By Joe Rihn
From Ferguson to New York, Baltimore and Los Angeles, police violence is claiming the lives of unarmed Black men at an alarming rate. As communities cry out for justice, mass movements like #BlackLivesMatter, are forming and the fight for racial equality is gaining momentum. Though impossible to predict, it is times like these when community organizers on the frontlines of change need resources the most. That’s why Liberty Hill Foundation established the Rapid Response Fund for Racial Justice.
Twelve organizations from Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and the Central Valley were chosen to receive year-long grants of up to $10,000 to support the urgent work of pushing back against the criminalization of communities of color, fighting to reform the criminal justice system, and uplifting Black lives. Liberty Hill’s role included administering the Southern California funding pool, and the fund also received support from The California Endowment, The California Wellness Foundation, the Rosenberg Foundation, and the Sierra Health Foundation. Liberty Hill began receiving contributions during its annual Uplifting Change event, which supports African American philanthropy in L.A. The fund has since brought in $150,000 from foundations and $20,000 from individual donors.
The Antelope Valley’s Community Action League is one example of an organization that used a rapid response grant from Liberty Hill to make an impact when the stakes were high. When families of color in Palmdale and Lancaster who relied on Section 8 housing were targeted for racial discrimination and harassed by law enforcement, the Community Action League mobilized community members, pursued legal action, and won a settlement in Palmdale that will curtail racial discrimination and compensate the victims. Learn more about it here:
The other eleven groups supported by the fund are addressing issues such as Prop 47 implementation, jobs for Black workers, and establishing a dialogue between law enforcement and communities of color.
Liberty Hill is proud to announce the following grantees for the Rapid Response Fund for Racial Justice: