This has been an incredible year for Social Justice Fund! We’ve grown our staff to support the success of our Giving Project Model, launched 8 Giving Projects, and in April introduced our first ever Community Summit.
Over 100 community members from around the Northwest came to Seattle to hear directly from Social Justice Grantees about organizing work happening on the ground and the challenges that organizers face. For those of you who missed the Community Summit, don’t worry! We plan on bringing the Summit back next year. For now, we have a couple clips from the LGBTQ panel discussion and the Criminal Justice panel. These brief videos capture discussion around the power of organizing with those most impacted by the issues and building unlikely alliances that help strengthen movements.
Clip #1: The Power of Community Organizing – grantees from the Criminal Justice panel talk about organizing with people most affected by the issues and how that impacts of this work on a personal level and movement building level.
Clip #2: Building Unlikely Alliances – Cara from Rural Organizing Project talks about both organizing in rural areas and the importance of relationship building for the LGBTQ movement.
More footage on our YouTube
Black Prisoners’ Caucus (Mary Flowers and Rasheed Thomas, members/organizers) — Founded in 1972, BPC organizes inside the Washington State Reformatory to provide a medium for African American prisoners to work collectively to improve their family relationships, their facility, and the communities they are absent from but still belong to; provide education and peer support both inside and outside of the institutions; and work for both individual accountability and systemic change on the issues that led to their incarceration.
Community to Community Development (Rosalinda Guillen, co-founder/director) — C2C is a place based, women-led grassroots organization working for a just society and healthy communities. C2C is committed to systemic change and to creating strategic alliances that strengthen local and global movements towards social, economic and environmental justice; on this panel, Rosalinda will focus on their campaign to end racial profiling.
Partnership for Safety and Justice (David Rogers, exec. director) — PSJ unites people convicted of crime, survivors of crime, and the families of both to advance approaches that redirect policies away from an over-reliance on incarceration to effective strategies that reduce violence and increase safety. Their current campaign for justice reinvestment will flatline prison growth, reform mandatory minimums, and reinvest a portion of the savings into smarter, more sustainable prevention-based approaches to building safe and healthy communities.
Indian People’s Action (Michaelynn Hawk (Crow), director) — IPA works in Montana’s urban areas, rural and border towns of several Indian reservations to organize for social, economic and racial justice. IPA’s economic justice work includes organizing for health care access and voting rights, working to stop online payday lending on reservations, and fighting racial discrimination in health care and insurance.
Right 2 Survive (Ibrahim Mubarak, co-founder/member) — R2S educates, organizes and mobilizes the unhoused community and allies to defend their civil, human, and constitutional rights; empowers houseless folks to challenge policies, practices, and laws which criminalize people for carrying out survival activities; organizes to create alternative and collective solutions to the lack of affordable housing; makes its own media to amplify the voices of unhoused Portlanders, and supports its members with fighting citations and accessing resources.
Voz Workers Rights Education Project (Romeo Sosa, exec. director) — Voz is a worker-led organization that empowers immigrants and day laborers to gain control over their working conditions through leadership development, education and community organizing. Organizing activities take place in the MLK Worker Center which works as a non-commission hire site for day-laborers where disenfranchised day laborers get support to become leaders in fighting their economic struggle, discrimination, oppression and wage theft.
Native Youth Leadership Alliance (Johnny Buck (Wanapum/Yakama), founding member) — NYLA is an intergenerational collective of Tribal College students and their allies that spark positive change in Native American communities. NYLA connects education to action by providing culturally relevant leadership support, networking opportunities, and learning experiences that help participants achieve community-building goals. Johnny organizes with his tribe in Central Washington around cultural reclamation through traditional foods.
OPAL Environmental Justice (Jon Ostar, exec. director) — OPAL works to educate, engage and empower working-class communities and people of color to improve quality of life through environmental and social justice organizing. Bus Riders United is a grassroots program led by transit-dependent people working to win fair, friendly, frequent, fully-funded, and affordable public transportation in the Metro Portland area.
Powder River Basin Resource Council (Deb Thomas, organizer) — Pavillion Area Concerned Citizens (a program of Powder River) is a group of ranchers, farmers, and other concerned residents working to educate and empower the community to address the air pollution, contaminated water, and resulting health problems caused by oil field contamination in Wyoming.
Causa Oregon (Christian Baeff, LGBT Organizer) — Causa works to defend and advance immigrant rights in Oregon through community organizing, mobilization, and education. Over the last few years, Causa has worked to increase public education about LGBT issues within their base, using new and creative methods to build LGBT leadership, share the stories of LGBT Latin@s with the larger community, and make connections between the struggles for LGBT and immigrant rights.
Entre Hermanos (Marcos Martinez, exec. director) — Entre Hermanos works to promote the health and well-being of the Latino Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and questioning community in a culturally appropriate environment through disease prevention, education, support services, advocacy, and community building. EH recently began developing its capacity in community organizing, by building support for marriage equality in Latino communities in Washington, and is now looking towards its next steps in developing new organizers.
Rural Organizing Project (Cara Shufelt, exec. director) — ROP works to strengthen the skills, resources and vision of primary leadership in local, autonomous human dignity groups — including queer-identified groups, PFLAG chapters, and GSA’s — across Oregon with the goal of keeping such groups a vibrant source for a just democracy. Although LGBT issues have always been central to ROP’s mission and campaigns, its analysis is multi-issue, its activities are multi-tactic, and it strategically coordinates statewide organizing with key partners to counter the Right on every front in rural Oregon.