by Brian Payne, president of Central Indiana Community Foundation; Tom Kilian, president of Hamilton County Community Foundation; and Jennifer Pope Baker, president of Women’s Fund of Central Indiana
Headlines are designed to catch our attention. The headlines of 2020 made people across this community and the nation confront America’s racist history in addition to our current reality. From the unique destruction of the COVID-19 pandemic on people of color to the over-policing and under-protecting of these same communities, stories across the country highlighted the systemic racism ingrained in our country’s foundation.
Recognizing and healing the wounds of over 400 years of oppression continues to be challenging and painful. Dismantling the systems that keep these racist practices alive beneath a veil of colorblindness and clever reinvention often seem unfeasible. But to quote James Baldwin, “Nothing can be changed until it is faced.”
In spite of these challenges, CICF and its affiliates, The Indianapolis Foundation and Hamilton County Community Foundation, and Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, continue to proudly commit to efforts that create a community that works for everyone — no matter place, race or identity. We have proven to ourselves that “equity-first” principles have truly become embedded in our organizations when we created our equity-based relief funds for the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. We’ve galvanized our leadership, staff and ambassadors to be innovative to support and uplift neighborhood assets. We’ve restructured our policies and practices to meet community need. We’ve partnered with corporate and civic leaders to make commitments to end racism within their seats of power and in their personal lives.
So, yes, we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, but we also recognize how far we still have to go in this work. We need everyone’s commitment to make equity a reality. If you’re inspired to — and are able — please make a contribution to our Equity Partners Fund. This gift will help empower people, change systems, and make Central Indiana a region known for being the most anti-racist community in the nation.
Know that when these headlines have passed, we will hold to our mission of equity and continue our work to dismantle systemic racism. We will continue to remove the barriers separating opportunity from so many of our neighbors. And we will create an Inclusive City and a Central Indiana community for all.
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