This post is a part I of a three part blog series and RG campaign, “It Starts Today: Moving $1 Million to Black-Led, Black Liberation Organizing.” Click here for more info on the campaign.

Written by: Lily Andrews, bex kolins, Jason Rodney, and Jen Willsea

http://joyeuse.deviantart.com/art/Solidarity-of-Love-55201802

Image taken from http://joyeuse.deviantart.com/art/Solidarity-of-Love-55201802

 

“We fight in the name of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, killed by Detroit Police at the age of 7 years old, who never got to graduate from elementary school. We fight in the name of Mike Brown, who was killed by officer Darren Wilson, weeks before starting college.  We fight in the name of Islan Nettles, a 21 year old Black trans woman who was pummeled to death outside a NYC police station in Harlem.”

- State of the Black Union, by BlackLivesMatter¹

 

 

 

In the midst of everything, this blog post is a call to let our attention rest on one fact: the struggle for Black lives continues to move. Are we moving with it?

In the Resource Generation community, we believe this moment is a tipping point for the Black liberation movement.  As four young white folks with access to wealth, and the authors of this blog post, we believe that it is incumbent that we show up and make an investment in what promises to be a pivotal moment in our lives and in the movement for Black lives.

This is why we are going to move $1 million to Black-led organizing for Black liberation by May 20th, 2015. 

Are you in?  Make a commitment to give and be involved.

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May 20th, 2015 would have been Mike Brown’s 19th birthday. Where were you on your 19th birthday? At college? Studying abroad? Had you already been told of the money you would inherit from your family, or had you already received your first financial gift?

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This post is a part of the blog series and RG campaign, “It Starts Today: Moving $1 Million to Black-Led, Black Liberation Organizing.” Click here for more info on the campaign.

What can we as Resource Generation members do to show up for Selma, Alabama and the U.S. South, 50 years after the height of the Civil Rights Movement shook our nation? With rampant rollbacks of hard-won civil rights victories – most notably the gutting of the Voting Rights Act; a dramatic lack of funding for grassroots organizing; aggressive attacks on immigrants; stalwart segregation; and high poverty rates, how can RG members engage in meaningful, accountable, cross-regional funding that supports the South and the rest of the country?

Selma

The delegates (missing Robyn (volunteer) and Lily (volunteer-delegate)!

These were the questions we held as a Resource Generation delegation to the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the Voting Rights Act in Selma, Alabama, organized by the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice (ACIJ). We still don’t have all the answers, but we did come away with concrete action steps, in response to our goals:

  • to seed long-term relationships between donors/funders and grassroots organizers in the South, by giving to a growing partnerships working toward Black&Brown unity
  • to foster cross-regional solidarity in funding, through hosting fundraising parties in our home cities
  • to educate ourselves about the role of the South in the national movement landscape, and to report-back to others about what we learned
  • to ground ourselves in Civil Rights history and present-day racial justice struggles.

Throughout the weekend, we studied the movement landscape of the South; investigated the current work of immigrant and African-American organizers to build Black-Brown unity; and considered our role in movement building, as donors invested in movements for racial justice at home and in Alabama. Continue reading

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membershiprecruitmentLast year at the 2014 Transformative Leadership Institute, we tried a small experiment that I borrowed from my last job at KFTC.  It was called “Each One Reach One” and it was our first official trial of an organized member recruiting members program here at RG. TLI participants greeted the idea with a lot of enthusiasm and it was a fun and great way to gauge where some of our leaders were around building RG power collectively. By the end of the trial, five new members joined and an additional three more joined later on due to an initial ask from one of our leaders.

Why was this project important? Building a dues-paying base of members who fund their own organization is a measure of our power, investment, and commitment to this work. Our movement is built on what each of us can give in time and resources. It’s not a new strategy. As RG’s Program Director Sarah Abbott once said, it’s an age-old strategy cultivated and used by many other leaders before us who have laid the groundwork for this work to happen.  At RG, we are really blessed to have a robust and committed membership base and it’s made a lot of phenomenal work possible. However, we have some pretty ambitious goals and to reach them, we’ll need to grow.

Since the Each One Reach One campaign, the staff here at RG have worked to weave language around membership into all of our areas of work . We had some great member leaders reach out and recruit friends and family during the fall campaign and we are seeing our numbers exceed previous years. We exceeded our goal of recruiting 50 new members before the end of the year. Right now we have 332 members and we are on track to growing to 600 strong by 2020.

Two RGers that really dug into base-building and membership recruitment this fall were our Family Philanthropy organizer Iris Brilliant and Western Massachusetts chapter leader Adam Roberts. I caught up with them to ask a few question on their work.

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I’m writing to share with you about a movement-building delegation in the deep South. As someone who is helping to organize this delegation, I want to invite RG members to join us in Alabama the first week of March.

I’m a pretty new Resource Generation member, living in Birmingham, Alabama. I am helping the Alabama Coalition for Immigrant Justice organize an exciting project: bringing progressive donors to the south to build cross-regional solidarity around funding racial justice grassroots movements.

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As a volunteer on this delegation, I am excited to warmly and boldly invite the RG community to come out to Selma, AL this March for “Investing in Deep South Movements: Investing in the Nation!”

This delegation is a political education and relationship-building opportunity for folks seeking to learn and ground in recent Civil Rights History and current Southern struggles for justice.

This delegation is an opportunity to be a part of forming cross-regional alliances that will encourage us all to invest in Southern progressive organizing as we continue to build our movements locally and nationally.

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Selfishly, I hope that RG members will join the delegation because I want your voices here in the South. I want to hear your perspectives and ideas about how we can support critical racial justice organizing in the deep South, and I know that the delegation will be shaped by your presence.

Moreover, I wholeheartedly encourage you to come on this delegation as a mobilization effort in moving $1 Million from the RG community to Black led, Black liberation organizing by May 2015, and in building our long term commitments to racial justice.

Please see all relevant information about the delegation here and below:

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When you bring motivated, passionate Resource Generation chapter leaders together from across New England, the discussion inevitably turns to tackling difficult, important questions: Thai or Lebanese? (Lebanese) Order pizza or go out to the local Japanese restaurant? (Japanese restaurant).

Jokes aside, by the end of the first ever Northeast regional RG retreat, in addition to delicious meals together, we had laid the foundation for powerful, shared regional goals.

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Our retreat was January 17th and 18th in Boston and was facilitated by Sarah Abbott, Co-Director of National Organizing, with participation from leaders of the Boston, Western Massachusetts, and Vermont chapters of RG. Boston chapter co-leader Abe Lateiner said a main goal of the retreat was to “bring together chapters who until now had been operating in relative isolation and start thinking about how we can support each other or work on shared projects or campaigns.”

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Dear RG Community and Friends,

We are a group of four RG members and leaders who came together over the course of the last few years because:

  1. We want to build a community of young guys with wealth who have close, caring, vulnerable relationships with each other and who organize together;

  2. We want to see more guys showing up ready to support feminist organizing and movement leadership;

  3. We want a world where men no longer control a disproportionate share of the world’s resources: a world where wealth, land and power are shared. (See graphic below on the gender wealth gap from the RG Tax Platform).

We are all cis-men, all white, one gay guy and three straight-ish guys, three who inherited wealth and one who earned wealth through his business.

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kateericaAs the Associate Director of RG, fundraising is one of my main responsibilities. I was nervous in the weeks leading up to our fall fundraising campaign. Not only was it my first appeal, but we also decided to make significant changes to the process.

Yes, my first appeal and we decided to change things. Pretty silly, right? But after receiving feedback from our membership base and broader community, we decided it was important to ask everyone – current, renewing, and expired members – to contribute to RG. This would be a big shift from previous years where we only targeted members who were expiring or expired. We wanted to give everyone a chance to connect with a RG staff or board member about our work, because we care about and depend on that feedback. We also wanted to take the opportunity to personally thank our members for the time, energy, and resources they give to RG. As for our current members, we invited them to give a special gift during the appeal because we know that donating money is an opportunity for members to express their appreciation for and investment in this community.

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Some suggested holiday reading: a few articles to help the RG community continue to understand the connections between the banner of “Black lives matter” (including the origins of the hashtag) to other movements for justice, and what it means to be an ally.

Screen Shot 2015-01-06 at 4.54.04 PM~ 5 Tips for Being an Ally (Chescaleigh: video)

“All [privilege] means is there are some things in life that you will never have to experience or think about, just because of who you are. Its like those horses that have blinders on. They can see just fine, there’s just a whole bunch of stuff on the sides they don’t know exists.”  

 

 

Why Black Lives Matter Should Transform the Climate Debate (Naomi Klein)

“What does #‎BlackLivesMatter, and the unshakable moral principle that it represents, have to do with climate change? Everything. Because we can be quite sure that if wealthy white Americans had been the ones left without food and water for days in a giant sports stadium after Hurricane Katrina, even George W. Bush would have gotten serious about climate change. Similarly, if Australia were at risk of disappearing, and not large parts of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Tony Abbott would be a lot less likely to publicly celebrate the burning of coal as “good for humanity,” as he did on the occasion of the opening of a vast new coal mine. And if my own city of Toronto were being battered, year after year, by historic typhoons demanding mass evacuations, and not Tacloban in the Philippines, we can also be sure that Canada would not have made building tar sands pipelines the centerpiece of its foreign policy.

The reality of an economic order built on white supremacy is the whispered subtext of our entire response to the climate crisis, and it badly needs to be dragged into the light.”

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by Katherine Wolf and Holly Fetter, Members of the New York City RG Chapter’s Giving and Campaign Committees

IMG_8056 (1)Thank you to Maurice Mitchell for attending our chapter event on Tuesday, December 9th and for sharing all your insight and passion. This blog post has been heavily influenced by your analysis and your call to action.

There’s a lot to mourn these days. From the non-indictments of Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo for the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, to the murder of Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old boy who carried a toy gun, there’s a lot of justified grief and outrage. But the regularity of these incidents is not new — a Black person is murdered by a police officer, security guard, or vigilante every 28 hours, often without recourse or retribution. There hasn’t been a sudden surge in this number. The difference now is that people are paying attention.

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takling-cartoonPreparation
My interest in building the Philly chapter lead me to participate in a webinar on ‘How to give an excellent one on one.’ I thought I had never “been one-on-oned” going into the webinar and even mentioned that in my intro. Kaitlin, RG’s Campaign and Chapter Organizer, gave a great webinar while Kate, another Philly Chapter leader, and I watched from her living room. I noticed mid-way through the webinar, that in fact, Kaitlin had just “one-on-oned” me earlier that week! Somewhat embarrassing but we had a good laugh about it chatting after the webinar.

I remember about a year ago, when I was on the other side of the table and I was coming into RG. I was super nervous about having a one-on-one for my entry point for Resource Generation, Philly Chapter. I had gone to the RG website and had a general idea of what RG was about. I thought it seemed like a good fit for me and was anxious to get started.

I had been offered a one-on-one OR the opportunity to participate in an awesome tax campaign call-in day the then nascent Philly Chapter was about to do. Of course, I chose taxes! I’d much rather call strangers on the phone and tell them to tax me more, than talk to a wonderful individual in a one-on-one! For some reason, I thought a one-on-one would be a really intimidating experience, so I avoided it.

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