Three-year racial justice giving commitment moves $92,000 to movements for change

OBS March

Organization for Black Struggle members march in St. Louis in July to mark the East St. Louis Massacre’s 100th anniversary

The 2014 murder of Michael Brown and the failure to indict his killer sent waves of heartbreak and anger across the nation. In Philadelphia, Resource Generation decided to respond.

“It felt like the best way to use our power was to raise money for what was happening in Ferguson,” says Resource Generation member Sarah Burgess. “But it also felt really important to recognize that this event highlighted ongoing trends — not just what was happening in Ferguson, but all over and in Philadelphia as well.”

Resource Generation Philly members partnered with Bread & Roses to create the Resources for Racial Justice in Ferguson and Philly Initiative, a three-year giving commitment that ended in November. Over three years, the initiative raised $92,000, which was split between the Organization for Black Struggle (OBS) in St. Louis and the Racial & Economic Justice Fund at Bread & Roses.

During the past three years, OBS has conducted deep canvassing, with members going door to door and having substantial conversations with community members. Aaron Burnett, a community organizer with OBS, describes it as “more than a transactional connection,” and says the tactic has helped to change hearts and minds: “Through story-sharing we are attempting to build relationships and gain a better understanding of their values and feelings.”

The initiative had a profound impact at Bread & Roses. “This really did provide this way to come back together and keep making connections beyond a single incident,” reflects Burgess. “It helped us think about systems and history and not just individual anomalies of pain and violence.”