By the Garfield Team – Jennie, Mollie, Motaz, Ruth, Eleni, Jen, and Jessica
Incensed, heartbroken, activated. These are some of the emotions we feel in response to the senseless racial injustice and violence we’re witnessing in the present moment. The wrongful murder of George Floyd and countless other Black people at the hands of the very institution entrusted with their safety have “pulled back the veil,” in the words of author and organizer adrienne maree brown, on how deeply white supremacy is rooted within our culture — not just as a mindset people hold as individuals, but as an animating force within the systems and structures upon which our society is built.
We stand in solidarity with those demanding racial justice and real change because Black Lives Matter. Our resolve comes from the recognition that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color have suffered the worst consequences of white supremacy and structural racism. We also recognize that the philanthropic sector and the fields of sustainability and systems change are dominated by White people with white privilege — and that addressing structural racism and inequality is core to the work we as a foundation are committed to.
We are also prompted to acknowledge our privilege and power as a foundation and our complicity in the systems of oppression that exist within the philanthropic sector, and the climate and environmental health movements where we locate most of our grantmaking. Without this, we feel our statement of solidarity would be disingenuous.
In this transformational moment we want to channel the moral urgency we feel towards deep reflection on our journey of dismantling structural racism and centering equity at the organizational level, as well as doing deep, personal work to become steadfast anti-racists. As we reflect on our systemic approach to change, we also commit (and recommit) to the following:
- To support grantees centering justice and equity in their work to accelerate systems change
- To listen deeply to the wisdom of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, and to prioritize the time and resources required for building trusting relationships with them as a foundation for the transformative change we seek
- To foster a culture of learning and reflection on both what our work is and how we’re doing it to increase our vigilance that our practices do not perpetuate white supremacy
- To seek sites of learning and growth — in our own lives, in our organizational practices, and in the fields and movements we belong to — on this journey
- To use our privilege, power, and whiteness to speak out against white supremacy and speak up for racial justice — for us, silence is not an option
- To praise our grantees, partners, and advisors when they stand up to racial injustice, and to follow their leadership in demanding justice for all
We strive to act on these commitments with equal parts humility, persistence, and grace because we believe in a world that works for all people — and deeply want to play a useful role in creating it.
The Garfield Team