Editor’s word: The next article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the creator’s personal. Learn extra opinions on theGrio.
I nonetheless bear in mind the day I met Tina Turner at Tower Data as a 5-year-old Black lady. She crammed the room along with her beautiful snort, large smile and even greater vitality. It was exhilarating to see her, a Black girl artist proudly owning the complete retailer. I used to be in awe of the presence of this highly effective instance of a Black girl artist.
As I obtained older and my world grew to become greater, I grew to much more deeply respect the facility of Black artists and innovators and what they provide to Black individuals dwelling in a world that isn’t constructed for us. Because of this I now work to maneuver establishments and donors to put money into the creative visions, innovation, well being, security, analysis, mind belief and pleasure of Black ladies and gender-expansive youth. Black Lady Freedom Fund, an initiative of Grantmakers for Women of Shade, is one instance of that work. Along with mobilizing investments, BGFF and the #1Billion4BlackGirls marketing campaign co-host the Black Lady Freedom Week, a weeklong house the place Black ladies, femmes and gender-expansive youth throughout the nation can see themselves and be celebrated.
The theme of this 12 months’s collection of occasions facilities on the creative imaginative and prescient, activism and innovation of Black ladies and gender-expansive youth. From Feb. 13 to Feb. 19, we are going to collect nearly to highlight Black ladies, ladies and gender-expansive youth, together with award-winning director, author and producer Gina Prince-Bythewood, who most just lately directed the blockbuster hit “The Lady King,” and Leila Mottley, creator of the New York Occasions bestseller, Oprah’s Ebook Membership decide and Booker Prize nominee debut novel “Nightcrawler.”
These luminaries not solely mild the best way for the subsequent technology of Black artists and innovators, however they’re the cultural influencers who assist us see the total embodiment of Black ladies’ and Black individuals’s lives, past tropes of tragedy and disappointment, to incorporate the infinite potentialities that await them and the liberated futures they’re creating. They assist shift the narrative and alter hearts and minds about Black ladies, femmes and gender-expansive youth, who’re important to attaining a extra simply world. But, we all know that Black ladies, femmes and gender-expansive youth are the least seen, acknowledged or invested in. Analysis reveals that lower than $15 million, about 4.2%, of philanthropic giving was specified for Black ladies and ladies in 2017, the latest figures out there. Black ladies and ladies acquired $17,000 much less in grant help in comparison with a median of $35,000 for all basis grants.
The Black Lady Freedom Fund and the #1Billion4BlackGirls marketing campaign intention to vary that. Since 2021, the Black Lady Freedom Fund has invested greater than $7 million into over 80 organizations throughout america. From cultivating academic alternatives in STEM to deep therapeutic, management improvement and past, the work our grantee companions are doing isn’t just altering the lives of Black ladies, femmes, and gender-expansive youth — they’re basically altering how others perceive the position of Black ladies in our communities and the world.
The #1Billion4BlackGirls marketing campaign is the first-of-its-kind motion to mobilize a $1 billion funding in Black ladies, femmes and gender-expansive youth. The eight co-founders of the #1Billion4BlackGirls marketing campaign drive the strategic route and priorities of the marketing campaign, and so they proceed to advocate for funding in Black ladies and gender-expansive youth by way of every of their respective organizations and private advocacy work.
“The position of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible,” goes the saying from legendary cultural and neighborhood employee Toni Cade Bambara. We all know that artwork, tradition, innovation and ingenuity are integral components of a continuum of social justice, advocacy, and therapeutic. We get to put money into our Black lady, femme and gender-expansive creators as a result of they deserve it. They’re the sunshine of chance that’s so obligatory in these turbulent occasions.
Cidra M. Sebastien is the fund supervisor of the Black Lady Freedom Fund, an initiative of Grantmakers for Women of Shade. The group is a fiscally sponsored challenge of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Sebastien is an auntie, educator, youth advocate, and runner. To be taught extra and donate, click on right here.
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