On Election Day, millions of Americans made their voices heard, choosing democracy over demagoguery in the largest voter turnout in over a century. Still, for those hoping for a widespread repudiation of the politics of hate and fear, this victory is tempered by the deep division that exists throughout the country. Many Americans voted for a presidential candidate who has spent the past four years enacting harmful immigration policies, attempting to stifle and demonize racial justice movements, limiting rights for the LGBTQ community, and more. So while we celebrate the outcome and champion the movement work that brought more people to the polls than we’ve seen in our lifetimes, we recognize that even a moment of victory is but a moment. It will require continuous forward movement and conscious effort to create long-lasting change. We still have work to do.
As we said before the election, no one person is going to lead us to the liberated future that many of us yearn for. Manifesting that future will be a collaborative effort, with each of us doing our part to build something better for those who come after us. The philanthropic sector’s increased efforts to respond to the crises of 2020 and to address racial inequities must continue beyond this year. Philanthropy must continue to make a long-term investment in communities of color, provide grantees with unrestricted funding, invest in BIPOC-led organizations, and see grantees as partners in the work to create change.
The struggles that we have faced this year – COVID-19, the extrajudicial murder of Black people at the hands of police, and economic inequity and loss – remain, and so too must the commitment to fund the movements working towards justice. This is especially important now, as the current administration continues to fight the results of the presidential election and stoke anger that can easily put organizers, activists, and people of color in danger. As a sector, now is the time to remain vigilant, focusing on the long-term goal of a future free of oppression and fear-mongering, where individuals and their communities have the necessary resources and agency to thrive.
Each of you plays a part in shaping change for the sake of creating a better future. If an election teaches us nothing else, it is that individual actions can make an enormous collective impact. Regardless of the titles you carry or the amount of formal authority at your disposal, you have power – we have power. There is power in the relationships held within our institutions and with grantee partners, power in the moments when we bring equity to the forefront of our work, power in our ability to amplify the work of activists, organizers, and non-profits on the frontline of change, and power in speaking hard truths which challenge us to unpack assumptions and practices which perpetuate harm.
Time and opportunity wait for no one and a brighter tomorrow is calling. Let’s get to work.