Get there

It is the beauty of solidarity that has provided me any hope in the last week as more black and brown lives are lost in the U.S. and around the world. Even having the space to look for hope right now, in and of itself I realize, is a privilege denied to many.

But the fact that people rise up to support each other in the face of such tragedy and injustice, that they band together in the face of such formidable power is where hope lies for me. The breathtaking beauty of solidarity is found in people’s belief in love as an organizing force and in the power inherent in remaining open and connected to each other as humans.

My question to all of us working in global development: Are we missing this? That the building blocks of change are found in the beauty of solidarity?


If our work is not beholden to the love and unity that is possible between people, what are we doing? How can our work be re-organized in service of this? Can we stop trying to control projects through logframes, and instead get serious about what it takes to unleash social change?

Use your sorrow and outrage at the recent events in Baton Rouge, Minneapolis, Dhaka, or Istanbul to get there. Us do-gooder, over-thinking, technocratic-types fancy ourselves adept at “asking the challenging questions” of ourselves and of our organizations. But that is no longer enough. We must take concrete actions that dismantle the internal and external power structures that perpetuate inequality and bigotry in aid, philanthropy, social enterprise, and impact investing.

There is a lot of work to do. As my colleague wrote yesterday,

“This is a moment of deep crisis around racism and violence in the United States, and the ways forward will have to be rooted in the most transformative vision possible for a world that is not race blind, nor race neutral, but has the capacity to heal the legacies of imperialism and slavery.”

The denial of dignity to people in our sector is insidious. And if we band together, there are many examples from the Global South that show us, it is also shatterable.


A sampling of resources/conversations on solidarity (Asking: What can we learn and apply to global aid and philanthropy?)

  1. (New!) After Charlottesville: 5 ways nonprofits can process, heal, and fight, joi foley, Rockwood Leadership Institute
  2. Opportunities for White People in the Fight for Racial Justice: Moving from Actor –> Ally –> Accomplice
  3. White Nonsense Roundup
  4. White progressives: It’s time to be transformers, not just have opinions, Caitlin Breedlove
  5. Ready to ditch white feminism? Here are 6 Black feminist concepts you need to know, Melissa Brown, Daily Progressive
  6. What To Do? 3 Strategy Questions Matter, Taj James, Movement Strategy Center
  7. 7 agreements for productive conversations during difficult times, Vu Lee
  8. 8 ways people of color are tokenized in nonprofits, Helen Kim Ho
  9. Walking While Black, Garnette Cadogan, Literary Hub
  10. Your Guide On How to Support Black People After Incidents of Police Violence, Alan Pelaez Lopez, Everyday Feminism
  11. What White People Should Know In The Aftermath Of Police Brutality, Zeba Blay and Lilly Workneh, Huffington Post Black Voices
  12. My Revolutionary Suicide Note, Melissa Harris-Perry
  13. The Near Certainty of Anti-Police Violence, Ta-Nehisi Coates
  14. How white people can stop Black death #StopKillingForUs, Taj James
  15. 12 Ways to Be a White Ally to Black People, Janee Woods, The Root
  16. 9 things white people can do to fight racism now, by Awesomely Luvvie
  17. REPORT: You’ll Never Guess How Many White People Say They Support #BlackLivesMatter, Kenryn Rankin, Colorlines
  18. How black people can emotionally protect themselves in the age of #BlackLivesMatter, Karen Attiah, Washington Post
  19. 17 Poems To Read When The World Is Too Much, Hannah Giorgis and Tomi Obaro, Buzzfeed
  20. A short guide on collectin yo folk, drwhothefuckyouthinkyoutalkinto, tumblr
  21. Dear White Friends, ‘Not Being Racist’ Isn’t Enough, Alexa Sykes, Black Professional Magic
  22. I, Racist, John Metta, Medium
  23. For White People Who Want the Racist Nightmare to End, We Must Reclaim Our Lives from Anti-Black Racism, Chris Crass
  24. White People: Stop Microvalidating Each Other, Stephanie Jo Kent
  25. Dear White Allies: Status Updates & Hashtags Are Not Enough, Paige Tutt, Bustle
  26. 6 Ways Well-Intentioned People Whitesplain Racism (And Why They Need to Stop), Maisha Z. Johnson, The Body is Not An Apology
  27. A 5-Step Guide for Macklemore and White Allies Afraid of Doing Anti-Racism ‘Wrong’, Maisha Z. Johnson, Everyday Feminism
  28. 15 Things Your City Can Do Right Now to End Police Brutality, Zak Cheney Rice, Mic
  29. Waking Up White: A Resource for White Folks and Do Not Unfriend the Racists, Jasmine Banks Brown
  30. Explaining white privilege to a broke white person, Gina Crosley-Corcoran, Occupy Wall Street
  31. To All my White Christian Friends Regarding Recent Events, Latrice Ingram
  32. 11 Words You Should Know to Better Understand Structural Racism, The Aspen Institute
  33. #Arabs4BlackPower Releases Movement for Black Lives Solidarity Statement, Kirsten West Savali, The Root
  34. 11 Powerful Photos of Latinos Standing in Solidarity With Black Lives Matter, Yara Simón, Remezcla
  35. Asian Americans Crowdsource Open Letter to Families: ‘Black Lives Matter To Us, Too’, Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, NBC News
  36. Indigenous Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter, Matt Remle, Last Real Indians
  37. Kurdish Women Fighting Islamic State Group Send Solidarity to BlackLivesMatter, teleSUR
  38. South African Police Service twice as likely to kill as US police, SA Mail & Guardian
  39. Three Countries Issue Travel Warnings About Visiting The U.S., Reuters
  40. Indians’ Debt to Black America, by Neil Padukone, HuffPo
  41. Racial Bias, Even When We Have Good Intentions, by Sendhil Mullainathan, New York Times
  42. Here’s How You Help End Hate & Violence, Jamia Wilson, Refinery29
  43. Note to self: White people taking part in #BlackLivesMatter protests, Vonn New, AFSC
  44. Why highways have become the center of civil rights protest, Emily Badger, Washington Post
  45. White people, don’t tell me what Martin Luther King would think of Black Lives Matter, Jon Crowley, Vox
  46. 11 Things White People Can Do to Be Real Anti-Racist Allies, Kali Holloway, Alternet
  47. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism, Dr. Robin Diangelo, Good Men Project
  48. Why all white people are racist, but can’t handle being called racist: the theory of white fragility, Dustin Dwyer,
  49. Curriculum for White Americans to Educate Themselves on Race and Racism–from Ferguson to Charleston, Jon Greenberg
  50. This is what white people can do to support #BlackLivesMatter, Sally Kohn, Washington Post
  51. The Conversation We Must Have with Our White Children, Courtney Martin, On Being
  52. Advice for White Folks in the Wake of the Police Murder of a Black Person, Justin Cohen
  53. Be Less Racist: 12 Tips for White Dudes, by A White Dude, Dan Zanes, The Mash-Up Americans
  54. Dear Christians, Stop Judging the #BlackLivesMatter Movement and Start Defending the Oppressed, Stephen Mattson, Sojourners
  55. Where Is The White Church In The ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement?, Dianna Anderson, The Establishment
  56. The problem with saying “All lives matter”, Tyler Huckabee, Relevant
  57. The real reason white people say “all lives matter”, John Halstead, Huffington Post
  58. Reddit response to: Why is it so controversial when someone says “All Lives Matter” instead of “Black Lives Matter”?, GeekAesthete
  59. It’s Time You Realize #AllLivesMatter Is Racist, Rachel Charlene Lewis, Pride
  60. Here we are again and why we say Black Lives Matter, Shay Stewart-Bouley, Black Girl in Maine blog
  61. ‘We need co-conspirators, not allies’: how white Americans can fight racism, Rose Hackman, Guardian UK
  62. What to Do When They Don’t Want You to Exist, Rembert Browne, New York Magazine
  63. In times of anger and grief and sadness… dance, by Miriam Messinger, Interaction Institute for Social Change
  64. The Problem of Othering: Towards Inclusiveness and Belonging, john a. powell and Stephen Menendian
  65. Six ways white people can help end the War on Black PeopleShowing Up for Racial Justice
  66. Resources for Analysis, Action, Reflection, Alliance, White Noise Collective
  67. Local and national organizations addressing policy accountability and racial justice, Funders for Justice
  68. A Partial Map of Black-led Black Liberation Organizing, Resource Generation
  69. 28 Common Racist Attitudes and Behaviors, odinsblog, tumblr
  70. 29 Stupid Things White People Do and What We Can Do Instead, Baltimore Racial Justice Action (Wow – so much in this one for do-gooders!)
  71. 70+ Race Resources for White People, Scraping Raisins blog (SO much here!)
  72. The deep roots of “white trash” in America: “Not only are we not a post-racial society, we are certainly not a post-class society”, Kate Tuttle interview with Nancy Isenberg, Salon
  73. A Reading List for America, New York Public Library
  74. Black Lives Matter Fall 2016 Syllabus, Hunter College
  75. (New!) Syllabus for white people to educate themselves


Related Posts

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Confessions of a Recovering Neocolonialist

Do we “walk the talk”?

When an international NGO plans its obsolescence

Time to Listen? Time to address our organizational barriers

Brainwashed by the Do-Gooder Industrial Complex

“I will not keep quiet as before…”

7 things you need to speak truth to power


  1. Pingback: Get there - Global Health Hub: news and blogosphere aggregator

  2. Don’t miss this! 1) White Nonsense Roundup “If you are a Person of Color (POC), you have enough on your plate! It’s not your job to educate white people about privilege, racism, and what’s really going on in the world. If a white person is filling your social media with white nonsense – anything from overt racism to well-intentioned problematic statements – tag us and a white person will come roundup our own.”

    2) Written for ad agencies, but relevant for #aid agencies…
    Five Ways Agencies Can Dismantle Systems Keeping Diversity Out
    “It’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable.”

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