Nile Rodgers is pushing to end systematic racism with his We Are Family Foundation’s new Youth to the Front Fund.
The fund will support “under 30-year-old BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) youth activists, youth-led organisations, projects, innovations and creative solutions that are at the forefront of fighting systemic racism, inequality, inequity and injustice in the United States and around the world,” according to a press release.
Although the exact monetary value of the fund was not revealed, it was described as a “growing six-figure” sum, with organisers insisting it is not meant to be a “one-off response to George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent global outrage, but rather an ongoing sustainable commitment.”
To accompany the announcement, Chic star Rodgers shared a video message and statement detailing his life-long experiences with racism and explaining why he was compelled to help now.
Rodgers revealed he was first confronted with racism as a seven-year-old, the only black boy in his second-grade classroom, where he was harassed by other students and even teachers. As a 12-year-old, after his family moved to Los Angeles, he also recalled being “threatened at gunpoint by various random policemen and gun-toting whites of all backgrounds.”
However, when the Le Freak star was 16, he joined the New York chapter of the revolutionary socialist political organisation, the Black Panther Party.
“We stood up for racial equality and provided breakfast to school children and countless other basic needs actions in the community, he remembered. “Those deeds provided me with the principles by which I live to this very day.”
He continued: “There have been countless murders of people of colour for hundreds of years… But the killing of George Floyd has resonated in a way I have never witnessed in my lifetime.
“Maybe at this moment in time, we’ll truly move in a direction of positive change for equality, equity and equal justice.”