(Photo via facebook.com/BBworkers)
Activist org Black and Brown Workers Cooperative (née Collective) has been calling public attention to inequalities in Philly’s nonprofit sector for the past two years.
The group rose to prominence in 2016 for its decrying of racism in the Gayborhood. In the spring of 2017, its protests contributed to the resignation of LGBTQ health nonprofit Mazzoni Center CEO Nurit Shein amidst allegations of racial bias at the organization. More recently, it has called for the removal of “toxic leadership” at HIV/AIDS nonprofit Philadelphia FIGHT.
Yesterday afternoon, the group took to Twitter to lead a four-hour chat on “anti-Blackness in nonprofit spaces,” which included discussion of “paternalism, everyday microaggressions and other forms of violence including targeting, uneven accountability and retaliation against Black and Brown Workers.”
“Twitter was chosen because it allowed [us] to engage a national audience,” wrote organizer Shani Akilah in an email on Monday morning. “We know that anti blackness in non profits are pervasive and exist across this nation.”
— Mojuba Oyasin (@ShaniRobin4) March 18, 2018
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Participants were both former and current nonprofit employees, and from Philly and beyond.
“We knew that we would engage people across state lines,” Akilah said. “We foresee this movement impacting several states nation wide.”
March 2017 I was fired from a non profit for speaking up about its anti-black practices, particularly its tokenizing of frontline black staff & its back door practice of gentrifying the black neighborhood it claimed it was "revitalizing" #antiblacknonprofits#bbwctwitterchat
— diplomatic savage (@CinematicSavage) March 18, 2018
Some participants called out a few specific nonprofits for their actions against employees of color, including Philadelphia FIGHT and New Sanctuary Movement.
“Because many workers are still dependent on oppressive work spaces for survival, we support folks in doing what is most empowering for them,” Akilah said in response to a question about whether participants were enocuraged to call out their employers. “If it is possible to call an institution out, we support this … if it is not, we support this as well.”
The 1st thing that became glaringly apparent was that most of the direct service workers were Black/Latinx and the administrators were White. #BBWCTwitterChat
— ♈️☀️I'll Be 39 on 4/6🌙♌️ (@FeministaJones) March 18, 2018
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