If you care about race and inclusion in this country, it’s been an especially tough time. I remember one day last month when our staff came together just to sit and feel and talk together. I won’t deny – there are moments during days like that one when I really can feel discouraged. But in the face of a very difficult time, we found strength in each other.
Indeed, as our foundation thinks about how we can continue the hard work of trying to address the challenges of race and equity in our region, we take strength from the fact that this work is genuinely becoming a national movement.
Foundations are stepping up to play a part in these efforts for change. Across the country, foundations are trying to tackle the interrelated issues of race, equality, inclusion, and equity in ways that we just haven’t seen before. A new initiative called #reasonsforhope is helping to keep the conversation going by identifying examples that we can all take inspiration from as we each attempt to make change in our communities.
The good news is that while it’s deeply gratifying to see this movement emerging across the United States, we have plenty of reasons for hope right here in the Bay Area.
Suguey Hernandez gives me hope. The child of immigrant farm workers, Suguey graduated from UC Berkeley and became an organizer at Mobilize the Immigrant Vote, which is helping low-income immigrant and refugee communities of color find their voice and increase their political power.
Darris Young gives me hope. He works with the Ella Baker Center to counsel people like him, who have come out of jail eager to work if someone would just give them a chance. Thanks to Darris and his colleagues, countless members of our community are starting to turn their lives around, and advocate for systems that provide the support people need to succeed and thrive.
This is what it will take – multiplied by the thousands – to make sure that everybody has the chance to be a part of the prosperity of our region, regardless of their race or what neighborhood they grew up in.
And this is what it will take – multiplied by the millions – to make sure that we can confidently say that we live in a country that provides dignity, equality, and justice for each and every one of us.
It’s not easy. There may be even more difficult days ahead of us. But I also know that there is a new generation of folks like Suguey Hernandez and Darris Young, who are great sources of inspiration. And more and more foundations are using their voice and committing their resources to Suguey and Darris and many more deeply committed people like them so we can work together to build a more equitable society for everyone.
And that really, really gives me hope.