5 Tangible Tactics to Support and Advance BIPOC Colleagues in the NFP Sector: Educating Yourself on Anti-Black and Anti-Indigenous Racism

publication date: Oct 12, 2020
author/source: Tanya Hannah Rumble and Mariya Yurukova

By the very fact that you have chosen to read this article, you are ‘woke’ to the facts of racism and interested in personal actions you can take to address the inequity caused by anti-black and anti-indigenous racism. The other fact that we hope you are woke to is that you are either anti-racist or racist - there is no middle ground because the status quo is unacceptable. We cannot thrive as a society when certain communities face barriers that prevent them from reaching their full potential. As detailed in parts one and two in this series, anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism are rampant in all parts of Canadian society including the non-profit sector and must be addressed.

While the experience of Indigenous and Black Canadians should not be conflated, there are parallels - the stigma and stereotypes Indigenous and Black Canadians and communities face have impacted public policies, decision-making and services. As a result, in nearly every measure of opportunity, security and fairness in our society, anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism is felt. This has been documented in numerous reports detailing the system oppression that Indigenous and Black Canadians face and how it impacts economic, employment and health outcomes etc. This includes the Truth and Reconciliation Commission reports, the Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Building a Foundation for Change: Canada’s Anti-Racism Strategy, The Canadian Human Rights Commission’s statement Anti-Black Racism in Canada: Time to Face the Truth, the Ontario’s Anti-Black Racism Strategy to name a few.

Such introspection has generated reports published specifically on how racism manifests in the non-profit sector in Canada. Many charities across the country routinely incorporate land acknowledgements into their events and meetings, and in recent months many organizations have come out with statements condemning anti-Black racism. So there is acknowledgement, but in rare cases has that come in the form of comprehensive reforms e.g. putting an EDI (equity, diversity and inclusion) lens on talent recruitment and management systems, organization-wide training programs on anti-racism, or incorporating the responsibilities of EDI to all senior leadership v. hiring a single EDI lead for the organization. What’s worse, is that well-meaning leaders download the responsibility of educating staff to individuals or groups of racialized-staff burdened with being the spokesperson on all things EDI and forcing them to share often painful and humiliating lived-experience for the benefit of ‘enlightening’ others.

It can feel daunting to know where to begin when it comes to learning more on these topics, we have compiled a list of resources that we endeavor will assist those wanting to deepen their knowledge. It may be helpful if you identify as white to understand white privilege more deeply, practice empathy and understand how black trauma is impacting Black people, and check in on your Black colleagues and friends.

Further, the Association of Fundraising Professionals Our Right to Heal a collection of stories and videos compiled by a group of Black Canadian fundraisers. Consider reading the work of Edgar Villanueva on Decolonizing Wealth. The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada (The Circle) is also a fantastic organization, their mission is to transform philanthropy and contribute to positive change between Philanthropy and Indigenous communities by creating spaces of learning, innovation, relationship-building, co-creation, and activation. If your organization is a funder you will want to remind yourself and colleagues on how to overcome racial bias in philanthropic funding, and consider the resources available from the Philanthropic Initiative for Racial Equity. The nonprofit sector exists for the very purpose of removing barriers and addressing inequity. Philanthropy means for the love of human kind. We have an opportunity and a responsibility to address racism and bias in our organizations. It is challenging and often uncomfortable work, but it all starts with the simple act of educating yourself. If we all did it, we would be half-way there.

Tanya Hannah Rumble is a leader in the philanthropic sector who has raised millions of dollars for some of Canada's largest charities including the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, the Canadian Cancer Society and now McMaster University. Tanya's approach to her work in the fundraising sector is greatly influenced by her lived experience as a mixed-race womxn in an interracial partnership who is a third culture kid - first-generation Canadian daughter of Jamaican and English-Irish immigrants who spent her formative years in the United Arab Emirates. You can connect with her online on LinkedIn or Twitter .

Mariya Yurukova is a fundraising professional with over 15 years of experience fundraising for some of Canada’s best universities. As a Talent Manager, Mariya works with organizations looking to recruit fundraising professionals for a variety of roles. She is a member of AFP, CASE, CCAE and a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE). You can reach her at mariya@gerardsearch.com.

Cover photo by Pixabay

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