To operationalize racial equity throughout our practices, we must be radically different than the philanthropy of previous generations. Many of us need to evolve our internal practices and culture, in addition to bringing a racial equity lens to our grantmaking. We must be laser focused on the deepest, most complex ways in which racism permeates political, cultural, and economic norms; how that manifests inside our organizations; and what is required to truly uproot it.

This kind of transformation requires us to grapple individually and collectively with our histories of racism, exclusion, and oppression. It requires us to see our own power and privilege and how they are intricately linked to the liberation of others. It requires us to build our individual and collective capacity to dig deeply into the history of slavery, racism, and capitalism and its connection to our current wealth accumulation. And, it requires us to build our individual and collective imagination about what could be.

In a phrase, it requires collective personal transformation. It requires all of us.

So how do we do this? I am learning that it requires learning — and unlearning — what is deeply ingrained. As a daughter of immigrants and an immigrant myself, growing up I was surrounded with messages that privileged whiteness. From ideas of mejorar la raza (a common phrase used in Latin American countries and communities in the U.S., which means “improve the race”) to persistent anti-blackness sentiments, race and racism were always present. It has taken me a long time to understand my own internalized oppression and it has taken a lot of work to learn, reflect, unlearn, and change my own practices. And the journey continues.

Read the full article about a racial equity lens for philanthropy by Anna Cruz at The Center for Effective Philanthropy.