Upswell Pop-Up #6: Taking a Moment to Reflect
// By Nabil Abdulkadir
We’ve collectively endured the trauma of the past six months, being consistently reminded about how lack of trust, empathy, leadership, and preparedness continue to be fatal flaws in our systems.
Upswell Pop-Up #6 gave us the opportunity to step back, take a breath, and consider all we’ve been through, how far we’ve come, how we’ve changed as a result, and what we must do, collectively as a sector and a nation, to restore our society.
Main Stage: Edgar Villanueva | Watch here
Crisis can cause everyday concerns to fall away, creating a laser-like sense of clarity about what really matters, and helping to move us toward social reconciliation and healing. With his expertise in philanthropy, nonprofits, and public health, and sharing his own personal experiences, Edgar Villanueva, author of Decolonizing Wealth, delivered thought-provoking insights on the Main Stage about the solidarity that is rising from groups that are bonding together as never before.
The triple pandemic of COVID, its economic fallout, and white supremacy have created vast collective suffering that has left few communities untouched, disproportionately affecting Black people and other people of color due to pre-existing conditions that have exacerbated every other pain.
- For philanthropy, just giving isn’t enough. They must redistribute the wealth and give 10% to people of color and others on the frontlines.
- Are protests enough? Are we ready as a nation to confront racism once and for all?
- What if we all acted in “grown up solidarity” and took up the work of putting healing front and center?
- Embrace the connectivity we’re feeling, embrace humanity, and focus on what truly matters – in our workplaces, our families, our communities, our sector, and our country.
Charting Transformative Paths in the Age of Reconstruction
Michael McAfee, Dan Cardinali | Watch here
As nonprofit organizations stand at the crossroads of their own racial equity journeys and systems change efforts, what is their role from a social change perspective? PolicyLink President and CEO Michael McAfee and Dan Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector, discussed with intention and passion the imperative that institutions must meet to continue to address the changing conditions and needs of the people and communities they serve.
- Institutions are the bedrock of society, and must care about, nurture, and foster community, but many haven’t been comfortable talking about equity and race. Now that they’re becoming more comfortable, are they ready to commit to the necessary work to make the country just and fair?
- Institutions must honor the historical analysis that has already been done and implement those ideas.
- Just because an institution serves a people of color population doesn’t mean that it’s hitting the mark, and institutions need to stand in that discontent.
- If you don’t want to do the work, stop sucking up the money. There are people who know how to do it.
- Stick to your knitting and focus on what your institution does, but do it in a way that advances racial equity and justice, and embeds it in the DNA of your organization.
- Let’s not blow the moment.
Meeting Community Needs in Rapidly Changing Times
Julie Gehrki, Trooper Sanders, Komal Kirtikar, Rita Carreón | Watch here
COVID-19’s devastating impact has required providers of essential products and services to quickly pivot to continue to meet the changing and expanding needs of the communities that rely on them. Representatives of Benefits Data Trust, Opportunity @Work, and UnidosUS joined session host, Walmart, to discuss their rapid pivots to ensure the population served has ongoing access and connection to public benefit programs; that the unique and specific needs of the Latinx community continued to be met; and that quality training, learning, and placement opportunities remain available for workers, particularly essential workers who have experienced job loss as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
- When the economy came to a dead stop, people who did not previously need benefit assistance suddenly did, requiring service providers to loosen requirements, create hotlines, and ensure that those they served and needed benefit assistance were able to access those services.
- Relationships with funders who have your back, like Walmart, are important to service providers’ ability to make necessary pivots and create flexibility to augment staff and make other changes to meet needs that weren’t there previously.
- Access to data is important, especially disaggregated data. It exposes inequities already there, particularly for the Latinx community and other communities of color.
- We’ve gone from a good employment environment to record unemployment. Two-thirds of essential workers, many of whom are Latinx, have great skills, great training from other sources, and are available to be employed, but have no degree. We must make sure the unemployed and underemployed don’t come out of this economic crisis in a worse place.
- Service providers must continue to communicate with their staffs frequently, and make sure everyone is activated in the urgency of the moment. They must also hold in balance maintaining impact of the mission, while keeping in mind the people within service provider organizations who are giving so much to others, while also going through so much themselves.
Nobel Prize Docuseries: Tawakkol Karman
Tawakkol Karman, Lynne Twist, Dan Cardinali | Watch here
Tawakkol Karman received the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of her nonviolent struggle for the safety of women and their right to full participation in the peace building process in Yemen. Known as the “mother of the revolution,” “the iron woman,” and the Lady of the Arab Spring, TIME Magazine named her both one of the 100 most influential women defining the last century and one of the Most Rebellious Women in History. She joined Dan Cardinali and Lynne Twist, author of The Soul of Money, to discuss her ongoing advocacy against dictatorships, extremism, and terrorism, and work to restore peace and political process in Yemen – and reflected on how her experiences might inform our work to build a better world.
- You cannot have peace and a healthy society under a dictatorship.
- You cannot speak of human rights without affirming the rights of women and girls.
- Non-violence is the easiest and only way to permanently prevail. It starts with self-practice. Violence can only promote and encourage more violence.
- The work that the U.S. is doing around racial equity is building courage for similar work around the world.
- Human rights, including the rights of people of color and women, starts with freedom of expression.
- Youth are raising their voices of equality and anti-racism, immigration rights, and women’s rights, helping to shine a spotlight and raise consciousness for justice around the world. They must continue to touch and pursue their dream and history will right itself. What they do is for people around the world.
Bridge Building in the Midst of Rising Division
Frederick J. Riley, Caroline Hopper, Mac McCarter, Shawn Barney | Watch Here
With the pandemic and uprising against systemic racism as a backdrop, and division, distrust, disconnection and inequality at the forefront, “weavers” across the country are centering connection, building trust, and prioritizing relationships in their communities. In this session, participants learned more about Weave: the Social Fabric Project, and held personal conversations with weavers who are centering connection amidst rising divisions to learn how they might do the same in their communities and workplaces.