This edition of Nonprofit Quarterly Magazine is a resounding no in the face of the travesty that Black women leaders, and other women of color leaders, have been contending with in the sector.

As White-founded organizational leadership transitions out of what has more often than not been blatantly unexamined and relatively ungoverned roles in organizations, often on the brink of collapse, incoming Black women leaders are discovering that now there will be not only governance but obstructive, extreme oversight, micromanagement, unreasonable expectations, territorialism, mistrust, little to no support, lack of basic decency and humanity, and the list continues—sometimes from the board, sometimes from the staff, and sometimes from both…and that’s just internally. Externally, there is also misbehavior from funders and from other leaders.

There is no place allowed, it seems, to breathe; to rest; to grow; to make mistakes, learn, and recalibrate; to be. The sector, as a number of leaders describe in this edition, is perpetrating death by a thousand cuts.

Black women in particular have always predominated in the sector—and Black women in leadership are exactly what this sector needs and should be thankful for. It makes beautiful sense, this emergent leadership. And the speedy exit, which, make no mistake, will happen if things continue as they are, will also make sense—in this case, tragic. The tragedy, though, is the sector’s. Black women know how to say no—and tragedy is simply not something we will be taking on for anybody or anything. Joy and wellbeing and empowerment for all? Certainly. But apparently, the world isn’t ready for that.

Black women leaders are being harassed, forced out, made severely ill, and are even dying. As Dr. Shauna Knox demands within: “Stop drowning us, and stop making us disappear.”

Is the sector listening?

Having trouble viewing this? Download the full magazine in PDF format here.