George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Ahmaud Arbery. Rayshard Brooks. Their lives, among so many lost before them, mattered. We carry a duty to act in their memory because they still matter.
In the past few weeks, the world has witnessed the response to an ongoing crisis of police brutality against Black communities in the United States. The passionate protests taking place around the world represent a breaking point, manifesting the accumulation of generations of mistreatment and violence. This moment invites all of us to pause and reflect inward, to come to terms with our history, to not be silent, to listen, to act, and to acknowledge the injustice endured by Black and Indigenous people around the world. It is clear that the work to be done in the U.S. is not just to address systemic racism, but also the personally reinforced culture that allows these crimes to continue.
Though these events were sparked in American cities and towns, they have become a global rallying cry. With a team and community of partners from across the African continent and the U.S., this movement carries deep and intersectional significance for us all. We would like to speak directly to our community members, for whom this moment carries painful reminders of the indelible effects of racism, oftentimes manifesting as violence through oppressive indifference in their everyday lives and professions.
Philanthropy’s intention is to improve the human condition through the redistribution of resources. At Segal Family Foundation, we strive to build a community of creative and visionary leaders—and we’ve always believed that fighting for fairness is vital to deliver the impact we’ve committed to reach. Given the privilege of our role in funding, the dangers of white supremacist ideology are deeply personal to us, because they are directly connected to the discrimination that beleaguers the work of our community’s leaders. Our foundation has committed to support and amplify African-led solutions to African problems as a response to the systemic inequity in philanthropic funding. We feel it necessary to make clear that the work of our team is not only to advocate for the redistribution of wealth globally but also the redistribution of power.
As the Black Lives Matter movement highlights the failure of the United States to deliver on its promises of freedom and justice for all, so too are many demanding the acknowledgement that the international social impact sector has long failed to deliver on its stated values. It’s imperative that we challenge and dismantle the racism and persistent neo-colonial attitudes that are a daily and deeply embedded presence in nonprofit and social impact work, starting with our own. Segal Family Foundation recognizes that it is our highest responsibility to continue to address how these issues manifest in our work and within our own team.
We know there is no statement that, in and of itself, can truly affirm solidarity with Black and Indigenous peoples. Rather, this is a message we must deliver through our actions. Solidarity must come from us not only in our words and intentions, but through how we allocate our resources, whose voices we elevate, and whose authority we defer to and why. We welcome any feedback on what we can do to better incorporate these practices into our daily work.
Community has always been the strongest pillar of our foundation. In this historic time, we are turning to it again to encourage honest and challenging conversation. This will require the embrace of deep discomfort and humanity. Our bonds are, as they have always been, our greatest strength.