Celebrating Latinx Heritage Month: Our Stories Part One

Nellie Mae Ed. Fdn.

Oct 15 · 4 min read

As Latinx Heritage Month comes to a close, we’d like to share some reflections from Nellie Mae staff and board members on what their heritage means to them. Read these personal and important stories below.

Delia Arellano-Weddleton, Director of Engagement and Partnerships: Mi Historia

I identify as Mejicana, Chicana and Latina and I often deal with the tension that comes from being a first-generation American. There is an expression — ‘Ni de aqui, ni de alla’ which describes how I often feel. I don’t always feel that I belong in this country, but I know that I don’t belong in Mexico either.

My family comes from Guanjuato Mexico and belongs to the Guamare Indigenous community. That history gives me great pride and strength. I come from a line of warriors that have had to overcome many challenges.

I value showing up as who I am 100%, be it my accent, my brown skin or the straight hair that connects me to my indigenous roots.

I find pride in the stories that have been passed down to me, whether it is about curranderas or stories that show the strength of my people. These stories give me strength.

I find great joy, knowing that I’ve fulfilled my parents’ American dream and that they can look down and say’ ‘mija you have done us well’. I find joy in passing the torch to my children, nieces, and nephews so that we don’t lose our stories.

The youth give me eseperanza. Historically, social movements have been led by youth and there are many great examples of how Chicanos, Latinos have been leading change. For example, the 1968 high school walk outs in LA, the Young Lords, and the farm worker huelgas.

Youth are having the difficult conversations that other generations haven’t had, whether it is about LGBTQ rights, anti-Blackness in the Latinx community or climate change. They are our hope and I’ll always support them.

Marcos Lucio Popovich, Program Director of Grantmaking: My Reflections

My family comes from San Luis Potosi and Jalisco, Mexico. For several generations (probably beginning in the late 1800s), my family began traveling from Mexico to harvest crops throughout the United States. They were migrant farmworkers working in Texas, Ohio, Oregon and everywhere in between, picking cotton, tomatoes, plums. My grandmother would say that they were not rich in material things, but that they were rich in faith, rich in family, and rich in culture. She taught me to be proud of being Mexican, of being Mexicano, even when the world told us otherwise. She taught me to be proud of our culture, language, and history, and to be proud of the many contributions we’ve made to the U.S. even though it is not written in our history books.

I’m proud of our resilience and work ethic, our courage to risk it all to create a better life for our families. I pray that when the history is written about our current times that we don’t forget to recognize the contributions of migrant farmworkers during this pandemic. They fed our country while working under dangerous conditions.

When I went to college, I met other Latinos that shared similar experiences: Puerto Ricans, Peruvians, Dominicans, Salvadorans. While we each had our own unique histories and cultures, we realized that we faced similar challenges, had similar interests, and that by creating a bond across our various cultures, we could create power, political power, power that can effectuate change. “In unity, there is strength” was our motto. “In unity, there is strength.”

I carry that with me today. No matter what we call ourselves, Hispano, Latino, Latinx, Chicano, Borinquen, we are stronger when we are united. And, we need to continue to find ways to bridge divides, build community, be inclusive and grow the movement for our collective liberation.

Latinos will soon make up 30% (2050) of the U.S. population. My hope is that we foster a people that knows and remembers its history, maintains its pride in its culture and language, rejects assimilation and welcomes acculturation, has opportunities to thrive and succeed, and charts a new and better path forward. The next generation of activists brings me hope that this is possible. “Si, se puede.” Yes we can!

While Latinx heritage month ends after today,

we think it’s important to celebrate Latinx heritage year round. Therefore, look out for the next part in our series coming soon.

Additionally, we understand that language is ever-evolving — and how individuals with Latinx heritage describe themselves varies. We understand this complexity and invite you to learn more here.

Announcing New Grant Commitments

Photo by Alexander Suhorucov from Pexels

Today, on the heels of the start of the first in-person school year for many in over 18 months, we are thrilled to announce grant commitments to organizations that continue the work of advancing racial equity in our public education system. We are pleased to announce new grant commitments to organizations as part of our Supporting Organizations Led by People of Color and Advancing Community School Partnerships grant funds.

Supporting Organizations Led by People of Color

We believe that organizations led by people of color are in the best position to organize and lift up the invaluable voices of students, families, and communities who have been traditionally excluded from decisions made about their schools. These organizations are advocating for racial equity in New England schools, such as: implementing culturally responsive teaching and learning; diversifying the teacher workforce; establishing restorative justice practices in schools; and wraparound services and supports for children, youth, and families.

Advancing Community-School Partnerships

Additionally, at the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, we believe that when schools work in partnership with community-based organizations, students are better positioned to receive the community supports they need to thrive. We know that when community members are welcomed into the school environment and play a key role in decision-making, all young people benefit. Today, we are also pleased to announce grants as a part of our Advancing Community-School Partnerships fund, aimed at supporting community-driven partnerships between districts and their communities to advance racial equity and excellent, student-centered public education.

Welcoming Our New Community Advisors — 2021

 
Nellie Mae Ed. Fdn.
Aug 25 · 4 min read

In 2019, we launched our first Community Advisory Group — a group of individuals with deep relationships and networks in the communities they serve — to provide perspective and insight on our grantmaking strategy and implementation. Since that time, our advisors have served as invaluable partners in the creation and implementation of our grantmaking strategy focused on advancing racial equity in public education. Each step of the way, they have offered critical insight, feedback, and perspective on how to show up as engaged and supportive funders in this space.

This summer, we are pleased to welcome six new youth advisors to the Community Advisory Group, and know that they will continue to play a key role in moving our work ahead:

Micaela (Mica) Arenas (she/her/hers): Mica is a sophomore at Manchester High School in Connecticut and, in addition to serving on the Nellie Mae Community Advisory Group, is a member of her district’s Youth Equity Squad. Mica is an aspiring author who enjoys reading, playing soccer, watching old musicals, and spending time with her parents and older brother. She believes in the power of words to change the world.

Davyon Clark (he/him/his): Dayvon is a young Black youth leader who is a sophomore at Manchester High School in Connecticut. After high school, he plans on pursuing his next steps in college and is hoping to play sports and major in some type of business management. In his free time, you can find him on the football field or the basketball court! His favorite class in school is math, and has experience participating in his school’s Youth Equity Squad — a safe space for talking and building relationships with others.

Gabrielle Oulette (she/her/hers): A junior at Blackstone Academy Charter School, and a youth leader at the Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE) in Providence, Rhode Island, Gabrielle is an active member of her community and continues to seek change within herself and the world around her. She calls Pawtucket home and loves nature, animals, food, laughing, and being around loved ones.

Dara Song (she/her/hers): An incoming senior at Manchester High School in Connecticut, Dara is involved in her school’s student leadership body, tennis and volleyball teams, mental health club, and town youth commission. Dara is hoping to attend a four-year college after graduation.

 

Naomi Felix Monanci (she/her/hers): Naomi is a Dominican-American youth leader at the Alliance of Rhode Island Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE) in Providence, Rhode Island. Naomi attends Highlander Charter School, and in her free time you can find her singing at her church and doing pantomime! She is passionate about combatting social injustices happening in the world and aspires to be an engineer.

Khaiya Proeung (she/her/hers): Khaiya Proeung isa Khmer-American student attending Cranston High School East in Rhode Island. Khaiya is a youth leader with the Alliance of Southeast Asians for Education (ARISE) and has been surrounded by activism throughout her life. Khaiya continues to strive towards her passion for activism in her daily life and has a passion for cosmetology and skin care!

Announcing our 2021 Speakers Bureau

 
Nellie Mae Ed. Fdn.
Aug 9 · 3 min read
For the past several years, Nellie Mae Education Foundation has welcomed a new cohort of education leaders into our Speakers Bureau. After a year and a half characterized by the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, and where our schools were forced to rethink where, when, and how learning happens, we are thrilled to welcome our newest cohort of Nellie Mae Education Foundation Speakers Bureau members committed to advancing racial equity in our public education system.

This year’s cohort brings together a group of experts from across the region who are united in their quest to create an equitable education system for all. Education has been thrust into the political spotlight as opponents of equity are working overtime to hinder the ability of our nation’s children to learn the truth about the nation’s founding, as well as ask the critical questions about how we can close the opportunity gaps that have been created and reinforced over the decades.

Our new cohort includes administrators, non-profit leaders, students, teachers, family advocates and more. These leaders recognize that schools can’t begin to educate our youth without creating environments where students feel seen, known, and empowered. We have long realized that schools are about much more than teaching or leading specific subject matters or helping students perform proficiently on tests. They are also about creating the global citizens of tomorrow and shaping a more just and equitable future for all of us

We couldn’t be more excited about this new cohort and the passion, expertise, and fortitude they will bring to the education ecosystem over the course of their time with us. Please see the list of our new Speakers Bureau members below:

Book a speaker for an upcoming event by visiting our Speakers Bureau site!

Funders, It’s Necessary to Support Healing and Rest

In a year unlike any other, marked by a global pandemic and persistent racism and violence, we must reckon with what it means to not simply go back to “the way things were.” The way things were was not working for far too many. Our policies, systems, and practices, for the most part, have centered whiteness and white supremacy at the expense and exclusion of the experiences and expertise of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, AAPI, and other communities of color in this nation. We know that many non-profit organizations, communities, and schools — especially those led and staffed by people of color — are often under-resourced, deeply impacted, and overworked. We also know the deep pain and trauma that many have experienced this year. In a grind culture that too often values productivity and capitalism over people and wellbeing, it’s no surprise that so many people are functioning in a constant state of exhaustion.

As funders, let’s step up by not only providing general support to our grantee partners, but by thinking about how we can regularly support our partners in accessing healing and rest.

At the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, we’ve seen so many of our grantee partners working around the clock to meet community needs. In Chelsea, Massachusetts, Gladys Vega, Executive Director of La Collaborativa — a community-based organization serving Chelsea residents — spent the majority of the pandemic working 16 hour days. We’ve seen and heard stories of educators who are working at all hours to support students learning remotely, hybrid, and in-person. In fact, we’ve even seen many educators departing or considering making the hard decision to leave the profession after impossible and unrealistic expectations have left them feeling devalued, exploited and exhausted.

“White supremacy is killing us all — in both blatant and subtle ways.”

Even in our sector — philanthropy — we see people working hard to push for sustained change to better support communities most impacted by racial injustices, while navigating trauma within entrenched philanthropic structures. Really, we are all exhausted. But this is particularly true of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and AAPI people invested in liberation and racial justice work. White supremacy is killing us all — in both blatant and subtle ways.

As funders, we must make a commitment to alleviate some of the trauma that our grantees have gone through not just over the past year, but as they do the work and bear the costs we know come with fighting for equity, justice, and freedom. Healing justice is a critical and necessary part of social justice movements. Without it, we will not have the stamina to move forward.

Activist, political strategist, and organizer Charlene Carruthers advocates for adopting healing justice as a core organizing value and practice — reminding us that everyone needs healing because real work for justice and liberation comes with pain and requires intense self-work, self-care, and community care. Additionally, we know that women of color are at the forefront of these movements, and we often pay for it with our lives and our health. This work is non-negotiable for our survival, and it isn’t easy — whether it’s happening in community-based organizations, public education systems, schools, government offices, the health sector, faith-based institutions, philanthropy, or other parts of the ecosystem. But rest and healing is also non-negotiable for us to sustain ourselves in these movements for change.

As Audre Lorde wrote, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

At Nellie Mae, we are centering healing justice as part of our capacity building program for grantee partners. This past fall, we ran a youth-driven rapid response fund aimed at supporting the mental health of young people, as the pandemic pushed many into remote schooling and separated them from their friends, educators, and networks. Last year, we began a partnership with Getaway and Rachel Cargle, to support opportunities for Black people working for social change — including many educators — to receive a free night of rest away to allow time to recharge and heal. We are aware that these efforts require more resources. We’re organizing time for our staff and community advisors to engage in sessions about healing from racialized trauma, exploring how trauma stemming from racism distorts thinking and sends signals to the body.

“Imagine what a world could look like where healing and rest became a norm, rather than a last straw that we turn to after burnout.”

As healer, trauma specialist, and psychotherapist Resmaa Menakem reminds us, “we heal primarily in and through the body, not just through the rational brain. We can all create more room, and more opportunities for growth, in our nervous systems. But we do t{“type”:”block”,”srcClientIds”:[“e778ec83-6740-4485-8d09-2f7740e6dfbe”],”srcRootClientId”:””}his primarily through what our bodies experience and do — not through what we think or realize or cognitively figure out.” Resmaa advises that our bodies are important parts of the solution and where changing the status quo must begin. They cannot sustain themselves in racial justice and liberation work when they are in pain, exhausted, or constantly harmed by various forms of oppression, overt or subtle.

Photo by @NappyStock
Photo by @NappyStock

Imagine what a world could look like where healing and rest became a norm, rather than a last straw that we turn to after burnout. Imagine paid therapy and mental health or rest breaks for leaders and staff of nonprofit organizations and educators. It would look like prioritizing rest as a regular part of our lives, as Tricia Hersey teaches through The Nap Ministry. I’ll admit that I, too, am a work in progress. I’m working on being more intentional about incorporating more of these practices in my day-to-day, including dedicated time for meditation and prayer, connecting with nature, extending grace to myself and others, choosing joy, and cultivating a practice that encourages us to take care of ourselves and each other.

“What do communities, organizations, and schools we serve need to be healthy, healed, whole, free, and joyful on their own terms?”

A world where healing and rest are a norm would look like curated affinity spaces for folks that feel safe and affirming, where they can be held and supported — so that they can continue to show up and do the work in healthy ways. It would look like making identity and joy essential dimensions of how teaching and learning unfolds in schools, as Gholdy Muhammad advocates for in her Historically Responsive Literacy Framework. It would look like embedding healing in the social and emotional learning of youth, such as the work Dena Simmons leads in guiding educators and communities to do through her work at LiberatED. It would look like philanthropy asking the question: what do the communities, organizations, and schools we serve need to be healthy, healed, whole, free, and joyful on their own terms? Lastly, it would mean making the resources available for the answers to that question to be actualized by those most impacted and closest to the work.

Rest and healing are critical parts of the solution if we are to move closer to a more liberated world in which all people feel sustained, healed, held, safe, loved, and like full, thriving versions of ourselves and society.

Let’s continue this pattern of funding healing justice and rest. General operating support resources are essential so that grantee partners have the flexibility to allocate funds where they think best in their racial justice and liberation work. It is just as important to recognize our individual and collective humanity. Let’s fund grantees’ access and opportunities for healing and rest, and let’s also resource organizations and leaders who provide these supports in culturally responsive ways.

To learn more about healing justice and philanthropy:

Organizations like Decolonizing Wealth, led by Edgar Villanueva, are leading healing summits for professionals of color in philanthropy to heal and engage in community care. Feminist funders like the Astraea Foundation, Groundswell Fund, Third Wave Fund, and Urgent Action Funds have long been doing this work and showing us the way.

In Memoriam: Dudley Williams

Nellie Mae Ed. Fdn.

May 24 · 1 min read
Dudley Williams at the Foundation’s Lawrence W. O’Toole Awards Ceremony in 2012

Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the passing of Dudley Williams, former Board Chair of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation. In his 12 years of service at the organization, Dudley was instrumental in shaping the foundation’s direction in rethinking how, when, and where learning happened. He dedicated his life to the service of others, especially in the Stamford, Connecticut community and public school system. In addition to the long list of his accomplishments and public service, Dudley’s graciousness, intelligence, and care was visible in everything he did. We are all better for having known him and are holding his family in our hearts.

Ed Equity Talks Series: Building & Sustaining Pipelines for Educators of Color


 
Nellie Mae Ed. Fdn.

 

 

 

May 6 · 1 min read

Join us in our next #EdEquityTalks on May 26, 2021 at 4pm, EST. Tune into a conversation on recruiting, supporting, and retaining pipelines for educators of color. In this conversation, we’ll hear from Karla Vigil, CEO, The Equity Institute, Dr. Travis Bristol, Assistant Professor of Education at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education, and Alexis Harewood, Program Officer at the Nellie Mae Education Foundation on how our current education system continues to perpetuate structures of oppression. These experts will propose solutions that will abolish white supremacy culture in education and provide insights into how educators of color can successfully enter and navigate it in its current state.

Register below now!

 

Welcome! You are invited to join a webinar: Building & Sustaining Pipelines for Educators of Color…

Join us in our next #EdEquityTalks conversation on recruiting, supporting, and retaining pipelines for educators of…

nmefoundation.zoom.us

 

 

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation Appoints Dr. Gislaine N. Ngounou, Ed. L.D., as Interim President and CEO

Dr. Ngounou to bring nearly two decades of experience in the education and nonprofit space to the role

Nellie Mae Ed. Fdn.
May 20 · 4 min read

Quincy, MA — May 20, 2021: The Nellie Mae Education Foundation Board of Directors, in consultation with outgoing President and CEO Nick Donohue, has appointed Dr. Gislaine N. Ngounou, Ed. L.D., as Interim President and CEO, effective June 1, 2021. The organization is thrilled to name Dr. Ngounou to this elevated leadership role, and is confident that she will continue to build on the solid foundation that she, along with Foundation colleagues, advisors, and grantees, has set. The Nellie Mae Education Foundation expects Dr. Ngounou to remain in the interim role for 6–12 months as they pause their external search while taking time to determine next steps around decisions of future, permanent leadership of the organization.

I feel confident that I am well-equipped to lead and support the organization through this transition. I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with our Board, Nellie Mae colleagues, community advisors, and grantee partners to continue to move the Foundation’s work forward, so that we may use our power and privilege as an organization to uproot systemic racism. — Dr. Ngounou,Vice President, Strategy and Programs, Nellie Mae Education Foundation

When Dr. Ngounou takes on the position of Interim President and CEO on June 1, she will bring nearly two decades of experience working across the education sector, including work with nonprofits, individual schools, and school districts. Most recently, she served as the Foundation’s Vice President of Strategy and Programs, where she was responsible for successfully implementing the organization’s new grantmaking strategy focused on advancing racial equity in public education. Before coming to the Foundation, Dr. Ngounou served as the Chief Program Officer for Arlington, Virginia-based Phi Delta Kappa International, a professional organization for educators. In this role, she designed and led programs that supported school district leaders, provided leadership coaching surrounding issues of equity and social justice, and created and facilitated an ongoing community that allowed system-level leaders in districts from across the country to learn from one another. Prior to her work at Phi Delta Kappa, Dr. Ngounou worked for school districts including Hartford Public Schools, Montgomery County Public Schools, and the Kansas City Missouri School District. She is passionate about social justice, racial equity, adult learning, youth and community empowerment, systems change, and increasing educational access and opportunities for all students to thrive.

I speak on behalf of the entire Nellie Mae Board of Directors when I say that we are more than excited to have Gislaine in the Interim President and CEO role. — Greg Gunn, Chair, Nellie Mae Education Foundation Board of Directors

“I am excited and thankful for this opportunity, and feel confident that I am well-equipped and positioned to lead and support the organization through this transition,” said Dr. Ngounou. “I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with our Board, Nellie Mae colleagues, community advisors, and grantee partners to continue to move the Foundation’s work forward, so that we may use our power and privilege as an organization to uproot systemic racism — both within philanthropy and our public education system. I hope we can continue to advance a philanthropic practice that centers the voices of those most impacted by injustices.”

“I speak on behalf of the entire Nellie Mae Board of Directors when I say that we are more than excited to have Gislaine in the Interim President and CEO role,” said Greg Gunn, Chair of the Nellie Mae Education Foundation Board of Directors. “We are confident that this move will allow her to continue to move the organization forward in advancing a vision where all young people have access to an excellent and equitable public education that prepares them to succeed and thrive in community. Additionally, this move will allow the organization to continue implementing its current grantmaking strategy uninterrupted.”

Outgoing President and CEO Nick Donohue plans to transition out of the organization effective May 31, 2021, after over 14 years at the organization. The Foundation remains ever grateful for Nick’s exemplary leadership over the years. “Nick’s guidance and expertise has pushed us to more deeply engage in racial equity work as a foundation, which in turn has made us a much more responsive grantmaker,” said Greg Gunn. “He has been responsible for shepherding in student-centered approaches to learning as a national education reform strategy, and really helping to shift the narrative around how people think about the ways schools should be organized to best serve young people. We know Nick’s legacy will be carried out as we continue our work, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

Gislaine brings strategic vision, deep knowledge around education, extensive experience with racial equity and change management, that will bring so much to advancing the organization’s vision. It is because of her leadership and execution that the Foundation has been able to implement our new grantmaking strategy with thoughtfulness, humility, and care. — Nick Donohue, Outgoing Nellie Mae Education Foundation President and CEO

“While I will miss working closely with Nellie Mae colleagues, partners, and grantees, I couldn’t be more thrilled for Gislaine and the organization about this decision,” said Nick Donohue. “Gislaine brings strategic vision, deep knowledge around education, extensive experience with racial equity and change management, and an inspiring leadership style that will bring so much to advancing the organization’s vision. It is because of her leadership and execution that the Foundation has been able to implement our new grantmaking strategy with thoughtfulness, humility, and care. It has been the privilege and honor of my lifetime to work at the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and I look forward to watching how the organization grows even more under her full leadership.”

Cross-Racial Healing and Solidarity in a White Supremacist World

Written by Alexis Harewood and Ellen Wang

Central to the Nellie Mae Education Foundation’s focus of advancing racial equity in public education is our commitment to ensuring all young people and families feel safe in schools and communities across New England as school buildings continue to reopen. When young people experience belonging and emotional safety by feeling that their perspectives, needs and full identities are seen and embraced, they can focus on learning and thrive academically (Darling-Hammond, 2017).

Since the Foundation released the Racism is a Virus, Too Rapid Response Fund in March of 2020, over 500,000 people in the United States have died from COVID-19. The virus has disproportionately impacted the Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities. While Asian American racism did not start with COVID-19, the spread of the virus has prompted the rise of anti-Asian racism and xenophobia through the U.S., “taking the forms of vandalism, student bullying, online hate speech, and more recently, violent attacks against elders. This type of ‘othering’ divides communities by dehumanizing groups of people when anxiety is manipulated and misdirected to place blame in the time of crisis” (Smithsonian APA Center).

Photo by Guillaume Issaly on Unsplash

AAPI communities have a deep-rooted history of being in solidarity with other communities of color — something that is often left unspoken. There is a vast history of AAPI communities supporting Black communities in the United States including during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. Activists like Yuri Kochiyama, Grace Lee Boggs, Richard Aoki, and Larry Itliong were constant advocates for Black and Brown liberation and worked closely alongside Black and Brown people.

After the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd by police officers in 2020, AAPI communities across the world showed up in solidarity with Black communities to demand policy change. ASIANS 4 BLACK LIVES signs, actions, and sentiments continue to be in profound allyship and solidarity with Black people.

Two of our program officers leading this work reflect on what cross-racial solidarity means to them, as women of color.

Reflections from Alexis Harewood, program officer

Last year brought me countless moments of sadness and grief after the murders of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and so many others. Yet there were innumerable acts of solidarity that filled me with hope. As a Black woman, it meant a lot to see and hear that other non-Black people of color recognized that the ‘issue’ being fought wasn’t Black people standing against the police, but the suppressed standing up and fighting against white supremacy in all of its many forms. Moreover, it was liberating to see people working to expose how anti-Blackness shows up in their racial groups and fighting racism with solidarity as one of my favorite activists, Fred Hampton, did.

White supremacy has deeply impacted communities of color. White supremacy has created competition and harm within racial groups. But harm means there is also opportunity for healing.

I recognize that while Black communities grieved these murders, AAPI communities around the world were also grieving and fearing for the physical safety and emotional well-being of themselves and their elders. They fought a silent war that had yet to be fully detailed or reported by the mainstream media. Yet, they showed up and held Black people closely and remained in solidarity.

Reflections from Ellen Wang, senior program officer

As an East Asian woman working in philanthropy, I am incredibly grateful to be doing this work alongside my colleagues in the philanthropic sector. I am especially moved to do this work in solidarity with my colleague and dear friend, Alexis Harewood. Doing this work alongside a brilliant Black woman and my other colleagues at Nellie Mae, has been a tangible way for me to heal and work through my own anger and grief.

Healing can only begin to happen when we stop long enough to listen deeply to each other, acknowledge the harms we have caused one another, and understand that it is white supremacy that has pitted us against each other and that of which must be dismantled.

I want to be clear that while AAPIs are being targeted now during the pandemic, anti-Asian racism and violence, Sinophobia, and xenophobia are nothing new. They are interwoven into the fabric of this country. Healing can only begin to happen when we stop long enough to listen deeply to each other, acknowledge the harms we have caused one another, and understand that it is white supremacy that has pitted us against each other and that of which must be dismantled.

My hope is that this funding opportunity will continue to support those who have been doing the work of promoting cross-community solidarity, and serve as a stepping point for those we are ready to embark on the hard work of building deep, sustained bridges. I fundamentally believe that our liberation is bound together and showing up for one another cannot be transactional, but a life-long commitment.

*The first part of this blog post is an excerpt from Cross-Racial Healing and Solidarity in a White Supremacist World Rapid Response Grant


Cross-Racial Healing and Solidarity in a White Supremacist World was originally published in Nellie Mae Education Foundation on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

We stand in solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander Community

We Stand in Solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander Community

We at the Nellie Mae Education Foundation stand in solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander community across the nation, condemning the hate crimes that are being perpetuated by white supremacist and misogynist ways of thinking and acting. To claim that these acts were not racially motivated misses the point and perpetuates harm on our AAPI communities.

We acknowledge that these hate crimes did not begin with COVID-19 and have existed in this country for centuries. The hate against our AAPI communities begins and stops with us. And while there are multiple ways to demonstrate solidarity through education, action, and other means, we wanted to share the following resources in efforts of stopping AAPI hate:


We stand in solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander Community was originally published in Nellie Mae Education Foundation on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.