We share sorrow and outrage over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and too many others, as well as the desire to address the systemic inequities that plague our society.
Last year, knowing that Impact100 Philadelphia had not done enough — not nearly enough — to address racial equity in both our membership and our grantmaking, we formed a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Below is a heartfelt exchange that occurred last weekend among members of the DEI Committee.
After the horrible events of this last week, and the unveiling of the disparate impact of the pandemic on communities of color, I feel the need to reach out to you to express my sorrow and thank you for your commitment to serve on this DEI committee.
I feel heavy with the acknowledgment of not knowing where to begin on a personal level to help make our society a just society for all human beings and also how we proceed with Impact’s journey.
Thank you for sharing this. I must admit that for as numb as I thought I was to these types of tragedies, I feel a complete sense of despair that this is coming on top of the high mortality rates for African Americans who contract COVID-19. It’s been weighing heavily on my heart that the rest of the country decided it was time to go about their lives again because this virus wasn’t affecting their populations as badly. It confirms the fact that we are not seen as Americans, much less as “normal people.” To have the events of the last week compound this notion makes me as a black woman feel powerless.
I appreciate what you and other leaders of Impact have started with this DEI committee.
If there is any advice I can offer in moving forward, it is to dig deep and do the hard work of identifying and confronting the root causes of the issues we face as an organization, philanthropy, and women of a certain socio-economic level in Philadelphia.
It will be hard work and it should be hard work. It will be emotionally taxing and the early rewards may not seem to come, but it is more than worth it to endure this exercise and create a truly inclusive and equitable organization. People of color, we already do this type of hard work on a daily basis in our lives, so it is not something that you can not engage in and grow from.
I would like to offer two actions that you, and I hope other Impact100 members, can take.
1. I have encouraged my network to commit to supporting black-led, black-serving organizations. Here are a few I have donated to and I hope you can join me:
2. Read this great resource for white people to use to engage in anti-racism work:
As an organization, we promise to do more to combat prejudice and systemic racism through our philanthropy. We will devote more energy, time and funding to seeking racial justice and racial equity. We will “dig deep and do the hard work of identifying and confronting the root causes of the issues we face as an organization, philanthropy, and women of a certain socio-economic level in Philadelphia.” We promise to do more, not just this week and this month, but in all the weeks, months, and years to come.
We stand in solidarity with the Black community and with all Americans who have been marginalized in our country. We are one nation. It is time that we have liberty and justice for all.