We started off with Eveline Shen, Executive Director at Forward Together, leading us in some breathing exercises to ground us in this moment.
Eveline was our event emcee. She reminded us that - in this volatile political climate - not only do we need to resist, we need to advance proactive solutions led by the most marginalized communities to create radical and systemic changes that will build a better future for all.
Our first speaker, Jaron Browne of Grassroots Global Justice, talked about the need for international solidarity and cross-border movement building.
Jaron was followed by Joseph Sciortino of the Schmidt Family Foundation and the 11th Hour Project, who inspired us with stories of their grassroots grantees across the globe that are exposing the dangers of the extractive economy and advancing ecological, people-centered economic models.
Then, Mateo Nube of Movement Generation brought it back home to a U.S. context, asking us whether we will allow the continuation of the unsustainable exploitation of people and planet -- which will inevitably lead us toward the eventual collapse of our civilization -- or boldly invest in a Just Transition from an extractive economy to a regenerative one.
In response to Mateo's question, Cuong Hoang shared the Chorus Foundation's bold vision and long-term investments in frontline communities that are actively organizing toward a Just Transition, and their participatory grantmaking processes that democratize and decentralize decision-making so that power is shared, not accumulated by those in philanthropy.