It’s been an exciting first quarter for the Emergent Fund! Since January, we have awarded $220,000 in grants to frontline organizations working across the country, in urban and rural areas, empowering Indigenous, Latinx, Black, Muslim and Trans communities, and touching critical issues of the current moment—ranging from criminal justice, to gender-based violence in the workplace, to health care access. Read on to learn more about the strategies and work we’ve been funding!
CIVIC ENGAGEMENT IN FRONTLINE COMMUNITIES
Georgia Muslim Voter Project (GMVP)
Muslim Civic Engagement Convening
GMVP will bring together grassroots organizations working towards civic engagement in the Muslim American community to share best practices, resources, and work toward shared strategies for building power. The proposal includes bringing together organizations or individuals from across the country that do non-partisan voter registration and GOTV activities in Muslim communities to provide training, technical assistance, discuss best practices, and create a platform or virtual space for future collaboration and tracking of Muslim turnout across the country.
Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL)
Building power on Chicago's South Side
SOUL works to seed leadership and strengthen civic engagement in communities of color on the Southside and South Suburbs of Chicago. Building on their work in prosecutor accountability and criminal justice reform, SOUL seeks to build a table of 20 faith leaders to adopt a radical criminal justice reform platform. Via this relationship with clergy members and movement organizers, they will work to redefine public safety in communities of color, with a focus on moving Chicago’s City Council to pass an ordinance to create a police civilian oversight board, advancing bail reform, and organizing formerly incarcerated community members to advocate for voting access.
Advance Native Political Leadership
Advance Native Political Leadership is an emergent project that was birthed through WDN’s Reflective Democracy Campaign. This grassroots project is working to build political power for Native communities by working towards equity in Native American representation in elected offices and building Native integrated voter engagement capacity.
Funding will support civic engagement training and strategy development ahead of a key election and opportunity for native communities to build power in San Juan County, Utah, and to hold a 2018 national summit on power building in Native communities, including candidate and political operative trainings, integrated voter engagement trainings, peer learning and development, and digital organizing strategies.
SUPER-CHARGED POLICY ADVOCACY & ACCOUNTABILITY
Indigenous Climate Action
Climate Change Toolkit
Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) is Canada’s premier Indigenous-led climate justice organization, governed by an all-Indigenous steering committee representing a range of land defenders, water protectors, knowledge holders, and grassroots leaders. Many of you may remember hearing from ICA’s Executive Director, Eriel Deranger, at WDN Connect.
ICA is developing a climate change toolkit founded in an Indigenous worldview. At the core, this toolkit will highlight how Indigenous knowledge, rights and systems are critically important in developing successful climate change strategies, policies and mitigation and adaptation plans, and it will serve as a resource to inform and inspire Indigenous inclusion in the climate justice movement.
United We Dream
Mobilization leading up to the expiration of DACA
UWD seeks to escalate mobilizations leading up to the expiration of DACA on March 5, and to push for the Dream Act and protect their community from detention and deportation. With just a few weeks until the DACA program expires, UWD will intensify mobilizations with their network, allies, and coalition partners to push fiercely for the Dream Act and protections against deportation for more than 800,000 undocumented youth and their families leading up to the March 5 expiration of DACA. From March 1-5, they will mobilize to Washington, D.C. more than 400 immigrant youth leaders from their local grassroots affiliates in New Mexico, Florida, Texas, and other states. Funding from the Emergent Fund will be used to cover transportation, meals, and lodging costs.
Coming clean is an innovative collaboration between the Environmental Justice Health Alliance (EJHA), Coming Clean, and the Center for Earth, Energy and Democracy (CEED) to support the capacity of environmental justice organizations/alliances and communities to advance local policy improvements, advocate on their own behalf directly to local and national decision makers, and coordinate to defend critical environmental health and environmental justice and climate justice policies. The collaborative’s efforts will focus on organizing in working-class and poor communities in more conservative states, like West Louisville, Kentucky; Wilmington, Delaware; and Charleston, West Virginia.
2018-2020 is a critical period in which the groups feel they have a special window of opportunity to highlight issues of the extensive chemical dangers that already exist in these communities, as well as the vulnerability of hazardous facilities and contaminated sites to new extreme weather events driven by climate change. They will work to educate future policy makers, engage community members, and build momentum around these issues.
The Transgender Law Center
Campaign against the rollback of healthcare-related gender identity discrimination protections
The Transgender Law Center and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) will launch a national trans-led campaign against the rollback of ACA gender identity discrimination protections and HHS religious refusal policies. The rollback of ACA Section 155—which provides protections prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity and abortion history—and the recent Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) rule allowing medical providers to illegally discriminate against patients based on who they are as long as the providers cite religion, will be the next step in the new administration’ attack on reproductive rights and trans and gender-non-conforming people. Trans and gender-non-conforming communities already face barriers to accessing health care and services and continues to face extreme violence and discrimination. The proposed campaign will prepare these communities to track, advocate against, and control the narrative around these rollbacks, as well as link their movement with reproductive justice advocates’ efforts.
Coalition of Immokalee Workers
The Coalition of Immokalee Workers is comprised of and led by men and women laboring in the fields and other low-wage industries in Immokalee, Florida. The vast majority of farmworkers in their community have migrated from Mexico, Guatemala and Haiti. Their years of experience working in the fields and defending their rights in their home countries provides unique insight into how human rights abuses like gender-based violence unfold in practice as well as the urgent and abiding interest in ending these abuses once and for all. The Fair Food Program was farmworker-designed to ensure that these rights live in practice not just principle. The Program gave birth to the model of Worker-driven Social Responsibility, a new paradigm being adapted by other industries and supply chains that places workers at the helm throughout the entire process from designing solutions to educating other workers on their rights, and to serving as protected, frontline monitors of their own rights.
This farmworker-designed program is internationally recognized for its unparalleled and swift elimination of gender-based violence and other grave human rights abuses that have plagued US agriculture for generations. Through the Fair Food Program, more than a dozen participating corporations, like Walmart and McDonald’s, use their purchasing power to dramatically improve farmworker wages and require their suppliers to uphold farmworker-designed human rights standards. Growers who turn a blind eye to GBV, forced labor or other zero-tolerance offenses, are suspended and lose the ability to sell to these brands.
Recently the coalition ran a #TimesUpWendys campaign, and Emergent Fund support will help them to expand the Fair Food Program and the translation of its model into other supply chains and worksites.
Teaching for Change and Muslim ARC
Islamophobia: A people's history teaching guide
In collaboration, Teaching for Change and Muslim ARC will work to develop a results-based curriculum for schools, social change organizations, and community leaders on Islamophobia. This project addresses root causes of Islamophobia by placing Islamophobia firmly within an American context and shared cultural history. Their curriculum investigates the history of Muslims in the U.S. from the 17th century to the present, emphasizing the connections between Islamophobia, anti-Black and anti-immigrant racism.
The project is hosted by Teaching for Change, a non-profit organization that promotes anti-bias education through teacher education and empowering parent engagement, and will be developed in partnership with Muslim ARC. The funds will help bring together MuslimARC staff, Teaching for Change, and others for content development, testing, exploring, and learning from engaging with the material.
LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES
Trans Sistas of Color Project Leadership Academy
Trans women of color within the city of Detroit created the Trans Sistas of Color Project (TSOCP) with the goal to create a safe space to find their place in a world where trans women of color leadership is often erased. To date they have provided emergency assistance to survivors of hate crimes, life skills classes, and general community building supports for their community. Emergent Fund is supporting them to launch a year-long leadership academy organized and facilitated by trans women of color, for trans women of color. Topics will include Power and Oppression, Advocacy and Organizing, Violence and Self Care, and understanding disparities in the Trans community. The group comes highly recommended by members of our nominations network.
ANTI-RACIST ORGANIZING AND COMMUNITY DEFENSE
United Vision for Idaho
Rise Up Rural Idaho
UVI is the state's only progressive coalition committed to bridging and uniting communities' across the state to win policy and systems change. The program focuses on civic and direct action, strengthening relationships between diverse organizations, empowering and engaging individuals, and mobilizing cross constituencies across the state. Real obstacles exist in Idaho, from the vast and remote landscape and the cost of traveling hundreds and hundreds of miles to rural communities across Idaho to the scarcity of funding for progressive organizing in a place where the far right is strong. Part of the reason these groups have been so successful is because they target areas that are largely off the radar of national funders who dismiss them as too conservative to produce immediate change.
In spite of these challenges, UVI advocates as a unified group to address economic, social, and environmental injustice; advance policies; build collective power; and produce real change. Emergent Fund will support a project to hold workshops and trainings for progressive organizations and members of the community living in four distinct remote regions across Idaho: Idaho Falls, Twin Falls, Pocatello, Moscow and Coeur d’Alene—areas without organizing resources that have increasingly become havens for white nationalism. These workshops and trainings will provide a systemic and progressive framework for how to build organizations, transformative relationships, and implement tactics that build long-term power and transcend single issue campaigns.
Latino Union of Chicago
Barrio Defense Committees Project
Latino Union is a membership-based organization of day laborers and household workers based in Chicago’s vibrant Albany Park neighborhood. Since the early 2000s, Latino Union has worked to develop community leaders in the struggle for racial and economic justice. In 2017, Latino Union turned its focus to creating a community infrastructure to prepare for and respond to immigration raids, and launched an organizing drive to create safety plans for each of Chicago’s seven day labor street corner hiring sites. Through this process, Latino Union engaged nearly 350 day laborers and allies, and offered know your rights trainings to 581 community members.
Building on this work, Latino Union is now piloting and Emergent Fund is supporting new ways of engaging community members in neighborhood-based deportation defense organizing that ties together struggles against immigration enforcement and police violence in a framework of confronting anti-Black racism among non-Black Latinx communities. Under the pilot, members will turn to their neighborhoods to lead small geographically based circles of workers as ultra-local community defense committees, building deep preparedness for immigration raids and engaging community members in challenging criminalization by resolving issues without calling the police. Each block-based circle of members will create preparedness plans, learn how to respond to a raid at the home of a neighbor, role-play alternatives to calling the police, discuss the relationship between immigration enforcement and mass incarceration, and engage members in larger immigrants rights and anti-criminalization campaigns. These include the campaign to pass a binding sanctuary ordinance in the town of Cicero and the campaign to dismantle the Chicago Police Department’s gang database.
Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA)
PANA works with newcomer families from Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and Africa to lift the voice, visibility, and impact of refugee communities who have the shared experience of forced displacement, and the challenge of rebuilding a sense of home and belonging in San Diego. Their social change strategies involve member-led participatory action research to publish a biennial San Diego Refugee Experiences report; Grassroots organizing and leadership development to advance issues identified in the report and through community conversations; and a year-round integrated civic engagement strategy. Emergent Fund is helping to support their protection efforts doing rapid-response work in refugee and Muslim communities. These include: know your rights workshops, legal clinics and assistance, emergency town halls, and walk-in intakes.