January 17, 2022

Monday, January 17, 2022

National Day of Racial Healing

Tuesday, January 18 is the National Day of Racial Healing (NDORH). Communities across the state and the U.S. will come together for essential and timely conversations on racial healing, equity and justice for the sixth annual NDORH.

The annual day of recognition is part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s (WKKF) Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) effort, a national, community-based process of transformative, sustainable change, addressing the historic and contemporary effects of racism.

WKKF will host a national livestream event tomorrow afternoon and has provided an action kit to support philanthropy and various community groups and local leaders interested in holding conversations on racial healing. Sites across Michigan will also host their own NDORH events. Michigan is home to four of the 14 TRHT collaborations in the country. The sites in Battle Creek, Flint, Kalamazoo and Lansing have been working deeply in TRHT efforts, supported by CMF with funding from WKKF.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued a proclamation recognizing the National Day of Racial Healing in Michigan.

How you can get involved:

Metro Lansing: TRHT Metro Lansing is hosting a celebration to highlight and invite community members into racial equity work in the community and the role of healing. Learn more. 

Battle Creek: The Battle Creek Coalition for TRHT is hosting several events in partnership with area organizations and community members in the coming days. The city of Battle Creek will issue its sixth proclamation to recognize the National Day of Racial Healing 2022, urging residents to promote racial healing and transformation and supporting ongoing community activities to build an equitable and just Battle Creek. Learn more.

Detroit: In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Wayne State University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Office of Multicultural Student Engagement and Wayne Law’s Detroit Equity Action Lab are collaborating to host a series of virtual National Day of Healing from Racism events, with a focus on self-care to recover from trauma caused by racism. Learn more.

Kalamazoo: TRHT Kalamazoo is hosting a livestream featuring community voices and local youth artists to celebrate the experiences, wisdom and joy of people across generations who strive to create communities where people are welcome and valued without exception. Learn more.

CMF staff will once again engage in the NDORH by joining one of the livestream events and participating in an internal facilitated conversation focusing on the role of philanthropy in addressing racism and racial equity.

Want more?

View the full list of Michigan NDORH events. 

WKKF provides an action kit to help guide your own conversations on racial healing.

Learn more about TRHT.






Healing is Necessary for Hope to Persist

By Rosemary Linares, Co-Coordinator for the Battle Creek Coalition for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation  

As a country, we continue to face the daunting challenge and opportunity to dismantle systemic racism and white supremacy. As a result of COVID-19 and intersecting forms of oppression, historically marginalized communities are continuing to experience compounded, negative effects from this dual public health and economic crisis. The planet and all of its people will continue to feel the reverberating effects of this global pandemic for years to come.

In this country, activists have organized for generations to dismantle oppressive systems that result in disparate outcomes based on race, gender identity, sexual orientation, class, disability, and other lines of difference regarding education, health, housing, economic opportunity, the law and civic engagement. 

Right now, we are witnessing social change in action through mobilization, protest, resistance, rebellion, uprising and resilience. This reminds us that hope can coexist with suffering and grief, and that healing is necessary for hope to persist.

A friend and comrade recently asked, “how can we heal when we continue to be retraumatized?” Reflecting on this question, I believe that racial healing is an iterative individual and collective process, not an outcome. Racial healing activities aim to honor our common humanity across the social constructs of race and ethnicity, while deepening our relationships with each other and ourselves. 

The framework for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) was developed by leaders in the field of racial equity and justice. I admire and respect those who designed the framework, acknowledging that it is grounded in generations of anti-racist, decolonizing, truth and reconciliation theory and action. Healing circles date back thousands of years to Native practices in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Our modern application of racial healing circles forms a foundational tenet of the TRHT framework. 

In my role as co-coordinator for the Battle Creek Coalition for TRHT for the past four years, I have worked collaboratively with others to support the implementation of the TRHT framework in the community, I also became a racial healing practitioner, helping ensure that racial healing circles are confidential, safe spaces for participants to have truthful conversations with one another. 

Our coalition’s long-term goal is to be a catalyst for a racial equity movement in which all can flourish. I have been blessed to work alongside so many committed and passionate community members who are fervently taking action to bring this vision to fruition.

Beyond the duties required of me in this role, I have experienced a calling from a higher power to use my skills and expertise to facilitate social change and healing processes throughout my life. 

My involvement in TRHT has made this personal, spiritual and professional calling abundantly clear to me. While immersed in this work, I have experienced so many new meaningful friendships and connections. These individuals have made an indelible impression on my life story, and I am humbled by this opportunity to meet peers who share this calling as their life’s work. 

When we share personal stories about our journeys in this racialized society, it is with empathy and compassion that we learn how much more connected we are than we are disconnected. Only through deeper connection will we bridge this highly polarized culture in which we are currently surviving. Cultivating this authentic connection requires vulnerability and bold risk taking, which I have witnessed countless times in Battle Creek. Bearing witness to these powerful examples of transformation, I continually come away feeling inspired.

A culminating racial healing project in 2021 for our local TRHT coalition was the creation of a compilation of personal testimonies from Battle Creek community members. How We Heal: An Anthology of Personal Testimonies about Racial Healing in Battle Creek will be available in early 2022. Readers of this book will recognize their own experiences in the authors’ stories, along with divergent perspectives that illustrate how complex and beautiful the human experience is. 

For this year’s National Day of Racial Healing, I find myself in deep reflection. I invite all readers of this blog to consider the following questions that we also highlight in our book:  

1.    Think about how you engage in practices to nurture your own racial healing. What practices are central in how you engage in racial healing that you want to continue doing? What new practices do you want to start doing to foster racial healing for yourself?

2.    Identify your role in bringing about the transformation that will lead to our collective racial healing. What do you need to change in your own behaviors and patterns in order to support our collective racial healing?

Rosemary Linares serves as co-coordinator for the Battle Creek Coalition for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT). Battle Creek TRHT is one of four Michigan sites including Flint, Kalamazoo and Lansing. These sites have been working deeply in TRHT efforts for several years, supported by CMF with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. CMF serves as the coordinator of the Michigan TRHT initiative and facilitates the TRHT Michigan Advisory Council, which identifies priorities for the Michigan sites to collaborate effectively and implement state-wide strategies.

Want more?

Learn more about How We Heal: An Anthology of Personal Testimonies about Racial Healing in Battle Creek.

Learn more about Battle Creek Coalition for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation.






Grand Rapids Community Foundation Celebrates 100 Years of Service and Impact in West Michigan

Content excerpted and adapted from a Grand Rapids Community Foundation press release.

Grand Rapids Community Foundation (GRCF) has kicked off recognition and celebration of its 100th anniversary, marking the beginning of a new century of service and impact. Since 1922, the community foundation has granted more than $244 million in grants and $21 million in scholarships to benefit Kent County residents. 

With support from partners who give time, expertise and financial contributions, the community foundation is pursuing its mission—to build and manage our community’s permanent endowment and lead the community to strengthen the lives of its people. Thousands of people have contributed to this mission as donor, nonprofit, volunteer and community partners. 

“We couldn’t have imagined that a global pandemic and racial reckoning would influence our centennial year,” Diana Sieger, president of GRCF said. “But—with our eyes on the future—we continue our work, reflecting on our history and all we’ve learned over the last century. The time is now to build upon our strengths and lean further into our role as stewards of change in our community.” 

Over its century of service, the community foundation has adapted its operations, approaches and philanthropic strategies. Originally established for the betterment of Grand Rapids, the foundation expanded its scope to encompass all of Kent County in the 1930s. Throughout its history, the community foundation has partnered with donors, nonprofits and community leaders to champion social justice and issues like HIV/AIDS, child abuse and neglect, affordable housing and equitable access to education. 

“The community foundation’s trustees and staff are grateful to the donors, volunteers, nonprofits, partners and all in our community who have given of their time, financial resources and thought partnership to our mission. The work of generations of champions has made the community foundation’s century of community impact and bold change possible,” Kyle Caldwell, board chair and president & CEO of CMF said. 

Throughout the year, the community foundation, the first in Michigan, will invite community members to share their aspirations for the future of Kent County. The stories and perspectives shared will inform the organization’s next century of service and impact. 

Highlights from GRCF’s previous fiscal year include:

• Total grants and scholarships of nearly $19 million. 

• Twenty-seven new funds were established to address our community's current and future needs. The community foundation manages more than 800 funds created by people to do good in our community forever. 

• Grand Rapids Community Foundation was a founding investor in a woman-owned index fund, opening the door for other institutional investors to participate. 

CMF will celebrate you – our community of philanthropy – as we kick off our 50th anniversary celebration at Annual Conference taking place in Grand Rapids November 14-16. We look forward to honoring the local community and GRCF’s major milestone.

Want more?

Learn more about GRCF’s centennial. 


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