Above: artist Kay Onye works on a mural of combined works by Adam Serrano, Keisha Finnie, Kearasten Jordan, and other community activists. Photo by Michelle Johnsen Photography
As our nation continues to grapple with pain and uncertainty, we believe some essential truths remain for Lancaster County:
Our community is only strong when every voice is heard. Our community is only safe when every resident can live and dream fearlessly. Our community is only extraordinary when every family, neighbor, and friend is respected.
At the Community Foundation we recognize that we have a lot to learn. And we know that we all have work to do: as an organization, as a community, and as a country. We know that condemning racism and violence is only a first, small step, and the most important steps we take are the ones that come after, and while we’re still on our journey of learning, we know that we can’t do it alone.
We are holding space and solidarity with the Black community, indigenous community, and other communities of color across Lancaster County for the anger, hurt, and grief caused by generations of racist violence and policies.
We are holding space and solidarity with the countless individuals across Lancaster County who want to see our community become more just and equitable. We are prepared for the long journey of learning, listening, and acting together with our community.
how we're moving forward
The Community Foundation commits to the journey of becoming an antiracist organization, and in emboldening Lancaster County to become an antiracist community. We recognize that we have much to learn and have started a learning process for our team and board. While some of this work will be internal to our organization, some of it will be out in the community. Regardless of the action, we commit to transparency about our process, sharing as much of our learning as we can, and being accountable to feedback. We are redoubling our efforts to effectively support, convene, collaborate, and take action on antiracism. When invited, we will support organizations and individuals on the front lines of this work, and we commit to leading within our own circles of power and influence to create structural change that promotes equitable opportunity.
The work we’re doing right now:
We believe that building an antiracist organization and community requires that each of our board and staff members take a personal journey to becoming antiracist on an individual level. Our team is embarking on a year-long facilitated internal learning process. Goals include having a deeper understanding of local and national practices and policies that contribute to racist outcomes, developing a shared language, and understanding the systemic change that is needed to create true justice. As we undergo this process, we commit to sharing our learnings with our community and inviting you to join us as we travel this critical path to becoming better equipped to walk in this space.
As we learn, listen, connect and grow, we commit to using our organizational access and privilege to forge partnerships with antiracist organizations and initiatives. We will seek community partners who can support, amplify, and activate the voices and ideas from these organizations.
We will continue to expand our granting and funding to intentionally support antiracist programming, as well as providing support to community benefit organizations (CBOs) to receive high-quality capacity building to advance their work of becoming antiracist organizations.
In addition, we will advance our work with community-centered design: creating resident-led initiatives to address the root cause of community issues. You can learn about the first phase of this work through Project Activate.
As we undergo deep learning with our team and our organization, we will also be taking action outward, and that means potentially making missteps along the way. We commit to truly hearing feedback from residents, correcting mistakes, adapting our approach, and constantly improving our lanes of communication with the community, and thereby our programming. We thank you in advance for your ideas and insights to help us better serve this community.
We don’t have a perfect way of providing feedback yet, but in the meantime, please
Where we go from here
The Community Foundation as well as other organizations, businesses, and individuals throughout Lancaster County and the country have much to learn and unlearn about the ways racism has shaped our world, and the community we serve.
And while there is no one set path, there are many ways forward. And though we have far to go, we can go.
The Community Foundation team has begun collecting resources that various members of our team have found useful in helping to shape and reshape our race consciousness, both in personal terms, as well as at an organizational level. It is by no means a complete list, nor is it intended to be. We understand that we are only at the beginning of our journey to understand our role in perpetuating systems of oppression, as well as our ability to dismantle them. We offer these resources that have been helpful to different members of our team in the hopes that they may also be useful to you.
In order to work towards change on an institutional level, the journey must begin with the individual. Each organization, business, or society is a reflection of the individuals that make it up. Here are some resources that might be helpful to begin exploring antiracism at the individual level:
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“1619“, podcast from The New York Times
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Antiracism is about more than just individual growth: it has to permeate into the work that we do, because together, we can build power, amplify voices, and make substantive change. Here are some resources to begin exploring antiracism at the organizational level:
Advancing the Mission: Tools for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Annie E. Casey Foundation
Diversity Equity and Inclusion series, Nonprofit Quarterly
Racial Equity Impact Assessment Tool, RaceForward
Getting Equity Advocacy Results (GEAR) Tool from PolicyLink
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The Danger of a Single Story, Chimamanda Adichie
Radical Imagination, podcast from PolicyLink
Moving the Race Conversation Forward, RaceForward
Equity is the Superior Growth Model, PolicyLink
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Understanding the largescale impact of racist policies on our country can often feel overwhelming; it’s important to always find ways to be reminded that these are issues that impact you, your neighbors, your friends, and your coworkers. Join us in learning more about the history of those policies at a local level, as well as the proud history that has emerged from resistance to them; it is work that continues to this day.
only the beginning
It’s important to remember that antiracism is a rich tapestry of ideas and intersections. Within antiracism must be a commitment to fighting discrimination and discriminatory policies of all kinds: sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, anti-semitism, environmental justice, and more. While the above resources are primarily focused on confronting the history of racism and racist policies with regards to the Black and Brown communities, the recognize the work of combating those policies must center the voices that can speak to these intersections, or it will not truly be equitable. We are learning as we go and hope you will join us.
Questions, thoughts, concerns?