We Chose Florida for a Reason
Recent legislative attacks on immigrants and LGBTQ+ people and the rise of hate rhetoric across the state are heartbreaking, but not surprising. Our decision to convene in Florida this year is intentional. The primary purpose of GSP’s Biennial Convening is to connect funders to practitioners leading the structural change work that is making a real difference in directly impacted communities. We need funders to show up in this moment and to provide cover for the folks on the frontlines. Our communities are under attack and need support now.
Grassroots organizations have been working tirelessly to protect Black, brown, queer, trans, immigrants, and all marginalized people amidst extremist policies being enacted in Florida. The recent passage of SB1718 criminalizes immigrants and puts their lives at risk by making it illegal to be undocumented or to travel with undocumented people in Florida. Several civil rights organizations have released travel advisories for transgender people planning to travel to the state, noting recent legislation aimed at criminalizing queer and trans people. These policies are terror tactics meant to target and punish our neighbors and loved ones. Without your support in Florida, defeating these policies and protecting our people will be significantly harder.
As Southerners working to build an inclusive South that values and cares for all people, we know that choosing to stay out of Florida is simply not an option for us. Let us be clear: we do not abandon each other in times of need. The systems that make the South a precarious place to live are the systems that we navigate daily. We live here. This is our home. Many of us cannot leave, and many more of us do not want to. What we want is a South that makes intentional space for all people, especially the least protected among us. What we need is for funders to show up for Floridians whose lives are at incredible risk in this moment, to learn about their work, and to commit to funding them.
Florida’s political landscape is incubating ideas and policies that will create political destruction across the South. By convening in Florida and bringing resources to the organizations working to meet this moment, we are doing our part to ensure that philanthropy is showing up for community. This work is preventative. We are grasping the issues at the root.
We also know that traveling to Florida is a risk for many of us right now. Harmful legislation continues to be enacted and the landscape is shifting almost daily. Protecting our communities is of utmost importance to us, and concerns around traveling to Florida are valid. We will be implementing trauma-informed safety and security practices at the convening and will work to ensure our attendee’s safety as much as possible. We are working directly with community members in Orlando to develop best practices around safety based on their intimate knowledge of the state, their communities, and what works. We will continue to provide attendees with resources ahead of the convening around travel safety. The specific safety practices we will be implementing will not be shared publicly to ensure the highest level of safety for our attendees. Information will be shared through private emails and is subject to change based on the shifting political climate in the state.
If this is not the space for you right now, we understand. Ultimately, you should take the steps to care for yourselves and your communities in the ways that work for you. At the same time, it is our duty to recognize our communities who are directly affected and do not have the choice to opt out of navigating the complexities of the South.
The organizations and speakers featured at The Forward Moment will bring with them the wisdom and strategies they’ve developed through navigating unjust systems firsthand. We have much to learn from them and they deserve our support. We hope you’ll join us in showing up for and standing beside them.