A Joint Response to COVID-19 from Chicago’s Philanthropy Affinity Group

As we continue to understand and feel the impact of COVID-19, the social sector has sprung into action offering rapid response to the critical challenge that we face. As the leaders of organizations committed to promoting dialogue, advocating for investment in communities of color, and building the infrastructure for equitable leadership roles in the social sector, we invite you to join us in the call for a timely and effective response to the current moment that centers individuals and communities that will experience the most severe impacts to their health, housing, economic security and safety during this crisis – communities of color.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy Chicago, Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy, and Chicago Latinos in Philanthropy are calling on our peers to:

  • Remain diligent and end the spread of misinformation: An overabundance of misinformation surrounding COVID-19 has led to a sharp rise in racist and xenophobic actions directed at individuals with Asian heritage. We must remain aware of how our words and actions can project fears of the virus onto marginalized groups or spread unfounded associations.
  • Implement practices that advance equity and trust: Recent discussions across the sector about the need to shift our practices to focus on racial justice and power-sharing must move from idea to action. In this moment we must embody the approach of trust-based philanthropy and use a racial justice lens to appropriately respond to a crisis that is the result of structural failures, institutional negligence, and the under-funding of services for our communities.
  • Advocate for the safety of all communities: It is essential and in our best interest to support those experiencing hardship by ensuring all our communities feel safe in accessing health care and other benefits regardless of eligibility.
  • Lean into the discomfort: We must take this opportunity to transform our response to the needs of others, shift our perspective to encompass a deeper awareness and relationship with individuals and communities that are most likely to experience the most devastating effects COVID-19, and lean into the discomfort of making uncomfortable and restricting choices for ourselves while supporting others.

We invite you to join us in this call to push for practices and policies that will support those currently facing the challenge of this moment and create a better pathway forward for us all.

In solidarity,

The Steering Committee of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy Chicago
The Leadership Team of Chicago African Americans in Philanthropy
The Steering Committee of Chicago Latinos in Philanthropy

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