Has There Been Progress on Racial Justice in Philanthropy?
“Have you seen any progress?” This is a question most of us are asked in our work toward social change. It is asked of ourselves, asked by our funders or boards or others. And when we focus that question on racial justice, a source of ongoing discourse where one’s answer can signify our level of awareness and be taken as a testament of our own righteousness, it’s an even more weighted question.
If we say there is no progress, are we denying huge strides? Are we invalidating reasons to keep trying? On the other hand, if we say there has been great progress, do we risk a self-congratulatory invitation to complacency?As with most social justice work, the reality of moving a racial justice approach within philanthropy has been a mix of progress and setbacks.
It is important to examine where has there been more or less progress, what has contributed to it and what may have diverted us. Some questions we might ask ourselves: Where has there been backlash?