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Four Years of Transformative Change and Learning with Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation-Los Angeles

Thursday, February 18, 2021

BY ADELE LEE

In April 2021, our Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation-Los Angeles partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will come to a close. After being a part of TRHT-LA for four years, I would like to share some of the most impactful lessons I've learned in my time advocating for transformative change in our region. 

 

To heal, grow, and make progress, our society must have a greater awareness of our history.

For hundreds of years, our country’s history was written to enshrine white supremacy and silence the voices of Black, Indigenous, and people of color. From the history of redlining and racist housing policy, to the landscape of Downtown Los Angeles that has erased the histories of the Tongva and Gabrieleno people, to the long legacies of enslavement where Africans were forcibly embarked on slave ships to the Americas, truth-telling has been a grounding and humbling element of our work. SCG will continue to honor and confront our past to pave the ways for racial healing. 
 

Authentic relationship-building is grounded in trust, generosity, and reciprocity.

While organizing the Tongva History Walk of Downtown Los Angeles, we prepared a meeting agenda and plan of action. In response to our logistical questions, local Tongva leaders asked us about our family histories, roots, and values. Even with the best intentions, we still made mistakes and truly felt the meaning of progress moving at the speed of trust. There were countless moments when our errors were met with generosity and grace. We feel immense gratitude for our partners who have taught us to listen deeply and build trust.
 

Self-reflection and personal transformation are integral in racial justice.

We can’t create systems change without personal transformation — without living into our values and acknowledging our truths. The process of self-education and self-reflection might be different for all of us. This practice is essential even when we are fully committed to advancing racial justice. There is so much to learn and unlearn that dismantling deep-rooted racism will require a lifetime of interrogating ourselves and sustaining accountability at the personal level. 
 

Healing justice is essential in addressing intergenerational trauma and oppression.

By hosting numerous community gatherings to talk about our own lived experiences, our ancestral pain and joy, and the impacts of racism on all of us, we learned that open and difficult dialogues have the power to start the healing process. It can be liberatory to bring the conversations and rituals - that generally happen in our living rooms and kitchen tables -- and share in appropriate spaces with neighbors, colleagues, and community members. In addition to normalizing community dialogues, we acknowledge that people of color embody intergenerational trauma and began to explore different modalities of healing justice practices to sustain our collective wellbeing as a community.
 

As TRHT-LA approaches the end of its Kellogg grant, the Los Angeles team had the unique opportunity to redistribute our unspent grant dollars back into the community we've served for four years. Today, we are excited to share that TRHT-LA has awarded $223,800 in one-time grants to 15 local organizations whose mission aligns with the TRHT’s values of truth, racial justice, healing, transformation, and liberation. Our team was intentional about applying trust-based philanthropy principles and prioritized supporting organizations impacted by funding cuts and whose efforts primarily serve the needs and leadership of communities of color. You can learn more about our grants and process by reading the full announcement

I hope that TRHT-LA’s legacy serves as a model of the practices and frameworks needed to advance the philanthropic sector in more equitable directions. We hope you are inspired to join SCG in its racial justice efforts moving forward. 

 

In Partnership, 

Adele Lee 

 

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