Centering Voices From the Margins
“For it is not light that is needed but fire; it is not the gentle shower but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened…the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed.” – Frederick Douglass at the Rochester Ladies Anti-Slavery Society, July 5, 1852
Funders who care about racial disparities and homelessness face a challenge: it is perhaps impossible for us to have anywhere near the same urgency as people who are directly living the experience. As people of good will, we can be the light, but what is needed is the fire. For these reasons, we look to support (be the light) for groups that are on fire because of the urgency of their experience. Our work at the Chronic Homelessness Initiative allows us to do just that by partnering with organizations that support our unhoused neighbors from a lens of racial justice.
In our continued partnership with the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and
Supportive Housing, we are funding their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts to identify the disparities that exist within the homelessness response system. The inequities can show up in the form of who is able to access services, who is prioritized for housing, and who actually moves into housing. The Department will work with a leading consultant to focus its efforts on ensuring equitable access to housing and services and supporting organizations led by leaders of color and lived experience.
One such organization is the Transgender Gender-Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP),a new CHI grantee and trailblazing organization running leadership development, employment, housing, and reentry programs for the transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGI) community in San Francisco. It is well-respected for policy work at the local and state levels and is one of the first and only legal advocacy and support organizations led by formerly incarcerated Black trans women. TGIJP plays a pivotal role in ensuring that people living at the margins have a voice at the center.
I invite you to read this month’s Spotlight to learn more about the CHI team’s commitments to racial justice and the incredible work happening at TGIJP. With our grantees and partners across this initiative, we are working to give individuals what they need to thrive.
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