Today, June 19th, 2020, is Juneteenth. A day of reflection to celebrate and honor formerly enslaved people. Juneteenth is considered the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of of the end of slavery in the United States. This year feels different. The spread of the coronavirus has shone a spotlight on the embedded systemic injustices within our society. A movement 400 years in the making to push for social and policy reforms that will result in racial equity and justice has dominated headlines and hearts.
We recognize that an unwavering commitment to Black lives will require an effort that goes beyond developing one Fund, for one time period. The Black Lives Matter movement and its root causes require an ongoing approach that addresses the multifaceted needs posed by the complex task of working toward racial justice for Black communities. We developed a series of funds that reflect the needs of racial equity and justice in the affected communities right now and in the years ahead.
The multiple Fund model is intended to reflect the evolution of the movement from its current focus on ending implicit racial discrimination in the criminal justice system to its ultimate goal of addressing the overarching systemic injustices facing the Black community in every corner of society – including education, housing, healthcare, and beyond.
- The first Fund, the Black Lives Matter Immediate Support Fund, supports the urgent on-the-ground needs of protestors and impacted communities.
- The second Fund, the Black Lives Matter Legal Representation Fund, supports organizations providing free legal representation to help protestors and members of communities of color disproportionately disadvantaged by the criminal justice system.
- The third and final Fund, the Black Lives Matter Systemic Change Fund, supports organizations advocating for long term social and policy reforms, especially those seeking to bring about increased racial equity and seeking to rectify the systemic injustices faced by the Black community. Over time, the composition of nonprofits within this Fund will evolve to reflect the societal changes that need to take place to improve the quality of black lives.
We believe celebrating Juneteenth to reflect and commemorate the immeasurable contributions of Black people to our society is a good start, but just a start. We do not view the Black Lives Matter protests as a flash in the pan event. There is much more work to be done. The multiple Funds model is one way that we will provide continuing support for this movement long after it fades from the headlines.