Our soul is crushed, our heart is broken, and our mind is on fire.

The death of George Floyd is not an anomaly, it is one of the many black lives lost due to structures that perpetuate these racial biases. We also honor and remember the lives of Breonna Taylor – shot in her home while sleeping, Ahmaud Arbery – shot while simply jogging in a neighborhood and countless others whose lives were unjustly taken. The protests that we are seeing today are the culmination of years of oppression under a system that was built to do what it is doing- beat down, pull down and punish people with a different skin color.

We stand in solidarity with our Black Community.

We see you, We hear you, and We value you.

We take a stand today against all forms of Racism.

Black Lives Matter.

“The beauty of anti-racism is that you don’t have to pretend to be free of racism to be an anti-racist. Anti-racism is the commitment to fight racism wherever you find it, including in yourself. And it’s the only way forward.”  – Ijeoma Oluo

“Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not.”  –     Scott Woods

While there is a lot of conversation around stopping the violent protests, the question we should be asking right now is how should we dismantle the structural racism and discrimination so that anti-Black, anti-Asian, anti-Muslim, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Non White racism stops once and for all. Stopping the violent protests does not and should not mean going back to status quo. The question is how will we create a path forward?

The Path Forward is through leaning into those tough conversations that are out of our comfort zone. The Path Forward is by creating and holding space for Black people and people of color in every board room in every decision-making table and inviting them to take the lead in our strategic planning. The Path Forward is looking through our own institutional policies and procedures that perpetuate these structural inequities. Impact 100’s DEI journey is only a year old, but just in the past year we were able to engage nearly 250 members in equity conversations and double the number of women of color in our organization. More women of color joined our board and today a quarter of our board is diverse. We are just getting started, and if anything, we need to double down on our efforts and go all-in.

We all have a responsibility, to end this pandemic of racism, to actively affirm that Black Lives Matter.  As philanthropists there are several ways we can lean in and show up. But first we need to start by leaning into those tough conversations. We will host one of those first conversations this Friday (06/05) from 5:30- 7:00 PM. As Brene Brown says, “there is no courage without vulnerability, so my friends let’s all be vulnerable and authentic and lean in on each other during these tumultuous times.” We are in the process of scheduling more conversations in the next few weeks to allow for more participation and to continue the dialogue.

If you want to go deeper on this equity journey with us, here are some ways you can educate yourself and empower change together with the members of Impact 100:

  1.  Join us for our virtual book club. Read, watch or listen to Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson and participate in discussions and equity conversations with Kyla Woods start on July 8th (registration and other details coming soon).
  2.  The Greater Cincinnati Foundation is offering the Groundwater presentation on August 12. It is a three-hour introduction to racial equity that uses stories and data to illustrate the structural and cross-sector nature of racism.
  3. Vote for support and change.  Vote in your local, state, and national elections. As President Obama stated this week, “the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.” Check your voter registrations status here and find your state’s registration deadlines here.
  4. Donate. There are many organizations that can benefit from donations.  We encourage you to do your own research before deciding where to donate your money. One way to help locally is to  Donate to Cincinnati Bail fund (select amount and then select Bail Fund)  to support protestors who are arrested.

Sincerely,

Impact 100 Board of Directors and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee