The Women Donors Network has made a commitment to incorporate a racial justice lens in all of its work, internally as an organization, and externally as a progressive movement leader and grant-maker. The Racial Justice Working Group (RJWG), made up of WDN members and staff, is the main vehicle for making sure WDN is living its values when it comes to racial justice. Our goal is to develop a shared analysis within WDN about the role of race in our society.
When we use the term “racial justice” we mean “the proactive reinforcement of policies, practices, attitudes and actions that produce equitable power, opportunities, treatment and impact outcomes for all (Rinku Sen, Fund Racial Justice Strategies, Not Just Diversity.)
Since it formed in 2008, the RJWG has conducted in-depth surveys of WDN members who had demonstrated interest in deepening the conversation about race within WDN, through a series of interviews and in a session at the 2009 Annual Conference. The group has also been instrumental in creating and executing educational programming for members and partners, a series of screenings around the country of the PBS special report “Race: The Power of an Illusion,” and a one-day mini-conference in November 2011 called “Critical Connections” focused on the intersection of race, gender and sexual orientation.
Our ongoing work focuses on four primary strategies, which we developed based on feedback from members during our initial survey:
- Continued discussions with WDN members
- Co-sponsored educational opportunities with existing circles
- Regional events with a focus on issues of race, class, and gender
- Building partnerships with other organizations working in the field of racial justice
Through peer-to-peer learning, collective brainstorming, and creative problem solving, the RJWG creates spaces for members to deepen their understanding and respond to persistent racial inequity through personal, institutional, and systemic change. We believe that together we can find ways to reflect our deepest-held values in the outcomes of our work and our actions.
The RJWG works to support a culture and practice within WDN that aligns our values with our actions such that we actively use our collective knowledge and resources to challenge systems of oppression.