Redistributing Wealth in Support of Land and Liberation
In response to the genocide in Gaza and violent attacks in Israel and Palestine, the Kataly Foundation and the Environmental Justice Resourcing Collective (EJRC) are redistributing $680,000 to 23 Arab and Jewish-led organizations in the U.S. These rapid response grants will support groups to build power in Arab and Muslim communities, protect people from hate crimes and state-sanctioned violence, build solidarity between Arab and Jewish communities, and demand liberation for Palestine.
At Kataly, our mission is to support Black and Indigenous communities, and all people of color, to build power and lead self-determined lives. Access and agency over land is an essential part of that work. When people have access to land that reflects their identities and experiences, they can build shelter, provide for their families and communities, create systems of governance and political government, and practice community safety. Land is the ultimate resource for self-determination and sovereignty.
Throughout history, the forces of colonization and white supremacy have displaced people from their land, and exploited and extracted from that land. What we are bearing witness to is a fight for land and liberation, and a deep desire for belonging.
In philanthropic spaces, we often practice land acknowledgements. We name whose land we are on, and how that land was stolen. But we have the power to do more.
Kataly is demonstrating our solidarity with the fight for Palestinian liberation and the desire for cross-cultural healing by distributing rapid response resources towards groups who are building power across religion and race, defending people’s civil rights, creating safety for vulnerable communities, and providing humanitarian aid.
“As Palestinians in Gaza endure this relentless Israeli military assault and siege it is critical for people around the world to see the devastation and to hear directly from Palestinians experiencing it,” said Margaret DeReus, Executive Director of the Institute for Middle East Understanding, one of Kataly’s rapid response grantees. “We cannot allow a genocide to happen in the dark, nor for this violence to be decontextualized and cloaked in disinformation. Narrative power building is essential to Palestinian liberation.”
Other grantees include: Palestine Legal, an organization that protects the civil rights of people who speak out for Palestinian freedom; Jews for Racial and Economic Justice Community, a group with a long history of fighting for self-determination and community empowerment, and that is now calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and building a safety brigade to protect Muslim and Jewish New Yorkers; and Queer Crescent, an organization building power among LGBTQIA+ Muslims. A list of grantees who have consented to being named in this announcement is below.
Kataly’s long-term vision is a world where people live self-determined lives and communities benefit from shared prosperity. We know that this long-term vision cannot be realized without forming a grounded assessment about how to best support organizations in the short-term.
We’ve said it before, and it bears repeating: money is not enough. We will not buy our way to freedom. But this does not absolve philanthropy of our moral responsibility to move resources towards movements for justice.
In the past, grassroots organizations and movement leaders who expressed support for Palestine were blacklisted by philanthropy. Grants stopped flowing to frontline communities building power when they needed resources the most. History does not have to repeat itself. Philanthropic institutions can ensure that groups facing heightened threats do not simultaneously have to face a loss in funding.
The lie of white supremacy would have us believe that only certain experts have the authority to publicly address geopolitical issues impacting people around the world. In truth, the promise and practice of living in a democratic country means we all have a duty to speak-up, speak-out, and take action wherever oppression, exploitation, and violence might be occurring. This is especially true when the U.S. has played a role in creating the conditions for the conflict, as it has in Israel and Palestine.
One of the insidious parts of white supremacy is how it scares us into silence through division and fear. White supremacy has us believe that we cannot simultaneously grieve the loss of Israeli lives, call for an end to genocide, and demand Palestinian liberation. White supremacy tells us we should be afraid to tell the truth about the breadth and depth of the injustices taking place; that telling the truth will lead to our exclusion from our places of belonging and will threaten our livelihoods. But solidarity means recognizing that our fates are intertwined, and risking something so that others can live and thrive. We are being called to take that risk.
Kataly invites donors and foundations to join us in directing resources to these organizations:
- American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
- Arab Resource and Organizing Committee (AROC)
- Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — chapters in Florida, Los Angeles, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area
- If Not Now
- Institute for Middle East Understanding
- Jews for Racial and Economic Justice Community
- Jewish Voice for Peace
- MPower Change
- Palestine Children’s Relief Fund
- Palestine Legal
- Palestinian Youth Movement
- Queer Crescent
- US Campaign for Palestinian Rights