We will continue to stand in love and solidarity with the AAPI community.”
Shane Murphy Goldsmith, President/CEO of Liberty Hill Foundation: “It is time to move beyond conversations about hope and aspirations and outrage to real structural change. The systems of punishment and harm that allow this violence to be perpetuated against people of color will not transform themselves.”
Black Girl Freedom Week is needed now more than ever. The week-long celebration of Black girls, femmes, and gender expansive youth kicks off on February 13. The Advocate’s Tracy E. Gilchrist recently spoke with Joanne N. Smith, CEO, and Damala Denny, Youth Organizing Manager for Girls Gender Equality about the campaign and plans for the third annual event. Learn more about Black Girl Freedom Week and the #1BillionForBlackGirls campaign, and visit bgfw.1billion4blackgirls.org/ to get a rundown of what to expect this year.
Stop AAPI hate created a resource list for victims of the traumatic violence in Half Moon Bay as well as a GoFundMe page for the victims and their families. Phoebe Balascia, a partner of Asian American Women’s Political Initiative, linked the violence facing Asian American and Pacific Islander communities with violence against Black communities and other communities color at a recent rally, reminding us that we can only “create safety and cultivate wholeness together in community when we work toward a future where all are free with abundant resources to thrive.”
What We’re Reading
Reimagining capital, our economy, and especially our culture is necessary to create a world where Black people can thrive. Change Consulting’s dear friend, D.J., activist, and RUNWAY’s Fund Director Nina Sol Robinson wrote this piece on how RUNWAY’s company culture works hand in hand with their mission to reimagine “capital as a tool that can heal, repair and connect,” towards their vision of a world “where Black entrepreneurs thrive in a reimagined economy rooted in equity and justice.”