Nonprofits as Social Change Agents: Advocacy for Racial & Economic Justice
Many nonprofit service providers would gladly work themselves out of a job if solutions could be found for the most pressing issues of our time. However, we are generally so overextended just treating the symptoms of social and environmental problems that it can be difficult to engage effectively, if at all, in changing public policy and other structural conditions. The result is a nonprofit sector that too often does for people, rather than pursuing social change with them, which can reinforce barriers to advancing equity.
Over the past few years, growing attention on issues of racial injustice has generated a much needed and overdue shift in the nonprofit sector. However, we often fail to identify structural racism as a tool for economic oppression, which is essential to framing equity work in ways that is prescriptive for public policy. This is typically because organizations lack the language and/or independence to engage in conversations about the financial insecurity that necessitates most support services, across racial groups.
This session will offer a fact-based, nonpartisan framing of the conditions that perpetuate extreme economic inequality in the United States, using language and concepts that are accessible for everyone. In order to become conduits for social change, nonprofits must be trauma informed and rooted in an understanding of social movements. Organizations of any size can orient services, outreach, and advocacy efforts in ways that foster healing relationships among individuals and communities, while developing skills and capacity for civic engagement. This session offers tangible ways nonprofits can shift their operations and resources, however limited, toward these goals.