Giving Compass' Take:

• Vu Le argues that foundations and nonprofits need to embrace advocacy to address the ongoing, systemic social justice problems highlighted by COVID-19. 

• What information, partnerships, and resources do you need to engage in advocacy effectively? Who is already working in this area that you could support? 

• Learn about supporting racial justice leaders

The news has been bleak. Systemic racism means Black folks are disproportionately dying from Covid. Day laborers and domestic workers are starving. Problems Native Americans are facing are exacerbated. An Asian woman was ambushed, acid splashed onto her face while she took out the trash, one of many examples of the rise in hate crimes against API folks. Domestic violence has increased. Clueless celebrities, meanwhile, from their luxurious mansions, jokingly compare their experience to being incarcerated, oblivious to the racism and cruelty of the prison system.

In our sectors, nonprofits are stretched to the limit, dealing with the heartbreaking situations their communities are facing, while simultaneously being in heartbreaking situations themselves. Many foundations have stepped up. Some 600 have signed a pledge promising to make it easier for nonprofits during this time. Some have greatly increased their payouts. Others hunker down, preferring to prioritize preserving their assets—for a future when things get even worse than this, I guess; I’m sure when the earth is a completely uninhabitable post-apocalyptic wasteland, scattered groups of warring cannibals will be glad that those foundations are still around giving out grants.

I know everyone is busy dealing with all sorts of critical issues (or refusing to see reality and doing nothing but maintaining status quo), but let’s stop for a moment. We are at risk of learning all the wrong lessons from this horrifying global nightmare. Yes, the lessons that we are all in this together, and that our lives are interconnected, and that inequity hurts all of us and not just the marginalized—those are all great, but they are dangerous if we use them to continue to be in denial of a much more critical lesson: The only way we can make a dent in social justice is if progressive nonprofits and foundations get over our disdain of politics and fully embrace using it to change unjust systems.

Read the full article about advancing social justice by Vu Le at Nonprofit AF.