(Earlier today, NW Energy Coalition executive director Nancy Hirsh sent the following letter to the Coalition’s members.)
Dear NW Energy Coalition members,
I was concerned that Mr. Floyd’s senseless death, and all those before him, would get swept under the rug yet again. Now we see a massive collective response to systemic racism and the lack of accountability from those who should be protecting us. As a white leader of a predominately white organization, I encourage all of us to acknowledge that institutionalized racism is a white problem. The economic and racial reforms we need are not radical issues. These are central, mainstream, urgent human rights needs. I am committed to creating space within the Coalition for acknowledging these events and the changes that are needed. We also need to support each other. Most importantly, we must encourage everyone to engage and take action as you are able. This is what builds a movement and creates the momentum for change.
We recognize that there are many many excellent resources available for educating yourself and ways to engage and it can feel overwhelming, but this is a start. Here are some resources that may be of help as you chart a path forward for talking within your organization and in your community about race and justice.
- Racial Equity stories (Generocity). Last fall, Generocity published a series on issues of racial equity, including this glossary of terms.
- Vu Le, at the blog Nonprofit AF, writes frequently and forthrightly about race and equity concerns specifically in the context of nonprofits.
- Equity in the Center has a variety of resources onsite that can be helpful to nonprofit professionals, including AWAKE to WOKE to WORK: Building a Race Equity Culture.
- The Stand: “We need you to fight for us to breathe” Organized labor is a direct threat to white supremacy. We need to put that threat into action. by April Sims
In addition, here are ways you can be proactive and engage in this critical work:
Donate and help resource the work of black-led groups that are fighting for police accountability and justice. Here are some suggestions.
- Donate to NW Community Bail Fund, BLM Seattle Freedom Fund, and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund
- Donate to Black-led groups including The People’s Institute NW
- Donate to environmental justice groups in your community.
- Donate to the Washington State Undocumented Workers COVID-19 relief fund.
Call and write to your local, state and federal representatives to speak up for change in your own back yard as well as at the national level.
Join movements for justice in your community and advocate for change. Sign petitions demanding accountability for those who have committed and abetted racial violence.
Invest in socially-responsible businesses and support local small businesses and businesses owned by people of color – check out Intentionalist.com.
The systemic injustice in our society must be reformed and transformed into one that respects all community members and prioritizes healthy and vibrant communities. The Coalition is committed to ensuring that our most vulnerable community members have affordable energy services, directly benefit from clean energy resources, and have a voice in the process and a seat at energy forum tables. I invite all of you to bring to my attention ways the Coalition can further support the call for economic and racial justice.
Thank you for all you are doing and your collaboration to demand racial justice for all.
Take care of yourselves. On behalf of all of us at the Coalition,
NW Energy Coalition
811 1st Ave., #305
Seattle, WA 98104