Giving Compass' Take:
- Zachary Norris, Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, discusses his leadership and how community power-building is facilitating tangible social change.
- How are you supporting community power-building initiatives? Why is empowerment an essential part of driving successful community development initiatives?
- Read about how participatory grantmaking builds community power.
What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
In the spring of 2017, Funders for Justice (FFJ) launched its inaugural cohort of Advisors – 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 ways that 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, Enlace, Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, 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. Freedom Cities was conceived by those directly affected by policies that incarcerate, displace, and marginalize communities of color. We believe that communities will only be safe when everyone lives with dignity and has the opportunity to thrive without fear of physical violence, racial injustice, and economic oppression at the hands of greedy corporations, white supremacists, or the government.
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 change right away. Good organizing takes time. The Ella Baker Center helped lead a campaign to close 5 of 8 CA youth prisons, without diminishing public safety. In fact, I think young people are better off as a result. The campaign took nearly a decade. Yet the investment was worth it. Longterm victories like these tend to have outsized impact because they shift the boundaries of the possible.
Read the full article about how community movements can bring about change at Funders for Justice