Hum­boldt Area Foun­da­tion: On race, safety and be­long­ing

Times Standard (Eureka) - - OPINION - By Bryna Lip­per, Kathryn Lo­bato, Mary Keehn and Christina Huff Bryna Lip­per is the CEO of Hum­boldt Area Foun­da­tion, Kathryn Lo­bato is the Board Chair and Mary Keehn is the Board Vice-Chair. Christina Huff is the Board Chair of the Hum­boldt Health Foun­dat

There is so much beauty and won­der in this place. So much great tal­ent, kind­ness and cre­ativ­ity, with our abun­dance of en­trepreneur­s, care­givers and artists. We are priv­i­leged to call this rare place on Earth home.

Un­for­tu­nately, the priv­i­lege that many feel to safely and fully pur­sue their lives here is not a shared ex­pe­ri­ence. And it can never be un­til to­gether we heal from our his­tory of harm­ing In­dige­nous, Black, Lat­inx, Asian, and other Peo­ple of Color, and fix the sys­tems that threaten their lives.

Over many years and dur­ing these past days, in­di­vid­u­als across our re­gion have been spurred into ac­tion by tragic events. They an­guish for jus­tice for the mur­ders of Josiah Law­son and Ge­orge Floyd and too many oth­ers to men­tion. Many of our good friends and neigh­bors joined protests or held con­ver­sa­tions at kitchen ta­bles with loved ones. While these per­sonal ac­tions are in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant in com­bat­ting racism, we know it is not enough:

Un­til we rec­og­nize and change the bi­ased sys­tems of jus­tice and law en­force­ment par­tic­u­larly to­ward Black, Lat­inx, and Na­tive peo­ple, we will live in an il­lu­sion of fair­ness. Peo­ple of Color will en­dure pun­ish­ment, bru­tal­ity and sus­pi­cion in­stead of pro­tec­tion and ser­vice.

Un­less we ex­am­ine and al­ter the sys­temic in­equity in our ed­u­ca­tion, hous­ing, health and eco­nomic sys­tems, we will con­tinue to per­pet­u­ate op­pres­sion, par­tic­u­larly in the lives of Black, Brown, and Na­tive peo­ple, and with it the fal­lacy that our so­ci­ety is one of equal op­por­tu­nity.

If we do not ad­dress the sys­tems that sup­press the choices and am­plify the voices of our Black, In­dige­nous, Lat­inx, and our many Asian com­mu­ni­ties of color by fail­ing to rec­og­nize each is our own—our neigh­bors, our fam­i­lies, our pro­fes­sors, our class­mates, our farm­ers, our col­leagues, our friends—then we have lost the priv­i­lege of our hu­man­ity.

Be­cause we be­lieve our ac­tions are in­fin­itely more im­por­tant than our words, the Hum­boldt

Area Foun­da­tion, Wild Rivers Com­mu­nity Foun­da­tion, and Hum­boldt Health Foun­da­tion pledges to con­tinue and in­crease our ef­forts, in­clud­ing:

1. Pro­vide a brave train­ing and learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment for any­one in­ter­ested in learn­ing about racism in its many forms, and about many top­ics where sys­temic bias leads to in­jus­tice. Also, where help­ful, we and our part­ners can of­fer pri­vate train­ing to groups and pro­vide confidenti­al space for ex­pres­sion and learn­ing.

2. In­crease fund­ing to Black, Brown, and mi­nor­ity led-or­ga­ni­za­tions with gen­eral op­er­at­ing sup­port in our re­gion. We will also pro­vide no-cost lead­er­ship devel­op­ment and ca­pac­ity build­ing to Black, Brown and mi­nor­ity lead­ers run­ning or­ga­ni­za­tions who seek such re­sources to achieve their goals.

3. Im­prove eq­uity and rep­re­sen­ta­tion on our board and in our lead­er­ship team, and eval­u­ate how we em­body our val­ues and sup­port Peo­ple of Color in their pro­fes­sional path of choice. We have al­ready be­gun re­view­ing di­ver­sity and rep­re­sen­ta­tion cri­te­ria for our board of di­rec­tors and staff re­cruit­ing pro­cesses. We com­mit to mon­i­tor­ing and adapt­ing how that leads to greater out­comes of di­ver­sity and gov­er­nance.

4. We will help sup­port and fa­cil­i­tate lo­cal pub­lic sec­tor pol­icy-mak­ing, re­form, lead­er­ship devel­op­ment, and ac­count­abil­ity when we be­lieve we have faith­ful part­ners in gov­ern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions that deeply im­pact Peo­ple of Color.

5. Deep­en­ing how we use our lo­cal in­vest­ment port­fo­lio to cap­i­tal­ize or­ga­ni­za­tions led by and in ser­vice of com­mu­ni­ties of color. We will also of­fer no-cost lend­ing and bor­row­ing guid­ance to ap­pli­cant or­ga­ni­za­tions who need debt-re­lated fi­nan­cial devel­op­ment.

6. We will con­tinue our in­ter­nal bias and eq­uity devel­op­ment and re­struc­ture our or­ga­ni­za­tion so that our ef­forts are not pe­riph­eral but em­bed­ded in our ev­ery­day work and de­ci­sions. Our board of di­rec­tors com­mit to do­ing ad­di­tional learn­ing and devel­op­ment as gov­er­nors of our re­gional foun­da­tion.

7. Of­fer sup­port and re­sources to our re­gion’s pub­lic or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­sti­tu­tions gen­uinely seek­ing to change their sys­tems in­clud­ing law en­force­ment, school dis­tricts and elected of­fi­cials to men­tion a few.

8. Care for our re­gion’s Chil­dren of Color by am­pli­fy­ing schol­ar­ships, in­tern­ships, and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. We will also in­vest in, men­tor, nur­ture and coach Young Peo­ple of Color to be­come lead­ers in phi­lan­thropy for the next gen­er­a­tion.

We rec­og­nize our pledges can­not re­pair the past or bring back lives, and that no phil­an­thropic ac­tion will be suf­fi­cient to this task. So we in­vite our whole re­gion to join us — from Brook­ings in South­ern Ore­gon, to Cres­cent City, and from Weavervill­e to Gar­berville — to build a re­gion where Black, Brown, Na­tive, Lat­inx, Asian, and other Com­mu­ni­ties of Color share a sense of be­long­ing, eq­uity and jus­tice — and mat­ter.

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