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Nonviolent protests sparked by the murder of Black people (George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others) are filling the streets of more than 400 cities, all to proclaim a simple truth: Black Lives Matter. Remember the police response to far-right armed militia who stormed state capitals demanding the right to bad haircuts during COVID? That’s right, you don’t, because it was totally peaceful. Contrast that with the violent, aggressive, and instigating response of police to the Black Lives Matter protesters. They have been met by batons, tear gas, rubber bullets, flash-bangs, and beatings.
Worse still, officials paint the protesters as the cause of the problem. The vast majority of these protests have been peaceful, but nonviolent protest has never equated to peaceful protest. Nonviolence is a powerful practice when these amazing Black, Brown, Native, Asian, White, cis, gay, trans, people with disabilities, young and old protesters solemnly assert their right to be, to breathe, to live free of humiliation, abject poverty, and domination. And in refusing to bow down, they so infuriate the police that those forces who claim to protect and serve us publicly show the world the violence they usually reserve only for those oppressed communities. Nonviolence is a strategy of making this state-sponsored violence visible.
Our resources pale in comparison to government’s, but we can do our part to change the course of this country’s future by funding Black-led organizations right now. This means making more grants to people who are literally defending the ideals of our democracy with their bodies. We can and must support them now. A flood of grants to these groups from individual donors, corporations, and foundations will send a signal that no matter how uncomfortable it might make our boards feel, we stand beside the people our foundations were created to help.
Read the full article about a call to foundations by Crystal Hayling at National Center for Family Philanthropy.