The pain and anger caused by the deaths of Ahmad Aubrey, Breonna Taylor and now George Floyd in the US have been felt deeply across the world. It has brought to the fore the harms that black people experience every day in every country.
In the UK, where institutional racism, particularly within the justice system, is ever-present, where inequality has already cruelly shaped the impact of Covid-19, and where black people fear the impact of police getting more power as a result of Covid-19, each of us is called upon to show through our actions that we stand for racial justice and are anti-racist in word and deed. The burden should not be borne by the black community alone.
Philanthropy in the UK has been slow to offer resource and solidarity to communities of colour, and slower still to recognise its part in oppressive systems and practices such as imperialism and colonialism. While some colleagues at Lankelly Chase have long been dedicated to this work, our overall response has been piecemeal, slow and poorly articulated. Lankelly Chase is rightly challenged by movements such as #charitysowhite and @futurefoundations to demonstrate the solidarity that we express. Recently we have been doing more to direct resources to people and organisations championing racial justice. We have used our platform to amplify the voices of some activists, and we are working hard to overhaul our out-dated governance and investment practices. But this work has only shown us that we have a long way to go.
We commit to reflecting on the impact of our position and privilege, to be transparent about our practices and be open to critique. We also commit to directing increased resources to communities of colour as a matter of urgency and to offering our platform to others if it can amplify their voice and message.
It is possible to imagine a world of greater connectedness and justice emerging from these troubled times. But without radical reform, philanthropy will continue to reproduce the harms it seeks to alleviate. We have to push ourselves harder to find our blind spots and understand where we put our interests before those whom we claim to support. This isn’t easy work, but foundations will never be effective if we are not also ethical. We have to model in ourselves the transformation that we dream of in society.
The work to fight racism has been and will continue to be, long, hard and painful, and it falls disproportionately on the shoulders of black and brown people. We stand in solidarity with the black community and will continue to turn towards what they suffer long after the news goes quiet, and the statements have been made.
If you’re interested in taking over our twitter feed for the day, want us to promote a blog about your experiences as an individual or organisation or think there are other ways we can ensure the amplification of voices we don’t often hear from, please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org