A Community and Culture of Action at MMMC 2015

by Zak Wear, RG member

Resource Generation’s 2015 Making Money Make Change conference brought me back to my home state of Maryland. I was excited to take the week to see my people, rake mom and dad’s leaves, eat, and … Continue reading »

MMMC 2015: It will all be okay!

 

Hi, my name is Mahi.

 

I am part of the host-committee for MMMC 2015.
I will tell you about my involvement with RG and MMMC 2014 last year.

When I moved to Colorado, it was because of money.

I couldn’t find a job as an engineer in Minneapolis, Minnesota and didn’t have an income.
So, I married a white, heterosexual, cis-gendered man and left.

My parents have wealth.
I stand to inherit wealth, and don’t have direct access to wealth.
(I learned to say these lines confidently after attending MMMC 2014.)

So, when I moved to Colorado, I was lonely.
I learned about RG through a South Asian listserv, and I joined.
I developed an RG crush on our chapter leader Mac Liman.
Our relationship was activist polite.

Then suddenly she began calling. A lot.

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Finding Resource Generation from Canada

Each generation must, out of its relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.

-Frantz Fanon

David Gray-Donald photo colourI’m part of a generation (I’m 27) in North America that grew up being told that everyone should be born equal and have equal opportunity. I think my parents’ generation believed that so much they started to think of it as a reality, something already achieved, and not as a should-be, as something to aspire to. They were trying to believe in the dream of the civil rights movement. Believe it into reality, even if the work was so far from done. And so from a young age growing up in Toronto in a wealthy family I didn’t understand why people would choose to be poor. Why not just be rich? Everyone was given the same opportunities, after all.

Early in life I had somehow internalized the lesson of the inherent fairness of things. Being in middle and high school and trying to understand money and wealth at a society-wide level was confusing. At least it was for me. I wasn’t taught about the racial and gender divisions of wealth that have existed for hundreds of years here. Or about how that history led to today’s reality. I was simply taught that we live in a fair society of many opportunities. That’s the proud Canadian narrative. Not too different from the American dream.

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Blogging for Resource Generation: A Check-In from the Making Money Make Change Open Space

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I am a new member of Resource Generation, and a constituent: a young person with wealth. I got involved in conference calls for “RG supports black led organizing” in response to feelings of isolation and powerlessness, and a strong desire to support the resistance to anti-black racism and police violence in cities like Ferguson. Leaders at RG – specifically two current and former board members, working-class black women, Nakisha Lewis and Monica Simpson – pushed our organization to action, guiding us to become accountable specifically as young people with wealth. I joined in at the second call, and from there ideas (and my involvement) snowballed.

In order for RG to become sustainable funders and supporters to the movement of black resistance to state violence and to center all black lives, member-leadership was called on to move this developing initiative forward into the upcoming annual RG retreat, Making Money Make Change. At the retreat, staff constructed a wall, where volunteers posted their personal commitment to #BlackLivesMatter (as a hashtag, movement and rallying cry) and ending the Racial Wealth Gap, which, for me and I think many others, was a challenging process of getting over fears of “not knowing the right thing to say,” but eventually realizing that all of this was bigger than our own egos – and together – the statements presented a fuller picture of why black lives matter to us. There was also a laptop open to the Color of Change petition throughout the retreat; and many elected to take photographs with their statements.

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My Path to MMMC

When I first heard about Resource Generation, I had two reactions.

The first was skeptical. I don’t know about this…social justice organizing by young people with wealth?

The second was grateful. Holy crap — I have been looking for this for YEARS.

That’s because I am a young person with wealth1. In my early twenties, I inherited a trust fund and stock portfolio, mostly in Exxon-Mobil and Chevron stocks, from my dad’s side of the family. As I was steadily politicized during and after college, I struggled for years over what this inherited wealth meant for me, as well as more generally over what my place could be in movements for social justice.

Slowly but surely, I learned: as a man, I could recognize my male privilege and reach out toward other men to challenge sexism; as a white person, I could recognize my white privilege and reach out toward other white people to challenge racism. But there was a problem: I didn’t want to reach out toward wealthy people. I hated wealthy people! I hated the preppy culture I grew up in; the global system of financial exploitation that was the root cause of so much suffering and violence; the bubbles of wealth, privilege, and ignorance that perpetuated this vast inequity and injustice.

I hated myself. That was a powerful feeling.

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Growing through a Giving Circle: Funding Queerly

Three years ago, I decided to go to Making Money Make Change, the annual conference put on by Resource Generation. I know that I will inherit wealth in the future, so I decided to go to the conference to start thinking about this privilege, about my family, and my own access to wealth. I wanted to figure out how to put my resources toward the social justice movement in ways that felt right to me.

I remember when I did my money survey at MMMC (Making Money Make Change). This survey goes over your net worth and includes questions on how much of your last year’s income that you gave away.  I remember the moment I realized that I had given away 0.05% of what I had earned that year.  I felt ashamed and alone.  I couldn’t believe I was sitting at that conference calling myself an activist and someone who believes in giving and social justice. (more…)