Aug
27
2014

Hello, Resource Generation! My name is Iimay (pronounced “ee-may”) Ho and I joined the staff as the new Associate Director in mid August. I have the great honor and challenge of filling Mike Gast’s shoes as he transitions to life after RG. I’m thrilled to be leading our fundraising and assisting Jessie with organizational development to ensure that RG is a healthy, sustainable, effective organization.

I’m based in Washington, DC and have lived here for the past 6 years. I was born and raised in Cary, North Carolina, and identify as a Southerner. Barbecue, sweet tea, and the NC State Fair hold a special place in my heart. Growing up Asian American with immigrant parents in the South politicized me early – I got a lot of messages growing up that I didn’t belong. My experiences of racism were buffered by my family’s wealth and class privilege and my strong ties to my large extended family. Spending summers in NJ with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, I knew that there was always a place of refuge for me.

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Post written by RG staff and board members. Special thank you to board member Nakisha Lewis for kicking this into action. We also released a press release titled “Young People with Wealth Stand in Solidarity with Ferguson, Mo.” inspired by this post.

At Resource Generation, we are deeply saddened and outraged over the death of yet another young Black man at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael Brown’s cold-blooded killing has inspired days of protests in Ferguson’s Black community, met with a militarized response and heavy repression from St. Louis Police.

As many of us know, this is the product of institutionalized racism. We remember Trayvon Martin and so many others, and we know there will be more until we stop the killing of Black men, women, and transgender people, and uproot racism and white supremacy from every institution, community, heart, mind, and action.

The sort of rage and response we see in the Ferguson community did not develop overnight- it was born out of generations of oppression and the gutting of resources from Black communities. Continue reading

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Aug
12
2014

Iris Brilliant is the new Family Philanthropy and Impact Investing Organizer at Resource Generation. She grew up in the Marin County, CA and currently lives in a seven-person collective in Oakland, CA. Her first praxis group at RG was so transformative that it continues to meet, even after two years. She then joined the Bay Area Leadership Team, where she formed the first ever Jewish Praxis group, which explored the intersection of class privilege and Jewish identity and history. With a family background in philanthropy, Iris has been immersed in the philanthropic world since the age of fourteen, and has often found herself to be one of a few young adults at philanthropic conferences. As a result, she is passionate about supporting the leadership development of young adults in the philanthropic world and their implementation of social change values and practices into philanthropy. Previously, Iris was an editor at Make/shift Magazine, a feminist magazine based in Los Angeles,CA, and an intern at the Catalyst Project, a white anti-racist organization in San Francisco, CA.

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When I arrived at Stanford two years ago, I had a pretty naive view of how the world worked.  My parents worked hard so that my sister and I could go to good schools and participate in lots of extracurricular activities, and then I worked hard so I could go to a school like Stanford.  Let’s just say that my white upper-class upbringing didn’t teach me much about global systems of oppression.

During my first year of college, my understanding of the world changed drastically.  In my dorm, talking about identity, discrimination, and injustice late into the night was common. We discussed really tough subjects I had never paid much attention before, like sexual assault and the racial wealth divide.

Often these conversations were incredibly uncomfortable.  My peers would share with me their experiences with poverty or domestic violence or racial profiling and I would have no idea what to do or say in response. My temptation was to say “I totally understand” but I really didn’t.

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RG staff is growing! We are so excited to feature two of our new staff and check back next month when we will feature more!

Emil Paddison, National Organizer
I’m Emil Paddison, RG’s new National Organizer. I’ll be working to support chapters in Seattle, the Bay Area, Stanford, Denver/Boulder, Chicago, and emerging chapter in Portland. I’ve been involved in Resource Generation since 2010, where I participated in my first praxis group. I have now been in (what I believe is a record) five Praxis groups and on the Seattle leadership team for over two years. I’m a Pacific Northwest native, and I’ve spent the last 10 years working for housing justice as community organizer, tenant counselor, deputy director, and grantwriter for the Tenants Union of Washington State.

My heart is in healing justice work, and I’m being trained ingenerative somatics to support personal and social transformation and healing through embodied leadership of myself and my community.

I love writing music and I am in the band The Nature, whose music is best described as queer musical melodrama. I’ve been transformed both personally and politically through my involvement in RG, and I’m thrilled to be supporting amazing chapter leaders across the country grow and deepen in their work with RG toward powerful leadership for collective action.  Contact me at  emil@resourcegeneration.org!

Kaitlin Gravitt, Campaign and Chapter Organizer
Hi RG!  I’m Kaitlin Gravitt, the new Campaign and Chapter Organizer on staff, soon to new New Yorker, and lover of a daily outdoor life.  Originally from California I have slowly been winding my way up the East Coast and am moving to New York in the fall to work out of the RG office.  I am excited to dig-in, contribute to the innovative work happening at RG, and to build our power from the inside-out in the fight for racial and economic justice.

Growing up in the diversity of Los Angeles, CA during controversial education reform helped me understand the depths of inequality early in my life and drove me to engage in campaigns and build leadership in community – work that I later understood as organizing.  After college I worked for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), organizing mostly Latina in-home child care providers, leading civic engagement and electoral campaigns, and organizing a worker strike at a well known hospital in CA.  I was also lucky enough to work with grassroots organizations all over the country as a regional organizer with the Center for Community Change (CCC).  At CCC, I worked with leaders from diverse grassroots groups locally and nationally to win critically needed changes for immigrant rights, healthcare, and economic justice for low-income people and communities of color.

Some of the things that help me bring my full self to this work are a daily Ashtanga yoga practice, friends that are down to explore new things with me, being in the sun as much as possible, and any excuse to try out a new recipe and share it with others. I am really looking forward to what we can build together here at RG, so always feel free to drop me a line - kaitlin@resourcegeneration.org. Until then!

 

 

 

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“Reducing American poverty and ending white supremacy are not the same.” Ta-Nehisi Coates’s recent article in The Atlantic not only draws attention to the national debate on reparations for slavery, but invokes the centrality of white supremacy as the backbone of wealth inequality in the US.

As Caribbean nations prepare to sue European nations for their history of slavery and genocide, we in RG are called to examine the concept of reparations in our work.

I am relatively new to the RG community, and I currently work as a summer intern. Although I am still learning about the many spokes in this community, I strongly believe that the concept of reparations should play a strong and central role in our work.

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By Alok Vaid-Menon of @DarkMatterRage

This past month I had the privilege to help fundraise for some movement organizations that I love (including Audre Lorde Project, Queer Detainee Empowerment Project, Streetwise and Safe, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, and FIERCE!) as part of GIVE OUT DAY an annual day of supporting LGBTQ organizations. All of these organizations center issues facing low income queer and trans people of color. In a funding climate that offers gay marriage as the panacea for queer people and legal equality as the solution for people of color, you can imagine that it’s very difficult for organizations like these to sustain their work. Grassroots support from folks like you and me go a long way in allowing these organizations not only to continue their crucial work, but also to have the freedom to self-determine political agendas.

I wasn’t always this excited about fundraising. I only recently developed my passion for this craft. You see I was one of those ‘radical’ thinkers that thought that any conversation about money was about capitalist culture (and therefore automatically problematic). As I began to organize more I recognized that what I thought were my radical anti-capitalist politics was really my class privilege. I grew up in a family with two PhD parents where we were taught to pursue knowledge at all costs. Accordingly, I’ve always had the financial security to discuss political theory in the abstract, without facing the material consequences of these ideas. In these spaces ‘radical’ is less about your actual impact (ability to redistribute capital and resources) and more about the quality and ambition of your argument. What such ‘radical’ theory often refuses to question is how many of us have the privilege to not think about money and organizing because we have institutional affiliation at private universities that give us money to travel and do our work. I didn’t have to worry about the costs to and from political meetings, because I had enough money to sustain my life (housing, food, etc.) outside of my ‘political work.’

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July 2nd, 2014- today marks fifty years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted. In honor of this history, I’d like to tip my hat towards those foundations who funded the civil rights movement that helped make this legislation possible, as part of RG’s Rich Role Models series and RG’s larger vision of fostering social change philanthropy.

While the vast majority of the country’s 12,000 foundations failed to work towards racial justice (the movement relied mostly on individual giving), the following 4 foundations were the strongest foundational supporters of the movement. Some funders  severed ties with family and community in order to push for a more just world. Others successfully fostered community around their values.

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On May 17, members of Philadelphia’s RG Chapter turned out to the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education rally to demand more funding for public schools, charter school accountability, shutting down the school to prison pipeline and returning schools to local control. Heather, a member of of this chapter who was at the rally, says that the chapter is starting to work on the fight for fair funding for public schools.

“We were slightly worried before we showed up–is this the right place for us, our message,” Heather says. “The other folks there were mostly union members, and a handful of student and parent groups. But we went for it, and we were surprised by how well we were received. One of the first people who saw us came up and took our picture, and heartfeltly said, ‘That’s the best sentiment I’ve seen in years.’”

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Jun
19
2014

Reposted from The Huffington Post

The American middle class is shrinking. The financial divide between the ultra-moneyed and the rest of society is widening. As that gap grows, it becomes harder and harder for people on each side of that divide to break through to connect with people on the other side. It becomes easier to demonize people from “the other side” than to actually connect with them.

I envision a society where everyone has value as a human. A society where the amount of money a person has has no bearing on how much respect they get or don’t get.

To begin creating that society, I start by exploring my own mentality that prevents that society from existing. Let’s call it the “1% mentality.” That name refers to the kind of thinking that allows the financially wealthiest 1% of American society to maintain overwhelming power. But anyone with any amount of money can exhibit this mentality.

When I’m under the influence of the 1% mentality, I find myself believing that the amount of money a person has accurately represents their value as a person. When I pass a banker and a homeless woman on the street, I tend to pay more attention and be more deferential to the banker. And I find that I automatically give more respect to money-earning work than I do to unpaid or barely paid work (such as parenting, community organizing, or volunteering).

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