Recent Events: An Open Letter to EPIP Members

Dear EPIP Members:

The past few days and weeks have been especially tough for many in our community. Between the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, bombings in Baghdad and elsewhere in the Middle East that seem to barely generate any news coverage, or the killings in Orlando just a couple of short weeks ago, the tide of violence and prejudice can feel overwhelming and inescapable. From our social media feed and conversations I've had with many of you, I know our members are experiencing a wide range of emotions right now.

Personally I find myself getting a little numbed to, almost detached from, this seemingly never-ending stream of injustice (which may be easier for me to do than it is for others on account of my privilege). On the other hand, I’m thinking of you all, knowing that many of you are just trying to keep it together right now, while others may just trying to figure out how to show up and be a good ally. And I’m thinking about my biracial niece and nephew, who are babies now, and what life will be like for them as they grow up.

If there’s anything we can do to support you as you’re processing what you’re going through, or as you’re trying to figure out how to respond as a leader for social justice, we’re here.

I also want to encourage you all to look to each other right now. You don’t have to set up a formal event to connect with your peers in EPIP. If you are not a chapter leader, reach out to your chapter leadership (or to us, and we’ll connect you). If you are, you know how to find each other. We don't have to go through this alone.

We’re in the process of figuring out how we show up as a community in support of equity and social justice, including when and how we respond internally and publicly to events like those of the last couple of days and weeks. We’re chewing on questions like: How can we best support our members in these times? What kinds of spaces can we create or support our members in creating? How can we use our blog and communications channels as a platform for response, advocacy and member voices? If you have thoughts on any of these questions -- or if you just want to talk or vent -- we welcome the opportunity to connect with you. You can also share your thoughts electronically, with the option of anonymity, here.

I find hope in the belief that we have the power, individually and collectively, to help make philanthropy a deeper force for equity, justice and compassion in the world. Many of you are already leaders in this movement. We are also blessed to be a part of the CHANGE Philanthropy coalition with partners like ABFE, Funders for LGBTQ Issues and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, who are influencing foundations and moving real dollars to eliminate systemic injustice. I personally believe that this work is adding up to something real and powerful, even if it’s hard to see that today.

Yours With Love,