Tag: racism

The federal government shutdown cost to the District of $47 million will affect upcoming DC budget talks

SHUTDOWN/DISTRICT | According to a recent quarterly revenue estimate prepared by the DC Chief Financial Officer, the 35-day federal government shutdown cost the District $47.4 million worth of revenue, challenging city officials as they prepare for upcoming 2020 budget talks on spending priorities and programs. (WAMU, 3/1)

Advocacy groups and Council members have been lobbying Mayor Bowser on how best to allocate spending in the upcoming budget – including increasing taxes on businesses and high-income residents to pay for affordable housing, homeless services, schools, and health programs. In a statement on the revenue estimate, Bowser called the shutdown “historic and unnecessary” but said it served as “a reminder of why we continue the work of diversifying our economy and making our city an attractive place to do business.”

The ‘heartbreaking’ decrease in black homeownership – racism and rollbacks in government policies are taking their toll. (WaPo, 2/28)

Former DC Mayor Sharon Pratt Launches Discussion Series With Panel on Blackface (City Paper, 2/27)

– DC Mayor Bowser released an extensive plan over two months ago to cut opioid overdose deaths in half by late 2020, but key programs in the plan haven’t yet been started. (WaPo, 3/3)

Conditions In The DC Jail Are Unsafe And Unsanitary, DC Auditor Says (dcist, 3/1)

HOUSING | The most cost-effective way to help the homeless is to give them homes (Vox, 2/20)

– The most expensive commutes in the US  are in Charles County in southern Maryland. Residents there spent about two and a half weeks on average traveling to and from work in 2017, and workers in Fauquier and Stafford Counties in Virginia didn’t fare much better. (Bloomberg, 2/28)

– The Montgomery County Council hopes to expand the “kids ride free” Ride On bus program to weekends to accommodate students. (Bethesda Magazine, 2/28)

– A kindergarten class in Arlington, VA held a celebration of transgender students during last week’s Read Across America Day. (WaPo, 3/3)

– ‘A Step Backwards For Our Denomination’: D.C. Methodists Grieve Vote To Exclude LGBTQ Clergy And Marriages (dcist, 3/1)

PHILANTHROPY | A recent survey by Grantmakers for Education found that three-quarters of foundations said their grants go toward helping low-income people, LGBTQ students, immigrants and refugees, women and girls, and people with disabilities. (Chronicle, 2/28 – Subscription)

Groovy – in the ’60s and ’70s, West Hyattsville, MD was a hotbed for psychedelic, trippy music.

The (Almost) Daily WRAG will be back on Wednesday and Friday this week!

– Buffy

Blackface, White Privilege

By Katy Moore
Managing Director of Corporate Strategy
Director, Institute for Corporate Social Responsibility

Over the last few days, as the story of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s medical school yearbook photo featuring a man in blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan robes has played out, I’ve had numerous conversations with white friends and family about whether he should step down. I’m glad my white circles trust me enough to talk about race-related topics with me. But, I’m not a racism or racial equity expert. I am simply a daughter of the South who has embarked on a learning journey that has required a painful examination of my own deeply-ingrained belief systems, biases, privileges, and an acknowledgement of my own role in perpetuating racism and racial inequities.

The typical conversation about Governor Northam in my white circles has gone something like this: “Why should a ‘good man’s’ career be ruined over something that happened 30 years ago? After all, he’s apologized and asked for forgiveness. And, what’s so bad about blackface anyway?”

Why isn’t an apology enough?

The Governor’s initial apology seemed sincere and many, myself included, were inclined to forgive him – especially if he utilized this moment to spark conversations around race and racism. However, when Governor Northam changed his tune, it smacked of damage control, marred his chance to begin rebuilding trust, and squandered his opportunity for learning and community-building.

Even with what felt like disingenuous political maneuvering, many of my white friends and family are eager to forgive the Governor’s past actions. They are (ironically) loathe to condemn a (white) man for youthful indiscretions. This begs the question, should Governor Northam’s repentance matter more than the feelings of the thousands of Virginians who feel betrayed by this racist act and what it represents?

In many ways, as a white woman, I want to forgive Governor Northam. This could, after all, have easily been one of the many men who have helped shape my life. But, at some point, we (white folks) have to face the consequences of our actions and own the fact that we have all – intentionally or unintentionally – contributed to our society’s racial disparities. How can racism and its pervasive effects possibly be dismantled until a tidal wave of white people understand it and take responsibility and action for our role in this unfair system?

So, no, Governor Northam’s (recanted) apology isn’t enough.

Should past actions ruin careers?

At the time he was in medical school, Governor Northam was old enough to know right from wrong. Judging by the Governor’s swift apology after its discovery, I am going to assume that he is either in this photo or that another similar photo exists. Either way, he clearly didn’t think dressing in blackface or donning a KKK hood was a problem.

Governor Northam attended an institution of higher learning that accepted this type of bigoted behavior, so much so, that Eastern Virginia Medical School documented it in the yearbook. The likelihood that this environment reinforced a belief system of white superiority and black inferiority is quite high. The likelihood that this belief system – conscious or not – was then perpetuated by Governor Northam and other graduates who would go on to impact the lives of people of color as decision-makers, doctors, and public officials is also very high. In their medical practices, for instance, it is conceivable that these doctors contributed to long-running racial health disparities or undertreated their Black patients’ pain based on racial biases normalized through the type of behavior captured in this photo. This is about much more than a yearbook photo or long-ago moment in time.

In his race for governor, Governor Northam, a Democrat, ran against an opponent tied to a president who has been accused of racism. Many Virginians, including 87 percent of Black voters, supported candidate Northam. I cast my vote for him partly because of his career of service and, partly, as a rejection of his opponent’s party’s seemingly racist views and beliefs. With the emergence of this glimpse into Governor Northam’s past, I no longer believe that he can effectively represent all of Virginia’s residents – particularly the 20 percent of its citizens who are Black. A politician’s license to serve is based on the trust and confidence that citizens bestow upon them. That trust is broken.

Why is blackface so bad?

Google it.

Next steps?

Many are calling for Governor Northam to step down. Unfortunately, even if he resigns and Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax is sworn in as the Commonwealth’s second-ever Black governor, Virginia will not magically become a post-racial utopia.

Racism has deep roots here. This incident is just one example of how overt racism shows up in our society. Similar to the countless cell phone videos documenting racist acts, police brutality, and racial discrimination, this yearbook photo should serve as another piece of evidence to spur white Americans to deepen conversations about race, our racist past, and our role in perpetuating current racial inequities.

It is outrageous that in 2019 life outcomes can still be predicted by race. Calling for Governor Northam’s resignation cannot distract us from the real work that needs to be done to dismantle the deep-seated racism that underlies our societal systems. We should care about racist imagery and hold our public officials to the highest of standards. But, we should care even more about the deep inequities that still exist in our society based on nothing more than the level of melanin in our skin and a false narrative about white superiority.


If you’d like to learn more about racism, white privilege, unconscious bias, etc., I encourage you to embark on your own exploration. Here are a few resources that I have found helpful:

Videos: www.puttingracismonthetable.org
Podcasts: Scene on Radio – Seeing White
Books: Waking Up White, Race Talk and the Conspiracy of Silence

DC Housing Authority board considers how to deal with housing code violations

– Commissioners on the D.C. Housing Authority board voted this week to explore a plan to address thousands of “nearly uninhabitable” public housing units—a plan that some advocates believe essentially amounts to privatization. (CP, 1/17)

The resolution asserts that DCHA should consider applying, through the federal department of Housing and Urban Development, for demolition or disposition of more public housing properties. The resolution also asked the board to affirm that some of “the most effective, available tools for addressing immediate conditions, and insuring longer term financial and physical viability” would include spending money on housing vouchers rather than subsidizing public housing complexes themselves. That decision would shift the burden to find housing to tenants, who would have to look for apartments on the private market. Advocates for low-income families frequently complain that landlords illegally discriminate against voucher holders by refusing to rent to them.

– Who’s hit hardest by the affordable housing shortage? (GG Wash, 1/10)

RACISM | In a new essay, Robin DiAngelo explains why white people being nice won’t end racial inequity. (Guardian, 1/16)

Related: Robin DiAngelo spoke on the topic of white privilege as part of WRAG’s Putting Racism on the Table series in 2016, as well as last year when we partnered with Leadership Greater Washington on Expanding the Table for Racial Equity. You can watch her talk here, and download discussion and viewing guides that accompany the video.

PUBLIC SAFETY | D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser intends to see the District’s police department grow over the next four years by adding about 150 officers in order to combat crime and better connect to the community. (WaPo, 1/16)

– In a letter to Virginia and Maryland senators, Metro said that it is losing approximately $400,000 per day during the government shutdown. (WaPo, 1/17)

– If they know where and how to look for ways to improve, cities could get more people walking, biking, and riding transit, according to a new report and interactive tool released by the Institute for Transportation & Development Policy. (CityLab, 1/17)

DISTRICT | A Stumble for Statehood? The federal shutdown brands D.C as just a government town. (CP, 1/14)

PHILANTHROPY | Two Loudoun County food pantries will receive $10,000 a week, funded by Easterns Automotive Group, for the duration of the shutdown to help aid federal workers and contractors who are impacted. Approximately 4.1 percent of federal workers and contracted employees reside in Loudoun County, according to a recent Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments report. (Loudoun Times, 1/14)

RFP: Holy Trinity Catholic Church has allocated $150,000 in grant funding for up to three local nonprofits with the potential to bring about significant and lasting benefits to people who have been or could become the victims of sexual abuse or human trafficking. The deadline to submit the stage 1 application is February 22, 2019. Details can be found here. If you have questions, contact Kate Tromble at ktromble@trinity.org or (202) 903-2809.

Social Sector Job Openings 

President​ | ​Virginia United Methodist Foundation – New!
Chief Financial & Administrative Officer​ | ​Horizon Foundation – New!
Foundation and Government Relations Officer​ | ​Shakespeare Theatre Company – New!
Grants & Communications Officer​ | ​The Crimsonbridge Foundation – New!
Executive Director​ | ​VHC Medical Brigade – New!
Director of Development​ | ​DC Bar Foundation – New!
Program Manager​ | ​Weissberg Foundation – New!
Senior Supervising Attorney, Criminal Justice Reform​ | ​Southern Poverty Law Center
Director of Development​ | ​The Barker Adoption Foundation
Grant Reviewer​ | ​Jack and Jill of America Foundation
Executive Assistant​ | ​Jack and Jill of America Foundation
Administrative Associate | United Philanthropy Forum
Programs Manager | DC127
Development Manager | DC127
Director of Development (East Coast) | Rocketship Public Schools
Director of Development | ECHO
Executive Director | The Volgenau Foundation
Gifts and Grants Administrator | Community Foundation for Northern Virginia
Manager of Communications & Events | The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia
Director of “Count the Region” | The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia
President | Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers
Receptionist/Administrative Assistant | Exponent Philanthropy
OST Community Impact Program Manager | United Way of the National Capital Area
Development Coordinator | National Building Museum
Program Associate for Strategy, Equity, and Research | Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

Hiring? Post your job on WRAG’s job board and get it included in the Daily! Free for members; $60/60 days for non-members. Details here.

Community Calendar

To add an event to WRAG’s community calendar, email Rebekah Seder. Click here to view the community calendar.

What a great way to embrace the upcoming MLK weekend: 6 Opportunities To Reflect On Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy Around The D.C. Region

Next week we’ll publish the (almost) Daily WRAG on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

– Buffy

Gentrification Anxiety

We’re excited to introduce the second writer from our new WRAG Journalism Fellows program!

Jacqueline Lassey is an African-American student at Richard Wright Public Charter School in Washington, DC. She is an aspiring writer and athlete. As a member of the Library of Congress Teen Book Club, she recently had the opportunity to be published in the Library of Congress Magazine, page 16.

By Jacqueline Lassey

jackieA couple of years ago, my aunt was arrested for standing at a corner no more than fifty feet away from our house. She is well known and respected by longtime residents in our neighborhood and there were no previous legal actions or disputes against her. My aunt was there simply minding her business, not disrupting anyone. My new neighbors called the police because my aunt was “causing them anxiety.” I was too naive to understand what was really going on, I thought that it wasn’t anything serious. However I soon understood that my aunt was being antagonized for no reason. I know now that my aunt was being targeted because of her race.

I have lived in the Trinidad neighborhood of Washington DC for seventeen years. I have watched my neighborhood grow and develop. For the past two years I have seen my neighbors’ houses torn down and rebuilt from the ground up, and I have lost many of my closest friends because their parents sold their homes. They were dealing with rough patches in their finances and were swindled into selling for what they thought was the highest possible and best price for their houses; only to discover that with a little fixing, they could have made double what they sold their houses for.

When I think of gentrification, I think of it as the process of reconstructing urban neighborhoods so that more “prosperous” tenants can occupy the neighborhood. Since Caucasian people have moved into my neighborhood, I have seen the racial divide it has caused. They aren’t used to our environment and that causes many problems that affect us. My aunt was in her 50s at the time she was arrested but she was in no way dangerous to anyone. I came to understand this when my brother began to talk to my family about it. My brother is very open minded and he is not afraid to speak about what he sees. He talked to my family about injustice and how society is taking a turn for the worse. He talked about the changes our community was experiencing. Most importantly, he talked about how society’s stereotypes lead to racial bias. I’ve seen the racial division that gentrification brings.

Since then, I have noticed that many houses on my block are being redeveloped. The most notable occurrence of this was almost exactly one year ago. One of my friends, Fred, told me he was moving to Maryland. His house was redeveloped and is now worth $914,000.00 according to the Redfin listing. I have never heard of a house in my African-American neighborhood costing that much. This house could not be purchased by long-time residents living in my community. No one in my neighborhood has access to the jobs, or financial resources to purchase this house. Weeks later, the house had a buyer and I had a new neighbor. This new neighbor was white and male–and he doesn’t speak to us.

Realtors have been pursuing homeowners in my community and other urban communities all over the Washington, DC area. My mother receives weekly offers from real estate speculators (investors) to sell her house. Many of these solicitations offer immediate cash that can tempt the average homeowner to sell. As a result of these practices, many DC residents sell their homes for a much lower market value.

Gentrification causes a shortage of affordable housing in the District. As a result of these circumstances and tactics, I fear for my future as a DC resident. I am very concerned that one day I will not have the resources to live in the community that has raised me, or that my children will never experience the childhood that I experienced; a childhood that I love and cherish. This problem can be solved by an increased conversation in communities and the local government creating more affordable housing and better economic opportunities for all.

A new ‘Opportunity Atlas’ analyzes economic mobility across the country

INCOME | The Census Bureau and Opportunity Insights, a research and policy group based at Harvard University, have partnered to create the Opportunity Atlas, a map that allows users to see the economic prospects of children in certain areas of the US based on variables like incarceration rates, median household income, and others. (Citylab, 10/1)

The map reaffirms that neighborhoods matter, but also provides insights into how much and why. “Having that granularity of data really starts to help us ask questions that policymakers weren’t able to ask and answer in precise ways before,” said David Williams, the policy director of Opportunity Insights, a partnership between economists at Harvard University and Brown University that created the map.

Generally, the good neighborhoods tend to have some combination of a few quantifiable traits: less economic and racial segregation, less inequality, better performing schools, lower crime, and more two-parent families. Intangible factors like “social cohesion” may also be at play, Williams said.

RACISM | Last week, WRAG and Leadership Greater Washington sponsored a civil rights learning journey in the south. Tamara Lucas Copeland, WRAG’s president, discusses her reaction to learning more about the terrorism Black people endured before and during the civil rights movement in the US. (Daily, 10/2)

RELIGION‘We Are Not At The End With God’: Gentrification Leads Historic D.C. Church To Close (WAMU, 10/1)

HEALTH | A new congressional report found that 3.5 million Maryland residents could lose their health insurance due to age, gender, or a pre-existing condition because the administration will not enforce provisions of the Affordable Health Care Act. (Baltimore Sun, 10/2)

NONPROFITS | Many Hands is now accepting applications from nonprofit organizations serving women, children, and families in the Washington, DC area. Learn more here (Many Hands, 10/2)

PUBLIC SAFETYCanceling Kavanaugh Isn’t the Only Justice Survivors Need (Rewire.News, 10/1)

Here’s your guide to the region’s multicultural music festival.

– Kendra

New report shows how the police target Black Metro riders

TRANSIT/RACISM | A new report by the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs found that Metro Police have targeted metro stops heavily used by youth of color in hopes of arresting them for fare evasion. The data shows that the police have used the fare evasion charge to unfairly target Black people, especially Black men. (WLCCRU, 9/13)

Despite WMATA’s stated policy of cracking down on all fare evasion, WMATA’s own data suggests that the statute is not being enforced fairly. Rather, it shows that Metro Police are enforcing the statute almost exclusively against Black people, particularly in African-American neighborhoods or in parts of the City in which African Americans come in contact with Whites.

CENSUS“We Can’t Count on Washington”: A California Funder Preps for the 2020 Census (Inside Philanthropy, 9/12)

ENVIRONMENT | How Alexandria is pushing flood mitigation measures and other methods to adjust to climate change. (GGWash, 9/13)

ARTS & HUMANITIES | A new art exhibit in Maryland explores how we “conceptualize, scrutinize and give value to the human form“. (DCist, 9/13)

BUSINESSGreater Washington has waited for months. Here’s what Jeff Bezos finally had to say about HQ2. (WBJ, 9/13)

INCOME | Household incomes increased across the region last year but there was still a wide gap in racial group earnings, especially in the District. (WaPo, 9/13)

Social Sector Job Openings 

Institutional Fundraising Coordinator | Shakespeare Theatre Company– New!
Grants Manager | Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
Development Manager | Grantmakers for Effective Organizations
Vice-President for Development and Communications | Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED)
Development Manager | Leadership Greater Washington
Senior Managing Director, Finance & Operations | Flamboyan Foundation
Institutional Giving Associate | Brady Campaign & Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Director, Institutional Giving | Brady Campaign & Center to Prevent Gun Violence
Events Manager | Public Welfare Foundation
Major Gifts Officer | L’Arche Greater Washington D.C.
Manager of Program & Evaluation Services | BoardSource
Programs Officer | DC Bar Foundation
Executive Vice President, Development and Communications | Northern Virginia Family Service
Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations | Northern Virginia Family Service
Adult Education Specialist | BoardSource
Senior Director, Evaluation and Learning | Flamboyan Foundation
Major Gifts Officer | Food & Friends

Hiring? Post your job on WRAG’s job board and get it included in the Daily! Free for members; $60/60 days for non-members. Details here.

Community Calendar

To add an event to WRAG’s community calendar, email Rebekah Seder. Click here to view the community calendar.

The Weather Channel released a cool but frightening simulation about what could happen in a hurricane.

– Kendra

How to combat displacement by building community wealth

– The Democracy Collaborative has released a new report, Community Control of Land and Housing, which explores the different strategies and tools that can be used to help create inclusive, participatory, and sustainable economies built on community ownership. (Democracy Collaborative, 8/20)

Land and housing are two of the most important cornerstones of any modern society—and a basic human need. In the United States, land and housing have long served as an economic engine and one of the primary sources of wealth and stability for a great number of people. However, a historical legacy of displacement and exclusion, firmly rooted in racism and discriminatory public policy, has fundamentally restricted access and shaped ownership dynamics, particularly for people of color and low-income communities.

– In a Health Affairs blog, Brian C. Castrucci, CEO of de Beaumont Foundation, Loel Solomon, vice president of community health at Kaiser Permanente, and Shelley Hearne, president of CityHealth, write about the use of inclusionary zoning as a tool to ensure affordable housing. (Health Affairs, 8/20)

HUMAN RIGHTS | People who are incarcerated across the US are launching a strike today on the anniversary of the death of Black Panther member George Jackson, who was killed while incarcerated. They are calling for an end to prison slavery, poor living conditions, death by incarceration, and others. (Nation, 8/21)

– Prince William County is expecting 13,500 residents to become eligible for Medicaid next year. (InsideNOVA, 8/18)

The Secret to Keeping Black Men Healthy? Maybe Black Doctors (NYT, 8/20)

RACISM | On the Citizen ED blog, Justin Cohen advises other white people on how to address casual racism they may experience in their communities or workplaces. (Citizen ED, 8/16)

ECONOMY | The Problem Behind the D.C. Mayor’s Retort to Donald Trump (Citylab, 8/16)

The Daily will be back on Thursday!

This longtime advice columnist has complied the worst manager stories they’ve been asked for advice about. Hopefully, you’ve never experienced any of these.

– Kendra

How cuts to federal spending on child care will impact states

– Earlier this year, the administration proposed cuts to federal child care, Head Start and preschool programs in its annual budget. A recent analysis by the Urban Institute found that if Congress approves these cuts, overall federal spending on children would be 6% lower over the next 10 years. (Urban Institute, 8/6)

States with the largest cuts relative to their size also tend to invest fewer state dollars in kids’ programs per child and have higher shares of children living in low-income families. The geographic distribution of the child care cuts in the president’s proposal means programs in these states would be even more squeezed for funding, and children who could receive the greatest benefits from the programs would have a harder time getting into them.

RACISM | Why D.C. Drowned Out the White Nationalists (Citylab, 8/13)

HEALTH | DC’s Mayor Muriel Bowser has announced that George Washington University will run the new hospital at St. Elizabeths. (DCist, 8/10)

TRANSIT | Metro has made the decision to privatize nine bus lines in Northern Virginia over the next five years. (WaPo, 8/11)

IMMIGRATIONRapid response support is important, but immigration funders must also invest in shifting culture (NCRP, 8/9)

MILITARY | The administration is considering rolling back enforcement of the Military Lending Act, which protects service members from predatory loans and financial products. (NPR, 8/13)

Here’s something to make you smile on this Monday:

cheese store
Credit: Gin_Tonic

Do you want to be involved? Send us a picture of something that has made you smile and we may include it in the “Daily WRAG’s Monday Smile”!

Email us your content at allen@washingtongrantmakers.org.

– Kendra

Standing against anti-Black racism on the anniversary of Charlottesville

Dear Colleagues:

It is with a heavy heart, but a powerful sense of urgency, that we approach the first anniversary of the violence in Charlottesville. The hideous xenophobia and hate displayed on August 12, 2017, began in response to the proposed removal from a local park of a Confederate monument, a symbol of historic racism and oppression that primarily targeted enslaved African Americans. Klan members, neo-Nazis and “alt-right” agitators united to preserve and celebrate white supremacy, resulting in countless attacks and the death of Heather Heyer.

Members of the Greater Washington region’s philanthropic community continue to work collectively, through the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers (WRAG), toward an equitable future. This future relies on the dismantling of all forms of oppression. The tragic events of Charlottesville began in the spirit of anti-Blackness and became a rallying cry for anti-Semitism and other manifestations of hate against immigrants and the LGBTQ community.

On the occasion of the one-year anniversary of this horrific event, WRAG’s Racial Equity Working Group (REWG) is reminded of why it chose to conduct its work utilizing an anti-Black racism frame. This frame is not intended to alienate other oppressed communities, but rather, to address the foundational nature of anti-Blackness in the false hierarchy of human value that is now codified in our laws, neighborhood configurations, economic and social systems, and the ways in which power and resources are concentrated in our region and nation. REWG believes that understanding and addressing anti-Black racism will help reveal solutions to eradicate the manifestation of all forms of bias, racism, and hate.

REWG calls on everyone targeted by those who seek to demonize Black people, other people of color, and all those marginalized and oppressed to stand shoulder to shoulder in our collective quest for equity and justice.


Tamara Copeland, President and CEO
Hanh Le, Co-Chair, Racial Equity Working Group
Yanique Redwood, Co-Chair, Racial Equity Working Group
Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers