At CFC, we believe that anti-racism work is rooted in the practice of dismantling systems of white supremacy and preconceived biases against racialized communities. Racial inequality is not unique to Canada or North America, with anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, and racism being prevalent in many, if not all, countries around the world. Anti-racism is a call to action to remove anti-Black racism, anti-Indigenous racism, and racism towards all people of colour and racialized communities from systems and structures that were built to uphold the values of white supremacy.
Philanthropy has the opportunity to create lasting change in Canada by working to redistribute wealth in a meaningful way that not only serves racialized communities but also supporting, standing alongside and learning from the vast knowledge and leadership of these communities.
This month, the CFC team took time to reflect on their personal commitments to anti-racism. As philanthropy professionals, we must look inwards at our organization and ourselves as we continue anti-racism work. We are sharing our commitments to encourage you to also take time to reflect on your own personal commitments to anti-racism.
“Being anti-racist is a journey, not a destination. In my work as Director of Partnerships, I am committed to anti-racism in the partnering process. It shows up in what partners we choose to work with, how we engage with those partners, and how we collaborate.
I’m keenly aware of, and seek to challenge, the characteristics of white supremacy, particularly urgency, perfectionism, fear and the right to comfort.
I’m grateful for the learning and community I’ve found in the Community Centric Fundraising slack workspace, as well as the team at CFC to hold myself accountable.”
– Dana Decent, Director, Partnerships
“My personal commitment to anti-racism is embedded into all my relationships, how I relate to institutions like my Member of Parliament, and absolutely in how I show up at work.
As a storyteller and communicator, it’s important to me to speak with meaning, not just a string of buzzwords. I can get into sector-based habits of using shorthand language and acronyms when the truth is, that words I use have power. I want to name anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism specifically, how embedded it is in the nation of Canada, and how the privilege of whiteness is persistent in every institution and sector.
Phrases like equity, diversity, and terms like BIPOC are useful explainers, but when used as often as we do, can become rote. In relationships, trust is not a fixed state and we – as white leaders in the sector – cannot let The Work become rote.
There are so many ways white women like myself can practice allyship daily. An example in the way we use language, is to implicate ourselves in whiteness. To own it, to take responsibility for it. I used to say ‘white women’ and ‘white people’ like I wasn’t one of them, to distance myself, because it was easier to believe ‘I’m not like them’. But the truth is, though I can use my resources and social capital to push for change, and even give those resources away or put relationships at risk in solidarity, I am always benefitting from whiteness. Implicating myself gives me the power to say, yes we are the same, as your kin I am responsible for you, and we can change together.
I want to invest time every day to act with integrity and humility, to build that trust, and I’m so grateful to those in the sector who are championing this work, calling us out and in, so we can shift power in a lasting way.”
– Miranda Hassell, Manager, Public & Network Engagement
“A personal commitment to anti-racism for me has been recognizing there are areas to continue to learn and unlearn, to reflect on where I have made mistakes and to sit in discomfort. I recall learning about white dominant culture characteristics including a sense of urgency and the culture of nice and seeing myself in that and exploring how I have perpetuated this in my work and my life. While I have read books, taken courses and training – I have found that the space for inner reflection on how I have been complicit, where I can do better and where I have been walking alongside has been valuable to carve out. In the transformation portfolio at CFC, we have been working to actively listen, to engage equity and sovereignty seeking groups, and to shift power and amplify others.
We have definitely not got it all right and will continue to unpack how power and privilege shows up in us as individuals, in philanthropy and in society.”
– Michelle Baldwin, Senior Advisor, Transformation