Editor’s word: The next article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the writer’s personal. Learn extra opinions on theGrio.
I nonetheless bear in mind the day I met Tina Turner at Tower Data as a 5-year-old Black woman. She stuffed the room together with her pretty chuckle, huge smile and even larger vitality. It was exhilarating to see her, a Black girl artist proudly owning your complete retailer. I used to be in awe of the presence of this highly effective instance of a Black girl artist.
As I obtained older and my world turned larger, I grew to much more deeply admire the facility of Black artists and innovators and what they provide to Black folks residing in a world that’s not constructed for us. That is why I now work to maneuver establishments and donors to put money into the creative visions, innovation, well being, security, analysis, mind belief and pleasure of Black women and gender-expansive youth. Black Lady Freedom Fund, an initiative of Grantmakers for Women of Shade, is one instance of that work. Along with mobilizing investments, BGFF and the #1Billion4BlackGirls marketing campaign co-host the Black Lady Freedom Week, a weeklong area the place Black women, femmes and gender-expansive youth throughout the nation can see themselves and be celebrated.
The theme of this 12 months’s collection of occasions facilities on the creative imaginative and prescient, activism and innovation of Black women and gender-expansive youth. From Feb. 13 to Feb. 19, we’ll collect just about to highlight Black girls, women and gender-expansive youth, together with award-winning director, author and producer Gina Prince-Bythewood, who most lately directed the blockbuster hit “The Lady King,” and Leila Mottley, writer of the New York Instances bestseller, Oprah’s E-book Membership choose and Booker Prize nominee debut novel “Nightcrawler.”
These luminaries not solely gentle the way in which for the subsequent technology of Black artists and innovators, however they’re the cultural influencers who assist us see the complete embodiment of Black women’ and Black folks’s lives, past tropes of tragedy and unhappiness, to incorporate the infinite potentialities that await them and the liberated futures they’re creating. They assist shift the narrative and alter hearts and minds about Black women, femmes and gender-expansive youth, who’re important to reaching a extra simply world. But, we all know that Black women, femmes and gender-expansive youth are the least seen, acknowledged or invested in. Analysis reveals that lower than $15 million, about 4.2%, of philanthropic giving was specified for Black girls and women in 2017, the newest figures obtainable. Black girls and women acquired $17,000 much less in grant assist in comparison with a median of $35,000 for all basis grants.
The Black Lady Freedom Fund and the #1Billion4BlackGirls marketing campaign intention to alter that. Since 2021, the Black Lady Freedom Fund has invested greater than $7 million into over 80 organizations throughout the US. From cultivating academic alternatives in STEM to deep therapeutic, management growth and past, the work our grantee companions are doing is not only altering the lives of Black women, femmes, and gender-expansive youth — they’re basically altering how others perceive the function of Black women in our communities and the world.
The #1Billion4BlackGirls marketing campaign is the first-of-its-kind motion to mobilize a $1 billion funding in Black women, femmes and gender-expansive youth. The eight co-founders of the #1Billion4BlackGirls marketing campaign drive the strategic route and priorities of the marketing campaign, and so they proceed to advocate for funding in Black women and gender-expansive youth by way of every of their respective organizations and private advocacy work.
“The function of the artist is to make the revolution irresistible,” goes the saying from legendary cultural and group employee Toni Cade Bambara. We all know that artwork, tradition, innovation and ingenuity are integral components of a continuum of social justice, advocacy, and therapeutic. We get to put money into our Black woman, femme and gender-expansive creators as a result of they deserve it. They’re the sunshine of risk that’s so needed in these turbulent instances.
Cidra M. Sebastien is the fund supervisor of the Black Lady Freedom Fund, an initiative of Grantmakers for Women of Shade. The group is a fiscally sponsored venture of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Sebastien is an auntie, educator, youth advocate, and runner. To study extra and donate, click on right here.
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