In March-June 2021, Global Philanthropy Project (GPP) and co-sponsoring partners held the Shimmering Solidarity: Global Rights Summit, a virtual series focused on grantmaker responses to the “anti-gender” movement and related global anti-rights agendas. The Global Rights Summit served as an opportunity for grantmakers, philanthropic networks, and aligned colleagues to build shared analysis around anti-rights attacks and strategize towards multi-sectoral progressive philanthropic responses.
The summit included over 50 sessions, with over 380 attendees representing grantmaking organizations, funder networks, and civil society partner organizations.
About the Summit
In recent decades, we have witnessed a global confluence and re-framing of multiple longtime anti-rights movements within the concept of an “anti-gender” movement which claims to defend what is “natural.” This framework is weaponized by conservative political and religious groups in furtherance of ongoing strategies to attack and roll back human rights and self-determination, deny climate science, and promote anti-democratic forces. Enormous financial resources are flowing to these anti-rights movements, leveraged into acceleration across global regions and yielding both the attrition of human rights infrastructures and the increasing rise of authoritarianism.
The Shimmering Solidarity: Global Rights Summit aimed to provide an opportunity for grantmakers to develop shared analysis, strategy, and collaboration across multiple interconnected grantmaking issue areas including (but not limited to):
- Support for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex (LGBTI) people; women and all who face sexual and gender-based violence; sex workers; refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers; children, adolescents, and youth; and human rights defenders.
- Support for environmental justice and response to climate crisis including protection of targeted climate activists and opposition to climate change denial and eco-fascism.
- Defense of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice.
- Defense of open space/responding to closing space for civil society (including increased criminalization, surveillance, and delegitimization by state systems in times of crisis on the grounds of security).
- Peace and security.
- Support for those mobilizing for and economic racial justice.
- Support for those developing affirming religious spaces, and countering faith-based fundamentalisms.
- COVID-19 impacts and adaptations.
Why “Shimmering Solidarity”?
Honeybees flip their abdomens upwards in split-second synchronicity to produce a wave-like pattern called shimmering in order to repel against predators such as hornets. The shimmering mechanism is both sophisticated and magical, demonstrating the bees’ remarkable capacity for rapid communication and coordination for aligned action. Shimmering is an anti-predatory response which works by confusing and disorienting its opponents through collective movement, making the many appear as one. This self-defense strategy is developed to protect the community, not the honey or the queen. Shimmering enables bees to live in hives that are out in the open. Even small scale shimmering is effective.
Honeybees also use a vigorously democratic consensus-building process while seeking and assessing potential new homes for their hive. This process includes a special dance that the bees use to communicate the possibilities of the homes they have visited. We see this element of honeybee technology as a generative metaphor for our work together imagining, exploring, and sharing ideas about our future-visions and the paths to get there.
The complexity of the global network and intersecting anti-rights agendas of the “anti-gender” movement requires a progressive philanthropic “shimmering.” While we seek new and better futures, how can we better communicate and coordinate to share information and strategies, to protect our movements and communities against those who attack human rights? What have we learned that we can share now? What do we need to learn together? What strengths and strategies can we activate to share our positive future-visions?
The Global Rights Summit was developed as a space for progressive grantmakers to connect across these different thematic and geographic silos and maximize the conditions for cooperation, coordination, co-learning, and identification of action steps.
Conference art design: Kendrick Daye
Core Meeting Goals
- Convene global grantmakers to develop shared analysis, strategy, and collaboration across multiple interconnected grantmaking issue areas in response to a global anti-rights agenda and a number of connected anti-rights strategies.
- Facilitate opportunity to evaluate responses and solutions within a regional context, across philanthropic sectors and disciplines.
- Identify paths to increase and improve funding to support civil society movements for human rights and democracy which are under attack.
- Cross Pollinate: Share knowledge across varied and overlapping grantmaking areas, forge connections, and identify further opportunities.
- Shimmer: Share concrete grant craft: skills, tools, approaches, models, innovations, and lessons learned.
- Disorient and Disrupt: Build shared analysis about the opposition’s funding, strengths, and vulnerabilities. Co-develop progressive philanthropic response in support of effective and promising movements strategies, experiments, and lessons learned for counteraction and community self-defense.
- Local Honey: Hone in on regional collaboration: coordinate regional problem-solving and strategic development across funding sectors, approaches, and practices..
- Another Hive Is Possible: Share how we are funding world building work and transformative strategies to develop our visions and movements towards a more just and liberatory future.
- Honeybee Dance: Creative and cultural spaces within the summit; a closing party and elements integrated into the larger summit to connect us to what we’re fighting for.
Frequently Asked Questions
I attended the event and want to know if it’s possible to access resources shared in the event platform after the event has ended?
In general, resources shared on the event platform during March-June 2021 (including videos of recorded sessions) are no longer available to attendees. Contact us if you are looking for access to specific materials, we’ll see what we can do within our privacy agreements.
Reach out to email@example.com for this and other questions.
Philanthropic networks Elevate Children’s Funder Group (ECFG), Funders’ Initiative for Civil Society (FICS), Peace and Security Funders Group (PSFG), and Philanthropy Advancing Women’s Human Rights (PAWHR) joined Global Philanthropy Project as co-conveners of the Global Rights Summit, also informed by an Advisory Committee including key philanthropic and civil society representatives.
GPP shares appreciation for support of the Global Rights Summit program from Compton Foundation, Oak Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Thank you to the GPP membership for additional support.