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Racial Justice & Equity

Humanity United was founded on the guiding principle that all humans possess inherent dignity. For many years, our work has focused on the systems that contribute to human exploitation and violent conflict around the world. This focus has required us to grapple with underlying issues like the role of trauma in conflict and the importance of local agency and accountability.

Unfortunately, like many U.S.-based organizations, we never explicitly confronted the role of structural racism in our own work and communities, how it impacts our partners and staff, and how it also contributes to systems of exploitation and violence in the United States and around the world.

Systemic and institutional racism, rooted in a culture of white supremacy, continues to be an inescapable reality of daily life for Black, Indigenous, and Persons of Color (BIPOC). Acknowledging this reality has required us to closely examine our mission and the focus of our work. We know that if we hope to change systems of exploitation and violence and contribute to a more just and equitable global society, we must work at home as well as abroad.

Developed and led by Humanity United’s Black Caucus, HU’s exploration of racial justice and equity is striving to heed the calls from the racial justice movement to address the conditions and systems that have long harmed BIPOC lives. Our work is guided by Humanity United’s focus on supporting everyone’s basic dignity and human rights and our locally-led approach, which prioritizes local agency and community expertise. We are entering this space with humility and a commitment to better understand how we can contribute to advancing racial justice and equity.

Our work focuses on two pillars: Thriving Communities and Building Power. These pillars are interconnected areas of work that will benefit from our investment. We specifically chose to work on issues affecting communities and harnessing power because of HU’s deep history in engaging at the community level to address challenges, as well as our belief that local, community change involves building and shifting power.

  1. Thriving Communities: There is ample evidence that equitable access to high-quality services and resources can lead to better outcomes for BIPOC communities. These communities often have existing networks and community-based organizations that, through years of experience, can identify and address issues directly affecting the marginalized and underserved communities we wish to serve. However, these efforts are often underfunded and disconnected, and they work in isolation to solve the complex challenges they face. We invest in community-led organizations addressing interconnected social issues so that they may continue to tackle immediate (local) challenges that can transform their communities.
  2. Building Power: Despite the United States’ founding principles of freedom and equality, BIPOC communities, especially Black communities, have been systematically marginalized. For decades, many laws and public policies have been designed explicitly to prevent BIPOC from fully participating in society and systematically suppressed their power, leading to inequality. We aim to combat systemic racism by empowering BIPOC communities economically, socially, and politically.

As part of this effort, we collaborate with organizations to determine key needs of BIPOC communities to better target grantmaking and support. Equally important, we share ideas, and resources and gain knowledge to improve our practices. We are committed to a learning and listening journey to understand how to support local organizations best as they develop and/or advance their work in their communities. For the first phase of this exploration, our initial focus will be on Washington, DC, with ongoing engagement in other communities like Atlanta and Chicago.

Systemic racism is deeply rooted and requires meaningful structural, community-based change and advocacy, for justice and equality to be achieved. We invite you to learn more about our partners’ efforts, follow them on social media, and become an advocate for their work.

The Latest

Meet our Racial Justice and Equity Partners

Meet our Racial Justice and Equity Partners

We are excited to partner with these extraordinary organizations who are working tirelessly to build the power of BIPOC communities.

February 2, 2022

Humanity United

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