Collectively resourcing the ecosystem

The Astraea Foundation is thrilled to announce that we have received a $4 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, as part of her 2019 pledge to donate the majority of her wealth back to the society that helped generate it.

Astraea’s blog, Collective Care Blog: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haulis Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a feminist LBTQI funder, we believe it is our responsibility to shed light on the ways our communities are particularly impacted by the crisis, share insights around the criticality of healing justice and collective care, as well as the ways in which we’re digging deep to keep shifting power to the grassroots in meaningful and sustainable ways.

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The Astraea Foundation is thrilled to announce that we have received a $4 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, as part of her 2019 pledge to donate the majority of her wealth back to the society that helped generate it. As one of 116 recipients, we are in extraordinary company with many gender, racial, economic and climate justice organizations fighting for transformative social change.

Scott’s giving strategy demonstrates what responsible and values-driven redistribution of wealth can look like for big-dollar donors looking to meaningfully invest in a more equitable society. Her strategy of resourcing across multiple social justice movements is a remarkable model for philanthropy that centers organizational leadership by those most impacted by inequities. Of the organizations awarded funding, “91 percent of the racial-equity organizations are run by leaders of color, 100 percent of the LGBTQ+ equity organizations are run by LGBTQ+ leaders and 83 percent of the gender-equity organizations are run by women, bringing lived experience to solutions for imbalanced social systems”. 

In addition to lifting up intersectional movement ecosystems necessary to drive transformative change, Scott also notes that resources of all kinds are needed by social justice movements and all contributions matter. As a public foundation, Astraea works in strategic partnership with donors of all levels to ensure that their resources reach self-led LBTQI groups working for racial, gender and economic justice who are best positioned to drive transformative change. Each and every single donor who has supported Astraea over our 43 years by contributing their time, resources or energy, we thank you! Whether you commit to donating $5 a month or give a significant one-time gift, you are an integral part of an ecosystem of support that enables us to do the work we are all charged to do – collectively resource our movements. Thank you for being in community and in solidarity with us. 

We know that when we uplift self-led groups and engage in responsive grantmaking with unrestricted, long-term support, we resource movements to build capacity, strengthen coalitions and envision solutions that bring about lasting change. Multi-year unrestricted resourcing supports grassroots groups to navigate crises like COVID-19 and its impacts on their communities even as they continue and deepen their ongoing work to upend complex structural inequities. Grantmaking can and must shift power to those who are closest to the issues being addressed.

Unfortunately, philanthropy as a whole has yet to catch up to this need: as of 2018, only 20 percent of nonprofit funding in the United States was unrestricted, tying nonprofits to donors’ aims. Funding often fails to reach those on the frontlines of social justice movements – especially LBTQI people and indigenous, Black, Latinx and other racialized communities – cutting off resources from where they are most needed. For example, in 2017-2018, the Global Philanthropy Project and Funders for LGBTQ Issues found that global LGBTI foundation funding made up less than 31 cents of every $100 of overall foundation giving. A new report from the Ms. Foundation revealed that total philanthropic giving to women and girls of color is about $5.48 per year for each woman or girl of color in the United States. Our own research in collaboration with American Jewish World Service, GATE and Mama Cash shows that most LBQ, trans and intersex organizations are operating with budgets of $10,000 or less.

These statistics further demonstrate what we know to be true: philanthropy is awash in contradictions, with gatekeepers keeping resources from the very communities from whom they have built their wealth. We hold a deep awareness of what it means to steward resources that come from the same harmful systems that we and our grantee partners seek to transform. We recommit ourselves to the long-term effort to dismantle the systems of capitalism, white supremacy and patriarchy that make an entity like Astraea necessary to help hold philanthropy accountable – even as we sit within philanthropy as a bridge to our movements. We are reminded that it is our movements that have been putting forward this vision over so many years: liberate your wealth and return it to the people from whom you have profited. 

Thank you again to all of Astraea’s donors, partners, and supporters. When we work in concert to be in true partnership with our movements and take their lead in the use of resources, collective liberation is possible. 

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The Power of Pausing

In July, the Astraea staff took a bold step: we shut our (metaphorical) doors for two weeks, and we took an extremely necessary break.

Astraea’s blog, Collective Care Blog: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haulis Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a feminist LBTQI funder, we believe it is our responsibility to shed light on the ways our communities are particularly impacted by the crisis, share insights around the criticality of healing justice and collective care, as well as the ways in which we’re digging deep to keep shifting power to the grassroots in meaningful and sustainable ways.

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In July, the Astraea staff took a bold step: we shut our (metaphorical) doors for two weeks, and we took an extremely necessary break

Like many other social justice organizations and foundations, we had been moving and working at breakneck speed for far too long, barely pausing to take a breath. When the pandemic hit earlier this year, we took some initial steps to support the health and wellbeing of our staff – reducing staff work hours, providing unlimited sick leave for anyone diagnosed with or caring for a loved one with COVID-19, ensuring that staff had access to the equipment they needed to work from home as comfortably as possible. These steps helped us to slow down a little bit, but stopping altogether felt like it was out of the question.

Until we just did it. We took the decision to go on an organization-wide “pause” from July 1-15, ensuring beforehand that all staff members would be able to step away from their work fully and take the opportunity to rest and reflect – both personally and on their role and place in Astraea’s ecosystem. We recognized the pause as not just a vacation, but as a radical, political, subversive act: one that rejects dominant capitalist and white supremacist definitions of productivity as tied to success, and instead disrupts by embracing rest, care, and joy as critical to the health of our people and therefore the health of Astraea.

As an organization in the midst of a leadership transition, the pause was also an opportunity to reflect on the kind of organization we want to build and to be, in order to continue serving our grantee partners and sustain powerful global LBTQI movements in the best way possible. We know that our movements have been hit especially hard by the impacts of COVID-19, and continue to be deeply and disproportionately impacted by the ongoing pandemics that are white supremacy, racism, xenophobia, sexism, and transphobia. Reverend angel Kyodo williams, Black writer, activist, and Zen priest who led our staff in sessions on both ends of the pause, reminded us that there is a wholeness to movements, and we have the ability to shape our contribution to that whole, based on the choices we make. Our choice to make rest and reflection a priority is one critical step in becoming the Astraea we know is possible – one that is truly anti-racist, intersectional, feminist, queer, and global.

As we emerged from our pause on July 15, having each had distinct experiences, Reverend angel brought us together to share snippets from our time away, and most importantly to listen and be present with one another. A reminder that just as our movements are whole, we too as Astraea are a whole, each person making up an essential piece of the organization. We shared reflections, experiences, and thoughts small and big. Some of us went on hikes, others caught up on sleep, and many of us continued to care for loved ones. Some of us experienced joy and relief, and others grappled with grief and sadness. Whatever our individual experiences, in listening to one another and making space for each person, we were reminded that we had collectively taken the decision to pause, to collectively prioritize care for ourselves and our Astraea community. And that is powerful.

We wanted to share a few reflections from our staff members on the pause, in hopes that you and your organizations might also be inspired to do the same:

  • The pause was remarkable for me – it allowed me to dedicate endless unstructured time to reground myself in my body, from which I had become a bit disconnected. Fully rested, I found myself open to engaging in shadow work that was unlikely to be explored if not for this pause. I took this time to take to the streets in solidarity with my city against police violence, which was a truly powerful experience that I will carry with me for my entire life. – Hanna Israel, Development Associate, Institutional Partnerships
  • The pause gave me an opportunity to disrupt the capitalist routines of overwork I often find myself caught up in. It gave me a moment to breathe and to reflect on how I can bring practices that promote wellness and sustainability to my work at Astraea. Kim Kaletsky, Senior Communications Manager
  • Our organizational pause was an act that I have come to understand even more deeply was both risky and revolutionary. I hope each of the Astraea staff members were able to find something, some way of creating time and space to nurture themselves that they will now commit to continuing. And as we continue to buckle down more deeply on our work as a social justice funder and partner, it is our self-care that can re-fuel our anger and outrage into something more powerful. – Sandy Nathan, Interim Executive Director

More reading on the power of the pause:

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Out of Office: We’re Pausing to Reflect

Astraea will be taking an organization-wide pause from July 1 – July 15, 2020.

Pictured: Astraea staff during our pre-pause video chat retreat

Hello!

Astraea will be taking an organization-wide pause from July 1 – July 15, 2020. As we continue our culture change and organizational transformation work, we are mindful of the importance of slowing down and making intentional time and space to reflect. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have made this need to pause and replenish our minds and bodies all the more urgent and necessary, so that we are able to return to Astraea, to our grantees, and our supporters rested, rejuvenated, and ready to continue the joyful struggle.

Astraea staff will not be working between July 1 – 15, 2020. We will resume our regular working hours on July 16, 2020.

As the pandemic continues to impact communities already affected by systemic inequalities, we are called upon to deepen our support for grantee partners working to care for their people. COVID-19’s impacts are exacerbated by the longstanding pandemic that is anti-Black racism and white supremacy. Astraea stands in solidarity with the recent powerful uprisings against the racial injustice that threatens Black lives, and we continue to fuel LBTQI BIPOC activists whose visions and labor are building more just futures for us all.

We opened our pause this afternoon with a session led by Reverend Angel Kyodo Williams, a Black writer, activist, Zen priest, and trusted friend to Astraea. Reverend Angel will be joining us again at the end of the pause, guiding us into reflections and practices to consider the Astraea we want to become.

This pause period is an opportunity for Astraea staff to step away from our desks, and reflect on how we can step more into “being” as opposed to “doing.” It is also a time for us to examine our own practices as we work to be an anti-racist organization and vision the Astraea we know is possible—one that is truly anti-racist, intersectional, feminist, queer, and international. As a queer feminist fund, we owe everything to Black, Indigenous, Women of Color and Global South feminists who built the intersectional vision of liberation that is at the very core of our mission.

Ultimately, we hope that this pause will enable us to show up at Astraea, in philanthropy, for our grantee partners, and in our communities in even more powerful ways.

In Solidarity,
The Astraea Staff

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Astraea’s blog, Collective Care Blog: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haulis Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a feminist LBTQI funder, we believe it is our responsibility to shed light on the ways our communities are particularly impacted by the crisis, share insights around the criticality of healing justice and collective care, as well as the ways in which we’re digging deep to keep shifting power to the grassroots in meaningful and sustainable ways.

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Black-led organizations are supporting their movements through a ‘double pandemic’

The recent uprisings across the U.S. and around the world have the power to create change. Simultaneously we know that dismantling systemic racism will not happen overnight, and that it is years of movement labor by Black organizations that has brought us to this point. For this blog post, we spoke to Program Officer Courtney Okeke to delve a little deeper into some of the work our grantees have been doing to support their communities over the last few months, and highlight why it is critical we support that work, not just now but always, if we want to ensure our movements’ sustainability and resilience.

Astraea’s blog, Collective Care Blog: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haulis Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a feminist LBTQI funder, we believe it is our responsibility to shed light on the ways our communities are particularly impacted by the crisis, share insights around the criticality of healing justice and collective care, as well as the ways in which we’re digging deep to keep shifting power to the grassroots in meaningful and sustainable ways.

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“These times are both: painful and pivotal. They are taxing times with the double pandemics of coronavirus and long-standing violence against Black people absorbing people in differing degrees of anxiety, isolation, fear, disgust, devastation, and a dynamic, pulsing display of determination.” – Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams, Black activist, writer, and Zen priest

Black communities are living through two public health crises simultaneously. One – COVID-19 – began in late 2019 and the other – racism – has been ongoing for over 400 years. Both have disproportionate and devastating impacts on Black and Brown communities. With uprisings for the Black Lives Matter movement in their fourth week in the United States, the words of Rev. Angel Kyodo Williams, “these times are both: painful and pivotal” are poignant. They remind us that these uprisings have the power to create change, and simultaneously that dismantling systemic racism will not happen overnight, and Black people continue to face ongoing violence.

In our statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, we amplified and encouraged folks to support our U.S. based grantees who have been on the frontlines working to simultaneously advance racial and gender justice, while also responding to the needs of their communities as a result of COVID-19, a crisis that has disproportionately impacted Black, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Indigenous communities. For this blog post, we spoke to Program Officer Courtney Okeke to delve a little deeper into some of the work our grantees have been doing to support their communities over the last few months, and highlight why it is critical we support that work, not just now but always, if we want to ensure our movements’ sustainability and resilience.

While the recent demonstrations are unprecedented in many ways, they are the result of decades of Black-led organizing towards anti-racism, abolition, and healing justice. Similarly, while Black and Brown communities have rapidly mobilized to support their communities through COVID-19 over the last few months, their strategies come from years of community-centered collective care work that has been building towards an abolitionist vision for the future. As Astraea, we are incredibly proud to fund and support many of these Black-led LBTQI organizations fighting to radically reimagine our societies as safe for us all.

How have our grantees been impacted by COVID-19?

All our grantees have been impacted by COVID-19 in some way, and have had to adapt their strategies to meet this moment, be that expanding mutual aid or expanding their organizing to support community needs, all the while complying with shutdowns across the country. As Program Officer Courtney Okeke shared, “Our grantees are Black, migrant, trans, and gender non-conforming (GNC) led and work across the very communities who are being most affected by the racial, healthcare, and economic injustices being exacerbated right now – HIV+ people, incarcerated people, sex worker communities, those who are unhoused, those who are migrants, those dealing with domestic violence, those who don’t have access to healthcare and reproductive health services, and more.”

Deepening Coalitions

Coalition building is critical for our movements because it brings groups together across issues, identities, and geographies, ultimately supporting them to create social change. The deepening of coalitions has been a key strategy groups have been using to coalesce around shared visions for their communities.

Many of our grantees are part of the Movement for Black Lives – including Law for Black Lives, BYP100, MediaJustice, Solutions Not Punishment Collaborative, and others – which has been a critical platform for Black-led groups of all sizes to really build together towards the larger Black Lives Matter agenda. 

Groups that have not been part of established platforms or coalitions in the past are also coming together to work with others who have similar goals. One such partnership is the work that grantees Black and Pink and TGIJP are doing together to support queer and trans Black people in prisons who are at extremely high risk of being infected by COVID-19. Additionally, with TGIJP leading, the groups have been working to specifically support Black trans people coming out of prison to ensure they have community support and resources during this period of social isolation, especially given that being criminalized, leaving the prison system, and reentering society already presents a number of challenges. This work of course remains incredibly necessary through the current protests and uprisings.

Fighting for access to healthcare and reproductive rights

The U.S. South – and particularly Black communities in the region – has been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of unequal access to healthcare and ill-equipped healthcare facilities. This is on top of growing attacks on abortion and trans people’s ability to access healthcare, just to name a few.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Astraea grantees SisterSong and SPARK were working to advance reproductive justice and were often first responders for Black queer and trans communities in terms of connecting people to birthing support, doulas, and healthcare support in general. The two organizations also regularly work to create culture change, advance knowledge around reproductive justice, and build networks to improve policies and systems that negatively impact the reproductive lives and bodily autonomy of their communities. With COVID-19, the cracks in the existing healthcare system have deepened and the work of SisterSong, SPARK, and others like them has taken on even more urgency and had to expand to be able to meet their communities’ needs.

Additionally, SisterSong and SPARK have also been working in partnership with various other groups – faith-based groups, smaller rural organizations, as well as the Southeastern Alliance for Reproductive Equity (SARE), a regional partnership working to align reproductive rights, health, and justice organizations serving diverse communities in the Southeast. The work and collaboration of these coalitions has doubled down during this period, given that individual groups’ capacity is stretched but the need for their advocacy is more critical than ever.

Prioritizing Healing Justice

COVID-19 and the recent uprisings have highlighted the need for Black and Brown communities to be able to access healing justice tools and practices as essential to their survival and health. Astraea grantee National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network (NQTTCN) has been working both to increases their communities’ access to healers across the country, as well as to create spaces to ensure that healers themselves have access to the support systems and tools they need to be able to sustain their work. Throughout the uprisings, NQTTCN has also been using its own platforms to amplify the work of Black mental health and healing justice practitioners.

Moving beyond this ‘moment of crisis’

In Intersections of Justice in the Time of Coronavirus Cara Page & Eesha Pandit write, “As we increasingly hear the word “crisis,” which evokes panic and a fear-based response, this is an opportunity to be clear and intentional about exactly what the crisis is. In fact, though we are indeed facing a public health crisis in the form of a virus, many of our communities live in crisis and economic disparities constantly. These crises, such as lack of access to dignified and quality health care and housing, a living wage, electricity, running water and freedom from state, communal, and interpersonal violence, are created and sustained by institutions and social structures that are working as intended.”

Black queer and trans communities in the United States live in a constant state of crisis and economic disparities as a result of ongoing state-led violence and discrimination. The grassroots, community-centered collective care work of Black-led organizations is not at all new, but as crises further marginalize these communities, the urgent need to resource it and sustain it only grows. 

Ultimately however, as Cara and Eesha write, it’s about moving beyond the panic and fear of just this moment. We have to recognize that the work of Black-led organizations is an absolutely critical, galvanizing force for seeding transformative change, and we have to resource it. If we want to see that change, that transformation, and those abolitionist visions come to life, we must fund the work of Black activists, and support them to build power not just now, but forever.

Donate to Astraea now and support the incredible Black queer and trans-led organizing working to secure a more just future for us all.

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Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced: Our LBQ Report is finally here!

We are delighted to launch our new report, Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced: The State of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Movements, in partnership with peer feminist fund Mama Cash.

We are delighted to launch our new report, Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced: The State of Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Movements, in partnership with peer feminist fund Mama Cash.

Lesbian, bisexual, and queer (LBQ)* movements are doing essential work around the world, and this global moment reflects their leadership. As Black Lives Matter movements push to dismantle racism and white supremacy, the grassroots abolition-centered work of many Black LBQ organizers has been a galvanizing force. As communities grapple with the devastating impacts of COVID-19, LBQ groups are providing critical mutual aid, collective care support, and creative movement-building strategies to meet the moment.

With data from 378 activists in 97 countries and 67 donors across philanthropy, Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced documents LBQ activists’ priorities and the current lack of resourcing for their work, and makes a powerful case for why increased and more effective funding is crucially needed.

As Astraea, our lesbian feminist roots and ethos are core to our work and the funding principles that guide us. In 1977, our founding mothers—a cross-class, multi-racial group of women activists—came together to fund a burgeoning women’s movement centering the leadership of lesbians and women of color, who had long been at the forefront of so many social justice movements but whose work had gone under-resourced and under-recognized.

Vibrant Yet Under-Resourced is in many ways a continuation of that vision. It is a celebration of the growing, vibrant LBQ movements that are pushing for transformative change—across and at the intersections of gender, racial, environmental, and economic justice. It is simultaneously an urgent call to philanthropy to commit to investing in the LBQ movements advancing this radical politics of liberation for us all.

We are so grateful to have been able to collaborate on this report with Mama Cash, as well as with the LBQ activists, advisors, and donors whose contributions have been invaluable. As you work your way through its colorful pages, we hope that you are inspired and called to resource the powerful and vital work of the LBQ movements changing the world.

*Following a year-long consultation with activists, “LBQ” is the term used throughout the report. LBQ focuses on sexual identity and is inclusive of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women, both cisgender and trans, and all non-binary people on the gender spectrum who relate to a lesbian, bisexual, and/or queer identity

Read it online

Introducing Astraea’s newest board members!

On behalf of the entire Astraea Board of Directors and staff, it is with great excitement that we introduce you to Astraea’s four newest board members!

Dear friends,

On behalf of the entire Astraea Board of Directors and staff, it is with great excitement that we introduce you to Astraea’s four newest board members!

Astraea is in a pivotal moment as we build towards our vision for the organization’s future—one that is anti-racist and takes an intersectional feminist lens; centers transformative and distributive leadership; continues to push the boundaries of philanthropy; and of course, keeps resourcing the work of powerful grassroots LBTQI movements around the world.

Our newest board members reflect those very values and commitments through their own work, lived experiences, and leadership. We are so pleased to welcome Ana Conner, Naa Hammond, Ilana Landsberg-Lewis, and Alison Riley to the Astraea board, and we look forward to adding their voices and perspectives.

Please join us in giving a warm welcome to Astraea’s newest board members! We look forward to working and building with them in the months and years to come.

With warm regards,

Iimay Ho and Eboné Bishop
Co-Chairs, Astraea Board of Directors

Meet our newest board members!

Ana Conner

is the Co-Executive Director of Third Wave Fund, an activist fund led by and for women of color, intersex, queer, and trans folks under the age of 35 in the US. Before Third Wave Fund, they were at Borealis Philanthropy, supporting the Transforming Movements Fund and Black-led Movement Fund, and Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, working on the Development Team. [Read more]

Naa Hammond

is a Black, African, immigrant, queer femme, and a Senior Program Officer with Groundswell Fund, a public foundation that strengthens U.S. movements for reproductive and social justice. Over the last decade, Naa has worked in development and grassroots fundraising with several U.S. organizations committed to gender, racial and economic justice, including FIERCE, Third Wave Fund, Queers for Economic Justice, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. [Read more]

Ilana Landsberg-Lewis

is a deeply committed human rights advocate. After practicing labor and human rights law in Canada, she spent eight years at the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) on human rights and as the CEDAW Advisor at HQ. In 2003, Ilana co-founded and served for 17 years as the Executive Director of The Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF) – an organization established to support community-based organizations that were – and continue to be – at the heart of the response to the AIDS pandemic. [Read more]

Alison Riley

is a veteran creative director specializing in creative leadership. She has over twenty years experience building and leading large, diverse teams and providing creative strategy, relevant storytelling, and integrated advertising for global businesses. She currently consults with artists and brands on defining their mission, strategic development, and creative expression. She works most tirelessly to ensure the creative integrity and equitable representation of independent creative clients. [Read more]

Yesterday’s SCOTUS victory and the long road ahead

Today, we take a moment to recognize and celebrate the United States Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) decision to uphold protections for LGBTQI people in the workplace.

Dear Friends,

Today, we take a moment to recognize and celebrate the United States Supreme Court’s (SCOTUS) decision to uphold protections for LGBTQI people in the workplace. The ruling is a historic one for the entire LGBTQI community, and specifically marks the most sweeping legal protections for trans communities in U.S. Supreme Court history.

Until yesterday, it was still legal to fire people for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in more than half of U.S. states. SCOTUS ruled that firing employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is sex discrimination that violates federal law. As we shared in our October statement, the cases leading to yesterday’s ruling were cited as the single most important set of explicitly LGBT cases to reach the Supreme Court because they encompassed both sexual orientation and gender identity, and so impact the livelihoods of all LGBTQI people and women in the United States.

However, as we take a moment to find joy and relief in this victory, we know that the fight for justice is far from over. The very fact that three cases in 2020 even questioned whether it is lawful to fire someone simply for being LGBTQI, is evidence that many in the US continue to believe that LGBTQI people are not entitled to the same protections as our cisgender and/or heterosexual counterparts.

The ruling itself comes on the heels of the U.S. administration’s recent decision to revoke protections for trans people experiencing discrimination in the healthcare system, as well as a surge in violence against trans women and transphobic discourse online. We know that trans and gender non conforming (TGNC) people, TGNC people of color, and especially Black trans women are already disproportionately impacted by discrimination in the workplace leading to higher incidents of poverty and poor health. For many, these protections are a small win in the larger struggle to secure legitimacy and right to life.

Nationwide anti-racism and anti-policing protests are entering their fourth week with demonstrations in support of Black Trans Lives drawing thousands across the country this past weekend and speaking to the disproportionate harm faced by Black trans people. These uprisings and the forward movements we’re seeing are the culmination of decades of powerful movement building by anti-racism, abolitionist, and gender justice activists. Yet, just this week, SCOTUS declined to take up qualified immunity, despite consistent calls by BLM and other organizers for this issue—along with wider calls for defunding policing—to be considered by the courts.

All this is of course taking place amidst the backdrop of a global pandemic which continues to have an undue impact on Black, Brown, Indigenous, and TGNC communities in the United States. There is much work to be done, and if this ruling is to signal the wide reaching legitimacy and right for TGNC people to exist and thrive, we must continue to resource, center and build on the critical work of grassroots TGNC, Black and POC-led organizing.

We express our deep appreciation for all the lawyers, activists, and others in the LGBTQI community who led us to this SCOTUS victory. Simultaneously, we lift up the work of all—particularly the Black, Brown, Indigenous, and trans-led grassroots organizations—who continue to work towards ending discrimination and violence in every form, ultimately pushing for our collective liberation.

In Solidarity,
Sandy Nathan

Donate

 

 

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On learning, healing, and standing up for Black lives

In this week’s blog post, we’re sharing: healing resources for Black communities and political education resources on Black and queer liberation for the moment. We’re listening to and uplifting meaningful ways to collectively care for our Black communities.

Astraea’s blog, Collective Care Blog: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haulis Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a feminist LBTQI funder, we believe it is our responsibility to shed light on the ways our communities are particularly impacted by the crisis, share insights around the criticality of healing justice and collective care, as well as the ways in which we’re digging deep to keep shifting power to the grassroots in meaningful and sustainable ways.

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On Tuesday, we issued a statement supporting the anti-racist resistance taking place in the United States and around the world right now, and condemning racism, white supremacy, policing, transphobia, and state violence that would have Black people erased. As a queer feminist funder based in the United States, we owe our existence to the civil and human rights activism of the Black, Indigenous, People of Color, trans, and queer movements that have come before us. We are reminded this June that Pride itself began as a riot against policing led by trans women of color, for our collective liberation. These are our foundations, the legacy on which we build to ensure Black liberation, and indeed the liberation of all peoples and the healing of our planet. 

In this week’s blog post, we’re sharing: healing resources for Black communities and political education resources on Black and queer liberation for the moment. We’re listening to and uplifting meaningful ways to collectively care for our Black communities. 

Some of these resources are for non-Black people and uplift the importance of anti-racism, abolition, intersectionality, and inter-community solidarity – tools and strategies we collectively need to lean into if we are to dismantle deeply embedded systems of white supremacy.

At the same time, it is absolutely necessary that Black folks have the opportunity and access to resources to be able to rest, heal, and grieve as state-sanctioned anti-Black violence continues. 

In that spirit, we’re delving into and delighted by some powerful reading on the interconnected struggles for Black and queer liberation in this moment, and healing resources that we hope are helpful to members of the Astraea community. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to seek out other important anti-racism resources as well. We share these as one act of care and hope that if you find them helpful, you will pass them and others on to your own communities. 

Essential reading on Black and queer liberation in this moment

  1. Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics – Kimberle Crenshaw 
  2. Racism is exhausting Black people. Here’s what we need. – Derrick Clifton
  3. How to Support Black Trans People Right Now – Jael Goldfine
  4. Mother Jones: The Police Killing you Probably Didn’t Hear About this Week – Laura Thompson
  5. Black Trans Men Face a Constant Threat of Police Violence – Ash Stephens
  6. Black LGBTQ+ Leaders and Allies Address the Rage Against Racism – Advocate.com Editors
  7. Queering Prison Abolition, Now? – Eric A. Stanley, Dean Spade, and Queer (In)Justice
  8. 26 Ways to be in the Struggle Beyond the Streets
  9. Black and Asian American Feminist Solidarities: A Reading List – Black Women Radicals and the Asian American Feminist Collective
  10. Of course There are Protests. The State is Failing Black People – Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor
  11. Pride is and Always Was About Rebellion, This Year More than Ever – George M. Johnson

Healing resources for Black communities

  1. Healing Offers – Harriet’s Apothecary
  2. Rest for Resistance – QTPoC Mental Health
  3. Talking Back – bell hooks
  4. 7 Virtual Mental Health Resources Supporting Black People Right Now – Jesse Sparks
  5. 10 Wellness Resources and Relief Funds for Black individuals to find some respite – Kells McPhillips 
  6. Circle of Mothers: Trayvon Martin Foundation
  7. The Well
  8. Healing Packet – Women of Color in Solidarity
  9. National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network
  10. Healing Resources for BIPOC Organizers & Allies Taking Action for Black Lives – Irresistible

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Today and everyday, Black Lives Matter

For over 40 years Astraea has stood in solidarity with Black movements and communities in the United States, and today we stand united in our grief, anger, and outrage. These are not isolated incidents but part of a much larger and coordinated strategy to enforce white supremacy at the expense of Black life. We condemn the racism, discrimination, policing, transphobia, and state violence that would have Black people erased. 

Dear Astraea community,

Nina Pop. George Floyd. Breonna Taylor. Tony McDade. Ahmaud Arbery. David McAttee. James Scurlock. 

We will not stand silent in the face of such violence. As Black people, we face daily attacks on our dignity, safety, and basic survival. For over 40 years Astraea has stood in solidarity with Black movements and communities in the United States, and today we stand united in our grief, anger, and outrage. These are not isolated incidents but part of a much larger and coordinated strategy to enforce white supremacy at the expense of Black life. We condemn the racism, discrimination, policing, transphobia, and state violence that would have Black people erased. 

Today and everyday, BLACK LIVES MATTER. 

Our people are resilient and powerful. Demonstrators are rising up and fighting for an end to state-sanctioned violence and police brutality, taking a stand for Black life. As a queer feminist funder based in the United States, we owe our existence to the civil and human rights activism of the Black, Indigenous, People of Color, trans, and queer movements that have come before us. We are reminded this June that Pride month itself began as a riot against policing led by trans women of color, for our collective liberation. These are our foundations, the legacy on which we build to ensure Black liberation. 

“Anti-Black racism and white supremacy are the bedrock of every single social injustice we aim to address. Be it housing, education, wages, gender justice, civic engagement, LGBTQI freedom, immigration, hunger, poverty, culture, you name it. My call to philanthropy: Fund racial justice. Fund the hell out of it.” wrote Astraea Board Member Will Cordery in Nonprofit Quarterly on Monday. 

We are called to show up radically and compassionately at this moment. We call on every single person, including all in philanthropy, to do the same.

  • Center abolitionist work and divest from police and prisons
    Our vision for liberation is grounded in prison abolition, and aims to transform the very conditions of white supremacy that lead to oppressive, anti-Black, violent systems of policing and incarceration. Now is the time to divest from the police and prisons, and invest in building safe, healthy and thriving communities where we are accountable to each other. Many Black and POC-led grassroots organizations that Astraea is proud to partner with uphold an abolitionist vision of liberation, challenging the state’s reliance on policing and surveillance to resolve conflict, and building alternative forms of safety. They are the future
  • Resource healing justice, collective care and repair work
    Integrate and uphold abolition, healing justice, and holistic security as values that sustain life, safety, and wellbeing. Many queer, trans, two-spirit, Black, Indigenous, People of Color communities and organizations are creating interdependent networks of care so that they don’t need to rely on the state for safety. Support that work.
  • Honor and protect Black trans and LGBQI lives
    As we mourn the violence against Black people across the country, we are reminded that Black trans people are killed at disproportionate rates. In 2019, the death toll of trans people—made up mostly of Black trans women—was so high that the American Medical Association declared it an epidemic. Just in May of this year, we lost Nina Pop, a 28 year old Black trans woman in Missouri and Tony McDade, a Black trans man in Florida to transphobia and brutal police violence. Say their names.
  • Give at the grassroots, including in solidarity with protestors
    Fund Black-led organizing in your community. Support Black-owned businesses. Contribute to bail funds across the country to support the release of protestors defending Black lives. Many of Astraea’s grantees play critical roles in this ecosystem of liberation; please support them and connect with them in any way you can. Our role as a funder and as community members is to ensure that we are building power at the grassroots. 

Struggles for Black communities—especially Black trans, and gender non-conforming (GNC) people—and LGBQI communities are intersectional and interconnected; anti-racism is essential to our collective liberation. Many of Astraea’s U.S. based Black trans and GNC-led grantees are on the frontlines doing this work, while also responding to the needs of their communities as a result of COVID-19, a crisis that has disproportionately impacted Black, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Indigenous communities.

The work of anti-racism and the abolition of white supremacy will not happen overnight. We must dream beyond dismantling “whiteness” and towards systems of material, emotional and spiritual repair, towards joyful struggle, and towards true liberation where all people have dignity, safety, security and life. Beyond this moment of collective grief and outrage, we commit to listening to and learning from Black social justice activists and educators, and to resourcing the Black-led movements working for radical change and healing justice. 

Standing side by side in grief, strength and solidarity,

Sandy Nathan
Interim Executive Director

Collectively caring through resource sharing

This week, we are encouraging folks to center themselves in community to help guide us through this moment. This post includes some collective care resources from movement leaders and healing justice practitioners that have moved us in the past few months.

Astraea’s blog, Collective Care Blog: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haulis Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a feminist LBTQI funder, we believe it is our responsibility to shed light on the ways our communities are particularly impacted by the crisis, share insights around the criticality of healing justice and collective care, as well as the ways in which we’re digging deep to keep shifting power to the grassroots in meaningful and sustainable ways.

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by Sabrina Rich, Communications Team

As a queer feminist foundation that has been around for over four decades, we know what it is that allows us to survive, thrive, and heal: being in community.

As the impacts of COVID-19 continue to take a toll on our bodies, our psyches, and our everyday lives, we’re reflecting on what it means to truly stand in those communities. This post is an offering in that service. In these uncertain times, we know that caring for communityneighbors, friends, chosen family, and ourselvesis vital and necessary for supporting our collective healing. 

To quote our Healing Justice Report,

 “Over the last decade, we at Astraea have witnessed and been moved by the emergence and rise of healing justice work—resiliency and survival practices that center the collective safety and wellbeing of communities—as an integral part of our fight for collective liberation. We have learned from our grantee partners how these practices and traditions can be tools for building power, and how they can deepen and sustain the long and hard work of movement-building. Rooted in their wisdom, we continue to work to integrate healing justice as a core aspect of our grantmaking and accompaniment to organizations and movements, both in the U.S. and globally.” 

In that spirit, we’re uplifting some powerful healing justice resources that have moved us recently for their social justice and community focused approaches to healing. These resources come from movement leaders and healing justice practitioners who have and continue to prioritize collective care as integral to our freedom, and to achieving justice for all. We hope they will be helpful to you and your communities as you seek to find ways through this moment and beyond.

Some highlights!

Healing Justice Resources:

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