Economic Justice: Beyond Just Words

It is easy to talk about economic justice. Living it within a diverse world is another matter altogether.

The rules of the culture’s game are rigged where some have easy access to resources (jobs or foundation support), training (education at school or trainings) and publicity (ease of getting published or noticed by people of influence). This access is often along the lines of race, class and gender.

Individuals or organizations aren’t personally culpable because doors open easily for them but, for all of us concerned with social justice, we are responsible to open our eyes and begin to notice the way money and access flowing in our world. Once we’ve woken up, we need to find ways to align our values with our behavior.

Many speak words of justice. Fewer take steps to make that happen.

Be Present, Inc. is committed to having a diversity of people in their trainings. To shift from this being a value held in only words to one that is manifested within the organizational structure and programs has required an integration of fundraising by everyone in the organization—from children to elders, staff to volunteers—as well as people who attend the trainings.

This video is an excerpt from the second session of Be Present, Inc.’s 18-month West Coast National Training Institute on Race, Gender, Power and Class. Eugene Allen and I are co-chairs of the Institute’s fundraising committee. We will be working with participants to collectively fundraise to ensure access to the training by a diverse group of folks.

In this video clip, I explore why our unusual practice of holding fundraising as a perfect place of practice and is critical to our exploration of race, gender, power and class. Raising money moves from the sidelines to the center of the work of “building sustainable leadership for social justice.” *

Collectively we raise the funds “while simultaneously examining the dynamics of race, class, gender and power that influence their fundraising and giving practices … [in such a way that] success is measured not only by where money is given, but also the process by which it is given.” ** In this way, social transformation moves in the direction of justice for each of us individually as well as throughout the culture.

 

*  Be Present, Inc. Mission statement http://bepresent.org/history,

** http://bepresent.org/BOARD-&-STAFF

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