Arts and Culture for Social and Racial Justice

Glossary of Key Terms

Lake Merritt at sunset

Belonging: Within the civic realm, belonging is tied to people’s ability to lead meaningful lives, to be connected to the place they live in and the people they live among, and to feel a part of something larger than themselves. We believe to cultivate belonging, there must be more equitable racial, cultural, and socioeconomic conditions for self-expression, mutual respect, empathy, and acceptance. These conditions cannot be fulfilled without an understanding of the breadth of cultural diversity in Oakland and how different forms of expression have different needs. (Definition from the City of Oakland’s cultural plan)

BIPOC: BIPOC is an abbreviation for Black/Indigenous/People of Color, and highlights the legacies of enslavement and colonization in the U.S. People of Color refers to people who do not identify as white and are not exclusively of European heritage.

Community-Rooted: It is important to the Fund that the artists/cultural practitioners involved with projects are deeply a part of the communities with whom they will work—either through identity, years of involvement, or both. A community may be geographically or ethnically/culturally defined. It may also be a community of identity based on, for example, age, faith, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status.

Cultural Practitioners: The Fund uses the term cultural practitioners to include not only artists, but artist-activists, traditional culture bearers/keepers, griots/storytellers, craftspeople, creative placemakers and—keepers, cultural strategists, community historians/elders, or other visionaries.

Fiscal Sponsor: A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that is willing and able to assume the legal responsibility to receive and administer grant funds in compliance with requirements.

Intersectionality: The interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, ethnicity, class, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, and religion as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or privilege. (A term coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw)

Racial Justice: The systematic fair treatment of people of all races resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. Racial justice—or racial equity—goes beyond “anti-racism.” It is not just the absence of discrimination and inequities, but also the presence of deliberate systems and supports to achieve and sustain racial equity through proactive and preventative measures. (Definition adopted from Race Forward) Racial justice is a step on the way to a society liberated from racialized systems of oppression.

Radical Imagination: The ability to imagine the world, life, and social institutions not as they are, but as they might be in a just world. It is the courage and the intelligence to recognize that the world can be changed. Radical imagination is about calling on the past, telling different stories about how the world came to be the way it is, and remembering the power and importance of past struggles and the way their spirits live on in the present. It calls on our capacity to imagine how to make common cause with other people, and undergirds our ability to build solidarity across boundaries and borders, real or imagined. (Definition adapted from writings by Alex Khasnabish and Max Haiven)

Systemic/Structural Racism: Systemic/structural racism in the U.S. is the normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics—historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal—that routinely advantage whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. It is a system of hierarchy and inequity, primarily characterized by white supremacy—the preferential treatment, privilege, and power for white people at the expense of Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, SWANA (Southwest Asian, North African) and other racially oppressed people. (Definition adopted from Structural Racism by Keith Lawrence and Terry Keleher)


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