Let’s get comfortable and chat for a minute. Actually, it’s probably going to be a little uncomfortable. First off, let me introduce myself. My name is Liz Salazar and I am on the board of YNPN Phoenix. I also have the privilege of chairing the YNPN Phoenix Communications Committee, where I work with a group of amazing volunteers who make graphics, write blogs, manage social media, and send out newsletters.

It’s no secret that the nonprofit community has a problem with race and class. From philanthropic practices, to board recruitment, staffing, programs and everything in between – people of color are used as tokens, not taken seriously, or simply left out of the equation. I’ve worked for and volunteered with nonprofits since I was in high school, so I know I am part of the problem, too. Now I serve on the board of one and there is simply no excuse. It’s time we start to ask the tough questions.

It might be messy and it won’t be perfect. We’re going to squirm in our seats and we’ll question ourselves, but that’s the point. YNPN Phoenix owes it to the nonprofit community, the young professional community, and our members at the very least. Moreover, we owe it to all of the marginalized communities we seek to serve in our day jobs, in our volunteer hours, and in our personal activism.

We’re working on programming and content to address these very issues and to learn and grow as an organization as our members learn and grow with us. My committee is working on a series of blogs on issues of race, justice, activism and hopefully much more. If you have ideas or want to guest blog, we’d love it. Member or not – we want to hear your stories.

This is where you come in.
The first in this series of blogs will examine how the nonprofit community has responded to the Black Lives Matter Movement and the multiple days of protest taking place in every single state over the past few weeks. We’d love to hear your experiences.

Did your organization make a public statement and what were your feelings?
Did you discuss it as a team, and if so how did it go?
If your organization has not addressed it internally or externally, how do you feel?
We realize that this requires a great deal of vulnerability and could even put you in a tough position at work, so we will not identify you or your organization unless you give us permission. And remember, if your organization did a fantastic job, we want to hear all about that as well.

The point of this isn’t to drag ourselves or our community through the mud. The point is to take some time to reflect on our part in this history as it unfolds before us. Part of our mission as a chapter of the national Young Nonprofit Professionals Network is to help our members grow, challenge themselves, and learn from one another. We’ll no longer shy away from the most challenging parts of that charge.

Please reach out to us at YNPNPHXCOMMS@gmail.com if you’d like to share your story or want to contribute in a different way. I also urge you to read the statement from YNPN National and well as explore these resources to learn more about issues of race in the nonprofit sector and see how you can take action.

Thank you for all the hard work you do to make our community and our state a better place to live.

Liz Salazar

Board Member, YNPN Phoenix