Road to Abolition

The Communities for Just Schools Fund (CJSF) and the Andrus Family Fund (AFF) hosted a virtual plenary session on December 2, 2020 as part of their Education Anew: Shifting Justice (EASJ) convening. “The Road to Abolition” featured movement organizers and leaders who shared strategies and victories that are leading us toward abolition.

Speakers:
Monifa Bandele, Movement for Black Lives, Policy Table
Erin Cloud, Movement for Family Power
Zachary Norris, Ella Baker Center
Ashley Sawyer, Girls for Gender Equity
Nyoka Acevedo, Andrus Family Fund (Moderator)

Resources:
Movement for Family Power on child welfare system abolition
Movement for Family Power
Slideshow on anti-carceral feminism and education justice
GGE Assault At Map
Critical Resistance
Defund the Police Toolkit
The M4BL Vision for Black Lives
The Breathe Act

Black Lives Matter, today and every day

The following is a statement co-signed by our Director, Manuela Arciniegas, who serves as the co-chair of Funders for Justice.

We say their names: Breonna Taylor in Louisville, KY, George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN, Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, GA, Tony McDade in Tallahassee, FL.

We Stand in Solidarity: Funders for Justice stands in solidarity with protestors in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, and in cities across the country, fighting for the lives and freedom for all Black people. We know that communities are powerful, and will dream and fight for the transformative justice in which together we create the new world we all need. As funders, our mandate is to fund communities rising up against state violence, and to continue to fund as communities build the power and momentum for long-term change.  

We Must Continue to Challenge White Supremacy: While police killed unarmed Black people over and over again, we witnessed no police response to armed white nationalists posted in front of state capital buildings and yelling in the faces of security guards, demanding an end to shelter in place because they wanted to get a haircut and go out in public without a mask.   

Stand with Black Women Essential Workers: Breonna Taylor was a young Black woman who was an EMT – an essential worker already risking her life during a pandemic. Yet we repeatedly witness evidence that the state does not protect or respect the people, especially Black women, risking their lives to save others. Essential workers are already facing dangerous conditions, with extremely limited protection equipment, low pay, often dangerous commutes to work, and then in turn endangering their families. That Breonna was one of the latest casualties of state violence is profoundly painful.   

How to Support Protestors: We encourage you to fund communities directly, including at times when groups are not able to fill out even a short proposal or form because they are leading protests in the streets. We encourage you to give now however your foundation is able – including getting creative in mobilizing resources – perhaps to use your foundation’s expense account to send money for needed supplies like water and food. And, we encourage everyone reading this to make a personal donation, because as FFJ members we all come to the work we do as the full people that we are: part of communities fighting in resistance, part of communities fighting for survival, part of communities taking action in solidarity.

Invest/ Divest Now: While millions of local dollars are cut from city budgets – in youth programs, health services, and education, among others – due to shortfalls, the police unions/associations continue to push for more money and more police. Yet police are not saving people in this pandemic – they are policing, fining, and sending people to jail – mostly Black people. The federal administration has refused to send more supplies and funding to medical workers and other frontline workers, while increasing funding to police-related spending and private security guards.  

We All Have A Mandate: Philanthropy’s mandate to support communities in living healthy and free lives means funding both the public infrastructure that keeps communities safe – like health care, housing, and education –  and funding the people, organizations, and the movements rising up against police violence and building power to defund the police, prisons, ICE, and detention centers. Philanthropy must support divest/invest campaigns and other abolitionist strategies, because nothing the police do is meant to ever keep communities of color safe. Now is the time to divest from the police, when cities are cutting budgets and need the funding for community wellness more than any other time. (Check out FFJ’s divest/invest resource for funders and consider how you want to support community safety and justice.) 

Where to donate to support protestors and Black folks organizing for Black Lives in Minneapolis:

This post originally appeared on the Neighborhood Funders Group site here. Funders For Justice is a program of NFG.

Andrea Vazquez Jimenez on Removing Cops from Schools in Toronto

We believe removing law enforcement from schools is a step in the right direction to fostering a safe learning environment for young people of color. While the movement grows in the United States, it has already been implemented in Canada.

During Education Anew: Shifting Justice 2018, we had the opportunity to speak with Andrea Vasquez Jimenez of LAEN Toronto about how her organization spearheaded the movement to remove school resource officers from Toronto District Schools.

Learning Session: The Role that Trauma-Informed Interventions Play Working with Police

AFF’s learning sessions are an opportunity to highlight the work of our grantees and other leaders in the field, as well as a chance to help convene funders and practitioners to continue learning. Through these sessions, we seek to create a learning community that can help advance effective practices in service of all young people.

This first session focuses on the role that trauma-informed interventions play in the work that these particular partners do in working with police to reduce violence in communities and repair community and police relations with young people.

We are joined by Vaughn Crandall of California Partnerships for Safer Communities, Fatima Muhammad of Equal Justice USA and Pastor Mike of the PICO National Network.