Letter from Latanya: The power of movements; reflections on the Nairobi Summit; and Global Fund for Women’s new office in Brooklyn, NY

Last month I shared my reflections on why supporting indigenous feminist organizing is integral to the fight for gender justice. This month, having just returned from the Nairobi Summit and fully in awe of massive uprisings against inequality taking place around the globe, I am reflecting on the power and the importance of movements working to hold governments accountable for healthier and more just societies for all.

In Haiti, protesters have taken to the streets, demanding the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse for embezzling millions while a third of the population faces food insecurity.  In Chile, a student-led and coordinated fare evasion campaign has grown and galvanized millions nationwide in protests against increasing costs of living, privatization, and rampant inequality.  In Iraq, demonstrators are protesting high unemployment, dilapidated infrastructure, and government corruption.  In Lebanon, people are uniting across civil-war-era divides to call for an end to a government run by oligarchs.  November marks the fifth month of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.  In New York City, a series of high-profile, violent arrests of people in subways—including in the subway station just outside Global Fund for Women’s new Brooklyn office—prompted protests against the criminalization of poverty. Finally, in Bolivia, mass protests led by indigenous people are fighting against the military coup ousting President Evo Morales.

These liberation movements are all interconnected—including with the fight for gender justice. They are united by a vision for a better future, and an unflinching critique of capitalism, neoliberal and neocolonial policies, misogyny and racism, and repressive state tactics. I’m proud that in Lebanon, Global Fund for Women grantee partner Collective for Research on Training and Development – Action (CRTDA) has been actively leading the charge for including gender justice demands in the protests, including changes to citizenship and personal status laws. In addition, Global Fund for Women is providing funding to groups in Brazil and Bolivia who are responding to the devastating fires in the Amazon and protesting the government’s response. We also supported a gathering of Sudanese activists to strategize together in the wake of the anti-corruption protests that ultimately led to Omar al-Bashir’s removal after a 30-year dictatorship. The team at Global Fund for Women is serious about addressing structural inequity. We will continue to reflect on and evolve our role as a funder and advocate for gender justice to support powerful and transformative movements.

Last week I attended the Nairobi Summit which inspired me to write about how interlinked poverty and patriarchy are—and the importance of holding governments accountable for both.  As mass protests call for government accountability, those with power and privilege must join these calls, increasing the number of pressure points to accelerate social change.  In tandem with civilian uprisings, we need new high-level agreements in multilateral spaces like ICPD25. And of course, we need funding to support the people and processes that are at the heart of both.

I am simultaneously inspired and challenged by the uprisings around the globe.  I want to see these protestors’ demands met, I want to see long-term sustainable movements emerge, and I want government accountability and resource redistribution. As I said in my Nairobi piece, what governments and civil society commit to—and fund—has the power to save lives and transform generations.  When activists, and funders, rise to the moment, they can achieve deep, lasting change—change that keeps us hopeful for the future.

Speaking of the future, I am excited to share that the New York office of Global Fund for Women has moved into a new location in Brooklyn, NY! We are thrilled to have a presence in this borough—and we could never “fuhgeddaboutit”. My team and I look forward to joining all of the movement efforts from San Francisco, CA to Brooklyn, NY and around the globe, and hope you will join us too. We are grateful for your support and solidarity this November.