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A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Partners to host community conversation on racism

Partners for a Racism Free Community

Partners for a Racism Free Community will host the first of four community talks on Racism in Grand R

apids tonight. 

“We simply pose one question, which is ‘what does racism look like in Grand Rapids,’ and we give the community the microphone.”

That’s Breannah Alexander, with Partners for a Racism Free Community, they are inviting anyone in the community who wants to engage that very question for an open discussion at the Inner City Christian Federation on Cherry Street at 5:30 pm.

“An example that came out of a conversation we had last year, where you had a parent who talked about the experience of his six-year-old. And having a teacher color over a picture of herself because the teacher didn’t think she was using a crayon that was dark enough for her hair.”

So, what’s the objective?

“In our mind, success is people meeting neighbors that they’ve never met before or speaking to neighbors about real-time issues that affect their own, personal life experience in Grand Rapids.”

Because the conversation is community driven, Alexander says, each person that shows up matters to the discussion the group has as a whole.

“Last year we had over 300 community members participate over the four discussions, and each conversation looked differently, because the way the conversation is framed its 100% driven by the makeup of the audience.”

Tonight’s conversation is free, and open to the public. 

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
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