Towards a feminist and anti-racist philanthropy

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Calala Women’s Fund, Anti-racist Collaborative Statement

The year 2020 saw a severe increase in inequalities due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and it saw the spotlight placed on long-standing racial and economic inequalities at the root of societies across the globe. In the context of these undeniable realities, at Calala Women’s Fund, we believe that today more than ever it is essential to build a feminist and anti-racist philanthropic sector.

Calala is based in Barcelona and promotes the rights, empowerment and leadership of women in Central America, Mexico and Spain. As the only women’s fund in Spain, Calala mobilises economic resources and promotes capacity building for migrant feminist activists, domestic and care workers, and sex workers. We also support efforts to secure the right to abortion and universal health care; boost community feminisms in Central America; vindicate ancestral knowledge; and defend activism. In 2018 we joined the EFC and have been involved in its Gender Equality Network.

The current political situation and recent, high-profile racist events, particularly in 2020, challenged us to take a stand on these issues in our local and regional contexts. At the end of 2020, we released an anti-racist statement against Spanish immigration laws that contribute to making the situations of hundreds of thousands of people more precarious; against the police persecution that is costing lives; against the criminalisation of activists; and against the extermination of indigenous peoples, evicted from their ancestral lands in Abya Yala (the American continent).

Through our work, we aim to unite in solidarity with all those people who organise and protest against the patriarchal, racist and colonialist world view that has been dominant for far too long. Racism is not a new and isolated problem, but an element of a hierarchical colonialist system in which some lives matter more than others. This vision is manifested in the people and entities – public and private, local and international – that are part of the system. And we know that philanthropy is not exempt.

As a philanthropic organisation, we are aware of our privileges. We know that financing groups in Latin America while being located in the global north reinforces logics of entrenched power from which we are not exempt. That is why we welcome the ongoing challenges by our partners to continue learning from the strength, courage and bravery of all those who denounce racism on a daily basis. And we know that we still have a long way to go.

Conscious of our European, white and class privileges, and of all that remains to be worked on within our foundation, we are convinced that it is essential to banish racism from our way of being. Since our beginnings in 2009, our way of sharing, doing and working has been guided by an anti-racist vision. Calala emerged from the dreams of Central American and Spanish feminists to change our collective way of seeing the world by recognising and integrating into our institution the knowledge and genealogies of the feminisms from the two regions. We are a mixed team, made up of women from different latitudes, and we rely on their specific knowledge and life stories that make our team so diverse and rich.

Every day we continue to reflect on the colonialist side of the power in our practices, making Calala a foundation in constant revision, striving to make our relationships caring, loving and horizontal.

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