As we mourn, we continue to fight for our collective liberation.
As we mourn George Floyd on the two-year anniversary of his murder, we also join the country in expressing sorrow and rage for too many others who were murdered and stolen from us, most recently, the 10 Black people killed in Buffalo, New York, and the 19 children and two teachers of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Our hearts are with their loved ones, and with families across the country who are now fearful of taking their children to school, attending church, grocery shopping, or simply existing.
Children deserve to attend school free from the dangers of a mass murderer, and Black people deserve to live free from the constant threat of white supremacy.
Mass shootings, police brutality, and hate crimes should not be normalized, and we can not afford to become desensitized to the constant tragedies in our communities. The increased presence of police in schools, in neighborhoods, and the heavy surveillance that occurs within communities of color has never been the solution.
After George Floyd’s murder by police and the uprisings that followed in 2020—sparked by the murders of Black, trans, and people of color at the hands of the police—hundreds of thousands of people across the country and world took to the streets demanding justice for those slain and a call to defund the police and invest in marginalized communities.
Today, we uplift our grantee partners who continue to serve as visionaries and movement luminaries for radical change, healing, and safety for Black people and communities of color. We believe that the people living at the intersection of race, class, and gender injustice often have the clearest insight into systemic oppression, as well as the best solutions for dismantling it for all people.
“Like many, we have grown tired of the “thoughts and prayers” dialogue surrounding gun violence in this country. We stand united with the majority of Americans who are asking for real, tangible solutions to gun violence through our investment in Black-led organizations doing the on-the-ground work to end the systemic oppression that allows violence against Black communities to exist. We ask our partners in philanthropy to join us.”
In the last two years, our grantee partner, Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) drafted the BREATHE Act in honor of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, as well as many others including Tony McDade, Natasha McKenna, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Elijah McClain, Freddie Gray, Atatiana Jefferson, and Oscar Grant. The bill proposes to divest taxpayer dollars from policing and invest in alternate, community-based approaches to public safety.
Today, the BREATHE Act serves as the basis for several pieces of legislation that bring us closer to that vision. As the first piece of federal legislation that is fully inspired by the BREATHE Act framework, the People’s Response Act will provide vital investments in community and public health-centered approaches to keeping Black people in America safe.
Another grantee partner Black Visions Collective (Minneapolis, MN) energized a global movement to #DefundPolice. Their efforts resulted in nearly $8 million being removed from the budget of the Minneapolis Police Department and reinvested in community-based alternatives such as the Behavioral Response Crisis service. This service offers Minneapolis residents an option to call a team of mental health responders if they witness someone experiencing a behavioral or mental health crisis. The team is composed of staff from Canopy Mental Health and Consulting, a majority Black-owned business.
We are honored to support these organizations, promote solidarity, and continue boldly resourcing the most innovative organizers doing this work. As we reflect, process, and collectively mourn, we call on our philanthropic peers to invest more deeply in these and other Black-led organizations so they can sustainably expand their reach and continue fighting for collective liberation.