This moment requires us to shift, not only to meet today’s challenge but also to envision and build tomorrow’s world. Our grantees have always risen to the occasion, and this past grant cycle is proof that no matter who is in office when stewarded by the people most impacted- the essential work of justice continues.
I’m thrilled to report that we redistributed $200,000 to 48 grassroots groups transforming their communities, tackling injustices, and making the impossible possible. We awarded eight new multi-year grants – the most ever in our 53-year history, moving us towards sustained movements and a sustainable future.[Click to enlarge the infographic].
Below you can read about four of our Hell Yeah! Grantees, groups that exemplify all of the radical, innovative, and necessary work happening on the frontlines of movements for social justice. Our grantees have always known that maintaining the status quo only benefits the few and not the many. This is why they work tirelessly to resist the systemic oppression faced by the most marginalized communities while reimagining the alternatives to pave the way for the new world.
Disabled Rights Action Committee1works to establish equal rights for people with disabilities by enforcing federal and state laws. They are working towards a world where discussions about accessibility happen every day and in every space and where city planners, policymakers, and community leaders begin from a place of universal design, creating events and spaces designed to be accessible to the broadest range of minds and bodies. Part of what they do is help other organizations make their events more accessible, ensure local housing and businesses are ADA and Fair Housing Act compliant, and advocate for programs and policies that improve the accessibility of public transit, protect and serve individuals with disabilities through social support services, and provide alternatives to institutionalization. They need support to continue providing support for disabled and at-risk individuals most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.Envisioning a world without cages, policing, and borders, ICE out of East Tennessee2works to build community alternatives to ICE and policing in East Tennessee. They work in relationship with impacted folks to continue their Rapid Response efforts, which primarily focus on their community-run hotline for people in need of assistance for police/ICE encounters and violence related to white supremacy. IOFET has also launched an End 287(g) Campaign to force the local Sheriff to stop renewing its contracts with the federal ICE agency and divest from the city police department while investing in community solutions.
Indigenous People’s Power Project3provides nonviolent direct action training, campaign support, and community organizing tools to support Indigenous communities taking action in defense of their homelands. They are working towards self-determination, equipping communities to work for themselves and not just existing as a ward to the United States. Their work acts as a framework to strengthen the wisdom and knowledge in their communities. They have trained about 5,500 people during the Standing Rock protest against the DAPL pipeline and need funding to continue supporting and training more members.
A multi-year grantee,Project Hajra4is a membership-based, peer-supported, transformative justice initiative based in Southeast Queens, New York. They see the root cause of gender justice as power, connected to state and other regime violence, and understand that immigrant women of color have been doing creative organizing work to end the violence without recognition. Together, these lay the foundation for a long-term vision to deepen transformative justice models in their community and free their communities from interpersonal and state violence by organizing around three main focus areas: secure and affordable housing, building futures, and abolishing prisons and police.
To the brave frontline communities leading the work, organizing, envisioning solutions, and building a better tomorrow: we stand with you. In this critical moment, it is our responsibility to make your work more possible, and we pledge to do just that.