Giving Compass' Take:

• Funders for Justice (FFJ) interviewed Zachary Norris, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, about how to move forward in 2018 with movements that garner support for social justice and transformation. 

• Norris talks about how good organizing takes time, as do effective campaigns.  What resources are available to individuals if they are interested in community organizing in their neighborhood?

• Read about why social movements need philanthropic support. 

In the spring of 2017, Funders for Justice (FFJ) launched its inaugural advisory committee—nine field leaders recognized for their leadership in community power-building, racial and gender justice, police accountability campaigns, and anti-criminalization movements. We asked them to share their insights on the current political climate, how we can build a vision for the world we want, and what funders can do in this moment. This month, FFJ staff interviewed Zachary Norris, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.

What are some of the ways that the Ella Baker Center (EBC) connects its local work with national movements? 

Recognizing the need for a visionary approach to the challenges facing all communities under attack by the new political regime, EBC, Enlace, and Black Alliance for Just Immigration (organizations with decades of experience organizing and advocating for women, Black and immigrant families, and poor and low-wage workers), have united to initiate Freedom Cities. Freedom Cities is an emerging movement that seeks to make cities, towns, and communities safe for all oppressed people in the U.S.

What should funders be doing in this moment to support social change and transformation work over the immediate moment, and sustain it over the longer term? 

Don't give up if you don't see a change right away. Good organizing takes time. The Ella Baker Center helped lead a campaign to close five out of eight youth prisons in California, without diminishing public safety. The campaign took nearly a decade, yet the investment was worth it. Longterm victories like these tend to have an outsized impact because they shift the boundaries of the possible.

Read the full article about social justice initiatives by Angelica Ramirez at Neighborhood Funders Group.