Grantee & Partner News

July 17, 2019

Climate Change: Global Threats Imperil Women of Color

Grantee News from Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation:

Women of color are the most impacted by global insecurity. For this reason, their leadership is vital to tackling these challenges.

I am frequently asked to explain my background in international security and the impact of global threats on everyday Americans. As I talk about issues like weapons of mass destruction or infectious disease, I often see a glazed look come over the eyes of my listeners. I notice how the conversation is inevitably maneuvered to domestic issues. These domestic issues are genuinely compelling but devoid of the global connection. Sometimes I shake my head, saying to myself, “here we go again.” Sometimes I may not be in a situation where I can share my perspective. Other times, depending upon the audience and the time I have, I make a case for a broader perspective.

woman speaks in class room

Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins speaks to the students at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas, Austin.

Callie Richmond

I find the need to make my case particularly crucial for communities of color. Why? Because whether the global issue is climate change, infectious disease, food and water security, migration, peacekeeping, or weapons of mass destruction, people of color—particularly women of color—are more seriously affected.

young girl in plastic bottle recycling facility

November 22, 2015: A young climate refugee works in a plastic recycling factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She and others like her are growing up without any formal education.

NurPhoto/Getty Images

  • Osub Ahmed noted in April 2019 that, “Extreme weather events and natural disasters are becoming the norm. But less discussed is the impact of climate change on certain communities, particularly women and people of color.”
  • In 2017, the Alliance to End World Hunger noted that “while 10% of white households experience hunger, households of color experience hunger at rates of up to 21.5%.”
  • In the case of the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, “…no group has been hit harder than women and girls, who account for roughly 60 per cent of those infected. Over half of them are of reproductive age. As the traditional caretakers of the sick, women are often at increased risk of exposure.”
  • And chemical attacks in Syria killed dozens of civilians, many of them women and children.

Global threats are not going away, and women of color will be the most affected. It makes sense then that women of color should take the lead in not only understanding these threats but in providing solutions to them.

There are very logical reasons to focus on domestic issues, particularly if one is a person of color. It also makes sense to prepare our youth for the U.S. society that exists. We live at a time when the lives of people of color and other underrepresented groups are under threat daily. We are witnessing issues of police brutality, challenges of access to healthcare, threats to our fundamental voting rights as well as our civil rights, bombings of places of worship, mass incarceration, domestic terrorism, hate crimes, and the list goes on. We have no way to know when the trend in this backward direction of our society will change for the better.

However, this is not an either-or situation. It is essential to integrate the international perspective on what we do and what we teach, and how we understand the challenges we face. Global threats will not stop and wait for us to decide when we want to deal with them. We need to be prepared to find answers—those who will be most affected doubly so.

The challenges we face today are not neat. They are messy, overlapping, and defy the global and domestic categories some try to impose on these moving targets.

We must find ways to connect the global threats to our security concerns at home. In reality, the current global threats have created domestic worries for many years. Additionally, actions we as Americans have taken at home have an international effect. Most people will agree that climate change is a global threat with domestic ramifications. Not only that, but our domestic actions have helped to create the climate change threat that the global community must now address.  The challenges we face today are not neat. They are messy, overlapping, and defy the global and domestic categories some try to impose on these moving targets. This is a topic of discussion my organization hosts under the theme “Redefining National Security,” where we ask, how do we define our national security today?

We should also be aware of how people of color in other countries face similar threats. One day a colleague of mine explained the challenges faced by people of color in Europe. It was interesting to learn not only the similarities but also the cultural differences that affect how they are treated. Hearing these stories puts the experiences of people of color, and all Americans, into the broader context of challenges we are all facing. Access to clean water in Detroit is not just a U.S. issue. It is an issue that people of color and the poor around the world are also dealing with on a daily basis. The reasons may vary from country to country. However, it’s useful to see how those with less access to power and decision making, both in the U.S. and abroad, are affected. By looking outside the U.S., we can be better at seeking solutions to both our domestic and global concerns.

young girl cries while adults hold her hands

Tears stream down the face of Morgan Walker, age 5 of Flint, as she gets her finger pricked for a lead screening on January 26, 2016 at Eisenhower Elementary School in Flint, Michigan. Free lead screenings were performed for Flint children 6-years-old and younger following the city’s water contamination and federal state of emergency.

Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

People of color need to be in the game to find solutions to global challenges. We must prepare our youth for the future. Global threats require imaginative thinking about the way forward. In addition, including various perspectives and cultural backgrounds will produce more creative solutions. If we are not preparing our youth for future discussions, they will not play a role in combatting these very challenging global threats. That is bad not just for those from underrepresented groups but for the whole of society as well.

All people should understand the risk that global threats pose to our livelihoods, health, and security at home. In other words, we should understand how global security impacts our national security. We should abandon the tendency to focus either on risks inside the U.S. or risks outside the U.S. This is a false distinction. In addition, when we learn about domestic issues, we should learn about the international dimensions of those threats at the same time. Then we might capture the minds of the audience better and get beyond that glassy-eyed look to one of true appreciation.

Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins is the Founder and Executive Director of Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow of the Brookings Institution.

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Nation’s first Gender Justice Fund launches $10 million collaborative to change culture and advance gender justice

News From the Women’s Foundation of California and the Compton Foundation:

The Culture Change Fund, including the Women’s Foundation of California, Blue Shield of California Foundation, Ford Foundation, The California Endowment, Compton Foundation and additional philanthropic partners, will focus on changing the way we think and talk about gender justice.

OAKLAND, CA – The California Gender Justice Funders Network, in partnership with several national foundations, today announced the launch of a $10 million+ Culture Change Fund. The Culture Change Fund is the first of its kind to address how the nation understands gender justice and uses culture to change how the public thinks about wide-ranging issues including economic security and income inequality, violence against women and sexual assault, maternal health, abortion and contraception, and more.

The Fund was developed out of a recognition that policy and legislative action are not enough to erase the disadvantages that women, girls, transgender, and gender nonconforming people – especially those from communities of color – face in our society. By focusing on culture change, the Fund’s goal is to create broad public support for a new way of thinking that centers gender, racial, and economic justice at the heart of the solution to systemic problems.

“The national conversation on sexual assault and harassment brought by the #MeToomovement and unconstitutional abortion bans in nine stateshas shown that problems cannot be fixed through policies alone,” said Surina Khan, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California. “The Fund is invested in accelerating the shifts happening in our culture by supporting local organizing and narrative shift efforts that are attempting to change the way we think and talk about gender.”

The Fund is launching with an exciting, data-driven narrative research project called Story at Scale, which will conduct audience research and create, test, and deliver a story strategy that can advance gender justice across a variety of issue areas. Story at Scale employs a collaborative research process and is designed for practical use by advocates, artists, and campaigners in all of their communications and organizing efforts.

“Storytelling is one of the most important human traditions, and stories are an integral part of how we communicate our ideas and values,” said Lucia Corral Peña, senior program officer at Blue Shield of California Foundation. “By telling true stories of gender justice in ways that all people can understand, we can change the national conversation around gender, and also change norms and minds.”

The other components of the Fund are direct grantmaking to partner organizations that are both organizing for culture change and integrating cultural strategy into their workand creating a community of practice and learning where funders, academics, and activists can contribute to a living library of ongoing resources and information-sharing. Funders and activists will be able to advance collective understanding about gender narratives and culture change and share best practices.

The Culture Change Fund is a joint effort between the Blue Shield of California Foundation, The California Endowment, Women’s Foundation of California, and Philanthropy California, an alliance of the three regional associations of grant makers in California. They are joined by national funders, including the Compton Foundation, Ford Foundation, General Service Foundation, Hewlett Foundation, the Lefkofsky Family Foundation, and others.

The Women’s Foundation of California is managing the fundraising and research phase of the project and will guide the expansion of the Fund to Georgia and Michigan by partnering with local organizations who are leading this important work in their state. More states will be added in the future as the Culture Change Fund continues to grow. To join or learn more about the Fund, visit bit.ly/CultureChangeFund.

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About the California Gender Justice Funders Network

The California Gender Justice Funders Network is a coalition of foundations and funders aiming to advance gender justice by changing the way our culture talks about and treats women by centering gender at the heart of solutions to any systemic problem. Just as California leads the way on progressive political and cultural issues, the California Gender Justice Funders Network will advance the national conversation on what gender means and what true gender justice and liberation look like.

Convened by the Women’s Foundation of California in partnership with Philanthropy California, the Network is comprised of a diverse group of veteran funders including Blue Shield of California Foundation, Fondation CHANEL and The California Endowment.

 About the Women’s Foundation of California

The Women’s Foundation of California is a publicly-supported grant making foundation that invests in, trains, and connects community leaders to advance, gender, racial, and economic justice. Learn more atwww.womensfoundca.org.

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June 12, 2019

Prime Minister names first Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security

Grantee News From the Compton Foundation’s Women Peace and Security Initiative:

Gender equality plays a critical role in creating lasting solutions to the challenges we face around the world – from building economies that work for everyone to advancing peace and security. To build a more just, peaceful, and secure world, we must make sure women and girls can participate freely and fully in our societies.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that Jacqueline O’Neill has been appointed as Canada’s first Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security.

Ms. O’Neill will help advance Canada’s feminist foreign policy by championing our women, peace, and security priority commitments at home and around the world. She will also work across all federal departments and with partners to advise on the implementation of Canada’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

In addition to providing advice to ministers on this critical challenge, Ms. O’Neill will also recommend actions we can take to protect the rights of women facing insecurity and violence and promote their meaningful participation in our development, humanitarian, and peace and security efforts around the globe.

Quotes

“When women play an active role in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, and when their rights are respected, we are better able to achieve long-term, sustainable peace. As Canada’s first Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security, Ms. O’Neill will lead our country’s efforts to support women, help prevent and end conflict, and build a better and fairer world.”

—The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

“I am thrilled that Ms O’Neill will serve as Canada’s first Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security. She is a world-leader in this field and a champion of gender equality in Canada and internationally. The appointment of the first ambassador is a tangible demonstration of Canada’s national and global leadership in the area of women, peace, and security, and our continued efforts to increase respect for the rights of women and girls, and their participation in conflict prevention and resolution.”

—The Hon. Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs

“We look forward to working with Ms. O’Neill in advancing women’s participation in peace and security. Women are vital to forging peace and making it last in nations overcoming conflict. As part of the Elsie Initiative for Women in Peace Operations, the Canadian Armed Forces is pleased to be partnering with Ghana’s Armed Forces to develop innovative approaches to increase women’s participation in uniformed military roles.”

—The Hon. Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence

“Canada is a proud global advocate for women, peace and security. In fact, gender equality is a more reliable predictor of peace than a country’s GDP or level of democracy. That’s why I am honoured to welcome Ms. O’Neill to the role of Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security and look forward to working with her to improve the lives of women and people of all gender identities and expressions here in Canada and around the world.”

—The Hon. Maryam Monsef, Minister of International Development and Minister for Women and Gender Equality

Quick Facts

The Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security is appointed by the Governor in Council to hold office on a full-time basis for up to three years.

Quick Facts

  • The Ambassador for Women, Peace and Security is appointed by the Governor in Council to hold office on a full-time basis for up to three years.
  • In 2000, the United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1325, the first of nine resolutions to recognize the unique effects of armed conflict on women and girls, and their important role in resolving conflict and building peace. It urges Member States to increase women’s participation and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts, and to take measures to protect women and girls in conflict situations.
  • To date, approximately 80 national action plans on women, peace and security have been adopted globally. Canada launched its first National Action Plan in 2010, and its second in 2017.

Biographical Notes

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April 17, 2019

A MESSAGE FROM THE FUTURE WITH ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ

Grantee News From Sunrise Movement:

TODAY, THE INTERCEPT launches “A Message From the Future With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez,” a seven-minute film narrated by the congresswoman and illustrated by Molly Crabapple. Set a couple of decades from now, it’s a flat-out rejection of the idea that a dystopian future is a forgone conclusion. Instead, it offers a thought experiment: What if we decided not to drive off the climate cliff? What if we chose to radically change course and save both our habitat and ourselves?

What if we actually pulled off a Green New Deal? What would the future look like then?

This is a project unlike any we have done before, crossing boundaries between fact, fiction, and visual art, co-directed by Kim Boekbinder and Jim Batt and co-written by Ocasio-Cortez and Avi Lewis. To reclaim a phrase from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, it’s our “green dream,” inspired by the explosion of utopian art produced during the original New Deal.

And it’s a collaboration with a context and a history that seems worth sharing.

Back in December, I started talking to Crabapple — the brilliant illustrator, writer, and filmmaker — about how we could involve more artists in the Green New Deal vision. Most art forms are pretty low carbon, after all, and cultural production played an absolutely central role during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in the 1930s.

We thought it was time to galvanize artists into that kind of social mission again — but not in a couple of years, if politicians and activists manage to translate what is still only a rough plan into law. No, we wanted to see Green New Deal art right away — to help win the battle for hearts and minds that will determined whether it has a fighting chance in the first place.

Crabapple, along with Boekbinder and Batt, have been honing a filmmaking style that has proved enormously successful at spreading bold ideas fast, most virally in their video with Jay Z on the “epic fail” of the war on drugs. “I would love to make a video on the Green New Deal with AOC,” Crabapple said, which seemed to me like a dream team.

The question was: How do we tell the story of something that hasn’t happened yet? More>

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March 20, 2019

Women, War & Peace II

Grantee News From Peace is Loud:

 

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The premiere of ​Women, War & Peace II ​on PBS!

This Women’s History Month, share ​four remarkable stories of brave women facing tremendous obstacles to pursue peace and significant political change in Northern Ireland, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Palestine. These films resonate more than ever, as ​Afghan women are being sidelined in the U.S. talks with the Taliban, and the March 29th Brexit date quickly approaches, bringing the historic Good Friday Agreement under threat in Northern Ireland.

Women, War & Peace II Airdates

March 25

  • ●  Wave Goodbye to Dinosaurs 9pm est | 8pm c
  • ●  The Trials of Spring 10pm est | 9pm cMarch 26
  • ●  Naila and the Uprising 9pm est | 8pm c
  • ●  A Journey of a Thousand Miles: Peacekeepers 10pm est | 9pm c
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February 28, 2019

Gender-Lens Investing Strategies for 2019

February 14, 2019

Peace and Security Philanthropy Isn’t Just About Conflict; It’s Also Key to Curbing Climate Change

January 31, 2019

Seeking Peace Stories of Women and War

January 30, 2019

Announcing a New California Funder Collaborative to Advance Gender Justice

January 9, 2019

Organizing in Trump Country with George Goehl