Leading the way forward with courage, compassion and conviction

Leading the way forward with courage, compassion and conviction

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This post was written by Foundation CEO Surina Khan.

For many of us this seems like a different nation than it was just a week ago. Confederate flags shocked viewers at a Veterans Day parade in Petaluma. In Redding, a student at Shasta High School handed out “deportation letters” to Latino classmates. A college student in San Diego was robbed as her attackers made derogatory comments about Muslims.

As a woman of color, first generation immigrant, lesbian and Muslim, it’s been deeply painful. But I have found comfort in my family, friends, colleagues and you, the Women’s Foundation of California community. We have been kind to each other, comforted each other and protested together.

In the last week, many of us have asked each other and ourselves, “What can I do?”

women-in-the-capitolAt the Foundation, we are determined to preserve the progress we have made. The organizations and leaders we support will have many challenges in this current reality and the philanthropic sector’s role will be increasingly important. We will be called upon to replace governmental services that will be cut, to safeguard the most vulnerable among us and to challenge violations of civil and human rights.

You can be assured that the Foundation will continue to train effective leaders through our Women’s Policy Institute at the state and county levels.

We will continue to make grants to community-based groups who are working for the health, safety and economic security of Californians.

California is powerful — and now Californians have a greater responsibility to show the world our commitment to dignity, respect, fairness, inclusivity, compassion and patience. No matter your political affiliation, your gender or your faith, if you share these values, stand alongside us. Raise your voice with us as we demand civility and justice.

Here are three things you can do today.

1. Contact California Senate President pro tem Kevin De Leon and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon to thank them for their commitment to protecting California’s values of inclusivity and fairness. We’ll need that commitment in the years ahead.
2. Contact your congressional representatives to voice your concerns. Ask them to denounce white supremacy and ensure that rights for women, LGBT people, immigrants and members of the Muslim and Jewish communities are not rolled back. Ask them to work for policies that advance economic security for all.
3. Invest in organizations and leaders who are advancing gender, racial and economic justice. If you need help identifying organizations, here is a list of our grant partners, or you can give through us and we will ensure that your donation supports community-based leadership.

We remain committed to a better future and we will lead with courage, compassion, and conviction. If you have other ideas about what the Foundation community can do, please share them with us. We are always listening at info@womensfoundca.org.

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