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Celebrating Black History Month

February 15, 2024

It is with great joy and reverence that we celebrate Black History Month. This annual observance serves as a poignant reminder of the invaluable contributions made by Black individuals throughout history, not only to their communities but to the world at large. It is a time to honor their resilience, achievements, and ongoing struggle for equality and justice.

This year, as we reflect on the significance of Black History Month, I am reminded of the invaluable lessons taught to me by Elaine Jones, who joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in 1970 and in 1993 became the organization’s first female director-counsel and president. Through her guidance, I learned not just about the mechanisms of governance, but about the essence of being human in the realm of politics.

Elaine showed me the importance of embodying personhood over advocacy. It is easy to fall into the trap of being just another advocate, pushing an agenda, but true impact lies in being authentically human, in connecting on a personal level.

In a world where divisiveness seems to be the norm, Elaine’s approach serves as a beacon of hope. It reminds us that despite our differences, we are all bound by our humanity. And it is through this recognition of our shared humanity that democracy truly thrives.

I am also moved by the efforts of Grantmakers for Girls of Color, an inspiring RPA project, in their call for greater representation and support within the philanthropy sector. By amplifying the voices and experiences of girls of color, we can create more inclusive and equitable opportunities for all. This initiative serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of centering marginalized voices in our work towards a more just and equitable world.

Through acts of generosity, compassion, and solidarity, individuals and organizations have the power to effect positive change on a global scale. As I wrote about in The Everyday Feminist: The Key to Sustainable Social Impact Driving Movements We Need Now More than Ever, investing in women, their organizations, and their movements isn’t just a moral imperative—it’s a strategic decision with far-reaching benefits. We’re not only investing in their individual well-being but also in the prosperity of their families, communities, and nations.

Supporting educational initiatives, advocating for social justice reform, or investing in economic development projects, global philanthropy has the potential to uplift marginalized communities and empower them to shape their own futures.

Together, we have the power to make a difference. Let us seize this opportunity to work towards a future where the principles of democracy and global philanthropy guide our actions and shape our world for the better.

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