Weeping may last for the night but rejoicing comes in the morning.
As we emerge from the collective trauma of these past 19 months and assess the post-apocalyptic world and our own lives, it is clear healing and rebuilding will take time. Over a two-day visit to Fresno and Raisin City, California — in the most rural parts of the Valley — conversations with Latino families and community leaders were laced with stories of husbands committing suicide because they lost their jobs, best friends overdosing because they had lost someone to COVID, and a young man who, thankfully, failed his last attempt to end a life riddled with hopelessness.
Yet, there are rays of light shining through as we emerge from this dark tunnel we have been forced to walk through. Change is coming, hope rising again — it is palpable. The response by the Biden administration to infuse resources to accelerate vaccinations, reboot the economy, and invest in the rebuilding of our cities and states through the American Rescue Plan and infrastructure package is promising. Communities of color have mobilized for a more just and equitable future and their efforts are yielding results. In mid-2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom committed a $6 billion investment to expand broadband access, augmented small business relief to $5 billion, and sent out state-based stimulus checks to low-income workers regardless of immigration status. These are the type of bold investments needed to transform the life of communities of color and immigrant families.
Repeatedly, the message to political leaders and policy and decision makers from our Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian, and other community leaders of color has been consistent: a return to “the way things were” pre-COVID is unacceptable. The call to action is being heeded. The question for the philanthropic community is how these potentially transformative resources will be leveraged with the speed and urgency the moment requires. It must be said (repeatedly!), this is certainly not the time for the drawn-out strategic planning processes that so many of us get caught up in. We simply cannot afford to wait to do our part to ensure these once-in-a-generation public investments reach communities of color.
Here are just a few opportunities for philanthropy to fast-track results that can potentially yield the social change we all long to see in our lifetime:
1. Invest Boldly in Black- and Latino-Led Organizations.
2. Invest in Increasing the Civic and Economic Power in Communities of Color
3. Invest in Healing as a Form of Long-Term Sustainability
Read the full article about recovering from the pandemic by Jacqueline Martinez Garcel and Dr. Robert Ross at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.