As the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Michigan sites completed their fifth and final grant year, we’re taking an inside look at the processes and implementations of each Michigan TRHT site, lessons learned, how they supported communities and built relationships, and how this work will continue. This week we are featuring Battle Creek TRHT.
CMF is the statewide convener supporting the four Michigan sites in Battle Creek, Flint, Lansing and Kalamazoo. The initiative is led by The W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Over the past five years, the Battle Creek site has experienced many successes to celebrate in community. One that is particularly unique: a published book developed to create engagement opportunities at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The book, How We Heal: An anthology of personal testimonies about racial healing in Battle Creek, gathers personal stories of racial healing from Battle Creek community members.
The Battle Creek site leaders asked stakeholders to submit stories via social media and conducted a series of interviews. Stories were then edited through a collaborative, consent-driven process in which transcripts and edited stories were returned to the storytellers for approval prior to publication.
The book – available to order from the Battle Creek TRHT website – saw success not only within the community but beyond. Because of that engagement and interest, Battle Creek TRHT is considering the development of a second book with a more specific focus on sharing stories from youth or from people of particular racial identities.
Another major local win has been launch of a new focus area, health equity.
Battle Creek’s new health equity focus area led to the site holding a health equity expo to convene stakeholders and inform their strategies.
According to the TRHT Five Year Evaluation report, several health service providers involved in the expo began working with TRHT to center racial equity in their policies and practices.
Battle Creek TRHT also deepened its policy work, engaging with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) to support incorporating a racial equity lens into the promotion and operation of the COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) grant program.
The CERA program, developed to support housing needs, was originally a difficult and complex application process for the populations it was to designed to benefit.
According to the report, with TRHT’s help, MSHDA subcontracted with the Urban League of Battle Creek and Voces, a Battle Creek nonprofit serving the Latino/a/x community, to provide on-the-ground staff to support individuals interested in applying.
Other key highlights of the site’s work over the last five years include:
- Accelerating its racial healing work and graduating a new cohort of 16 racial healing practitioners in the last year.
- Increasing Indigenous representation; a tribal council chair joined the site and has since become a racial healing practitioner.
While the five-year grant implementation of TRHT has ended, all sites will continue this work in various ways.
Learn more about Battle Creek TRHT.
Learn more about TRHT.