Hate crimes are on the rise nationally and Northern California is not immune. The latest FBI statistics show hate crimes rose 17 percent between 2016 to 2017. Of the many communities targeted, the Arab community stands out, with a 100% increase-- more than five times the national average. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the rise continued in 2018 in California where hate crimes jumped for the third straight year.
Where is the spike in anti-Muslim sentiment coming from? What purpose is it serving? How are Arabs, Muslims and their allies adapting their strategies to secure the wellbeing of their communities? What role can philanthropy play in combating the hate against communities under attack?
A report by the Center for American Progress (CAP) suggests that policy interests, not security, are driving these questions. CAP identified an Islamophobia Network whose purpose is misinformation. Earlier this year, Philanthropy California issued an alert calling attention to a new report by the Council on American Islamic Relations detailing over a billion dollars in philanthropic funding to anti-Muslim hate groups.
Please join us for dialogue with movement and philanthropic leaders on the impacts of the Muslim Ban on Arab and Muslim communities, how they’re building movement solidarity among Arab, Muslim, Jewish and Black-led organizations in the fight against Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism, and the challenges these movements face when their advocacy for sovereignty in the Middle East and North Africa is conflated for anti-Semitism.
Alex M. Johnson, Program Director, The California Wellness Foundation
Alex Martin Johnson is a program director at The California Wellness Foundation where he manages grantmaking related to violence prevention, immigration, and strengthening community clinics and safety net partners. Having previously served as managing director of Californians for Safety and Justice (CSJ) and as executive director of Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA), Alex is an accomplished policy shaper, skilled legal practitioner, and advocate.
Alex has served on the Los Angeles County Board of Education since 2014 and most recently ended a term as President. As a member of the Board of Education he works collaboratively with the superintendent and board to oversee the education system for the nation’s largest juvenile justice system; the state’s largest Head Start grantee program serving more than 13,000 preschool children; programs serving homeless, foster, and special education students; and an annual budget exceeding $530 million.
A graduate of Morehouse College and American University, Washington College of Law, Alex led education and public safety policy, as well as, programmatic efforts for Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. He began his legal career in New York City advocating for domestic violence victims as an assistant district attorney in Bronx County.
In 2018, Alex was selected by the German Marshall Fund as one of 72 Marshall Memorial Fellows from across the United States and Europe to promote and strengthen transatlantic cooperation on regional, national and global challenges. He serves on the California Advisory Board for the Trust for Public Land and the board of The Wiley Center for Speech and Language Development. He was a founding board member of Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network (AIYN) and currently serves on the Leadership Council for the Los Angeles County Arts Ed Collective. Alex’s writings have appeared in numerous publications including the Huffington Post, Los Angeles Daily News and Sacramento Bee.
Alex is married to Dr. Ashley Wiley Johnson and they are the proud parents of a precious daughter, Alexa Danielle.
Lara Kiswani, Executive Director, Arab Resource & Organizing Center
Lara Kiswani is from Beit Iksa and Aqir, Palestine, and was born and raised in the Bay Area. She got her masters in education with an emphasis on equity and social justice where her work focused on young Arab women, language and colonization. As a student organizer, she was a cofounder of Students for Justice in Palestine, helped to establish the Middle East South Asia Studies program, and organized with Third World Forum at UC Davis. She has worked as a youth and adult educator, is a lecturer at San Francisco State University in the College of Ethnic Studies, and the executive director of the the Arab Resource and Organizing Center (AROC).
Ellen LaPointe, President and CEO, Northern California Grantmakers
Ellen LaPointe is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Northern California Grantmakers, a nonprofit organization that leverages the power of association and community to advance the collective interests of its members and catalyze the impact of philanthropy in Northern California.
Ellen has held executive and senior management positions in the nonprofit sector for over twenty years. She has also provided strategic guidance and executive management consultation to philanthropic, nonprofit, and social enterprise clients seeking to develop impact strategies, establish strategic partnerships, elevate their visibility, and secure resources. Ellen has expertise in organizational leadership, strategy development and implementation, partnership cultivation, fund development, communications, financial management, and program oversight.
Prior to joining NCG Ellen was Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at HopeLab, a Redwood City-based private operating foundation founded by Board chair Pam Omidyar that utilizes technology-based approaches to improve health and well-being. In that role, Ellen cultivated strategic private and public sector engagements to increase HopeLab’s institutional resources, amplify the impact of HopeLab’s innovative solutions, and raise awareness of HopeLab’s work among thought leaders, policymakers, and other key stakeholders. Ellen assumed the role of Vice President of Strategic Partnerships in May 2007, following a two-year tenure as Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, also at HopeLab.
Before joining HopeLab, Ellen served as Executive Director of Project Inform, a national non-profit AIDS treatment information and advocacy organization. Prior to that, she was an attorney at a large law firm in San Francisco and Director of Clinical Research at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, also in San Francisco.
Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson, Executive Director, Highlander Research & Education Center
Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson is a 34 year old, Affrilachian (Black Appalachian), working class woman, born and raised in Southeast Tennessee. Ash-Lee is the first black woman Executive Director of the Highlander Research & Education Center, a social justice leadership training school and cultural center founded in 1932. Through popular education, language justice, participatory research, cultural work, and intergenerational organizing, they help create spaces — at Highlander and in communities — where people gain knowledge, hope and courage, expanding their ideas of what is possible. Ash-Lee is a long-time activist working against environmental racism in central and southern Appalachia, and has fought for workers rights, racial justice, women and LGBTQUIA+ rights, reproductive justice, international human rights, and led-intergenerational social movements across the South. She serves on the governance council of the Southern Movement Assembly and is a nationally recognized leader in the Movement for Black Lives.
Peggy Saika, Interim CEO, Common Counsel Foundation
She served as the President/Executive Director of Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy (AAPIP) from 2002 to 2015. Prior to that she was the founding e
Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network and the Executive Director of the Asian Law Caucus. She is a co-founder of the Asian Women's Shelter, Asians/Pacific Islanders for Choice, the National Asian Pacific American Legal Consortium and the National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum. She has served on the board of numerous organizations including Equal Rights Advocates, Progressive Assets Management, and the Alston/Bannerman National Fellowship Program.
Ms. Saika is a past chairperson of the Board of Directors of The California Wellness Foundation and currently serves as Vice-Chair of the New World Foundation. She has also served on the Board of Trustees of The San Francisco Foundation, Ms. Foundation for Women, United Way of the Bay Area, Mertz-Gilmore Foundation, National Network of Grantmakers, and the Council on Foundations. In 2008 she was awarded The LEAD (Leadership, Equity, And Diversity) Award from Women & Philanthropy, celebrating outstanding risk-takers and innovators in the philanthropic community who, through their determination and leadership, have increased funding for
Rebecca Vilkomerson, Executive Director, Jewish Voice for Peace
Rebecca has been Executive Director of Jewish Voice for Peace since 2009, growing the organization into a grassroots powerhouse of over 70 chapters, 18,000 members, and over 250,000 supporters working for the full equality and freedom of all people in Israel/Palestine. In 2010 she was named one of the 50 most influential Jewish American leaders by the Forward, and and was named one of the 50 most influential Jewish leaders worldwide by the Jerusalem Post in 2017. She lived with her family in Israel from 2006-2009.
This event is open to member and nonmember funders.