Mutually Inclusive

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.

Mariano Avila / WGVU

The nation’s foremost academic on urban gentrification gave a talk at GVSU yesterday. Lance Freeman literally wrote the book most urban planners reference regarding gentrification.

“Gentrification is typically defined as when a neighborhood that has experienced divestment, property decline, depopulation, experiences an influx of more affluent residents and investment.”

Sounds great, right? Except when the net outcome is that original residents can’t afford to live in their own neighborhoods. But even if they can:

Mariano Avila / WGVU

There was basically one central message at the second Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit. Here’s Mayor Rosalynn Bliss with the most concise version:

“So your voice matters, I think that’s the big message today. Your voice matters. We want you to have an opportunity to give input on what we need to do to move forward.”

Mariano Avila / WGVU

LINC Community Revitalization posted a press release accusing Rockford Construction of using their name to further development plans in Southeast Grand Rapids. 

“The plans that we came across, they had indicated that there was initial conversations with some organizations, a list of other organizations that they intended to converse with. LINC’s name was listed as an organization that they had initial conversations with. But we really have not met with Rockford staff about anything within these plans.”

Lutheran Social Services

The interfaith community in Grand Rapids is putting on an event to encourage a welcoming environment for refugees moving to the city. 

Do unto others. That’s the title and message behind tonight’s event at the Catholic Information Center aimed at helping Grand Rapids be a more welcoming place for refugees. Katie Gordon is with the Kaufman Interfaith Institute and is one of the organizers.

Mariano Avila / WGVU

Democratic Front runner Hillary Clinton made two stops in Grand Rapids today. Atomic Object is a software boutique on the Wealthy Street corridor and it was there that the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held a round table discussion with company employees. 

“I came here in part because I really want to hear from all of you and your ideas about what we need to do to create the good jobs, the good opportunities of the future.”

Mariano Avila / WGVU

Grand Valley State University’s Johnson Center released the results of the VoiceGR 2015 Survey. Jodi Petersen is the interim director of community research at the Johnson Center, she led a team in surveying about 5,000 Grand Rapids residents, asking them to grade the city as a place to live.

“85% of people said they’d give the city an A or a B as a place to live. So, people overall still are really happy with where they live, but as you break that down you see, again, different experiences.”

Mariano Avila / WGVU

It’s about lunch time in down town Grand Rapids. Beneath the Rosa Parks monument, about 20 people, all white, quietly hold up signs that read Black Lives Matter. The person behind the demonstration is Reverend Colleen Squires from All Souls Church.

“I think the role for us is to educate within our own circles and to advocate and be willing to not be silent within our white circles as well as when we are in the greater population.”

Squires says that given the political climate in the country, this conversation is an important one for her white congregants to engage in.