Heartbroken, Determined, Proud
June is Pride Month, and I’m so proud to stand with the LGBTQ+ community – this month and every month. I’m proud to be an ally. And I’m proud to be a part of AFP Global as we amplify and accelerate our IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity and access) work to achieve equity for diverse populations across the globe.
In any other year, I would have devoted this space to some thoughts on the positive, lasting impact of the LGBTQ+ community by highlighting individual, group and organizational achievements.
Today, however, I dedicate this space to Breonna Taylor, who would have turned 27 last Friday. To George Floyd, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Manuel Ellis, and Eric Garner. To Tony McDade, a 38-year-old unarmed black transgender man killed two days after George. And to the many other black people across the country who have lost their lives to police brutality.
My heart is heavy with the injustices suffered by the historically disadvantaged, the “one-down” groups—a term coined by Vernā Myers, diversity expert, inclusion strategist and author—who exist in a nightmarish Groundhog Day of sorts, experiencing institutional racism day after day, year after year, decade after decade.
It’s no secret that two of the most maligned one-down groups are people of color and the LGBTQ+ community. So, as we celebrate the 51st anniversary of Pride Month, during a time of heightened racial unrest, the call to embrace the inclusive Progress Pride Flag across the globe deserves closer examination.
We will undoubtedly struggle to move forward in this time of great uncertainty. That said, for our sector, organizations, profession, and ourselves, a simple, fully inclusive rainbow may be just the glimmer of hope we need after a centuries-long rainstorm.
A few years ago, when I spoke at a fundraising conference in Auckland, I attended an incredible Maori cultural performance. Last week, thousands of New Zealanders marched to protest George Floyd’s murder and a group of Maori marchers performed the haka in front of the U.S. Embassy in Auckland. This act of solidarity was seen, felt and heard around the world by millions of people from Argentina to Zimbabwe.
Maybe we are ready to come together as a global community to embrace our similarities and our differences. Let’s work collaboratively with respect and thoughtful purpose, listening and learning, as we finally give each other some room to breathe.
In the words of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who graced the AFP ICON mainstage in Baltimore a decade ago, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Please join me in making a change – in choosing action over inaction, promise over despair, love over hate.
With tremendous gratitude and cautious optimism for the future,
Martha H. Schumacher, CFRE, ACFRE, MInstF
P.S. Here’s information from the Southern Poverty Law Center about how you can stop the hate: Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide. And if you haven’t read Birgit Burton’s powerful message from yesterday, check it out here.
Martha H. Schumacher, CFRE, ACFRE, MInstF, is the chair of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Global (AFP) and president of Hazen Inc. and HILT in Washington, D.C.