Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT): A Reflection on Year One Implementation
With year one of Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) implementation complete in Flint, Kalamazoo, Battle Creek and Lansing, Michigan’s project leaders are taking a step back to reflect on their progress, challenges, opportunities and plans for the next four years.
Designed and launched by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, TRHT is a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism. In June 2017, the Kellogg Foundation committed approximately $24 million in 14 multi-sector collaborations in communities across the U.S. to implement the TRHT process using a framework designed through a multi-faceted engagement process involving 176 leaders and scholars as representatives of more than 144 national TRHT individual and organizational partners.
Michigan represents 4 of the 14 “collaborations” - Battle Creek, Flint, Kalamazoo and Lansing – in addition to CMF itself.
To help objectively evaluate our state’s work, an external evaluation was conducted, outlining the progress made toward the established TRHT goals, challenges and opportunities, observations and future plans.
The project sites reported their progress in six goal areas:
Goal 1: Expand and deepen racial healing and equity work.
Goal 2: Lift truth, challenge current narrative around the hierarchy of human values, and/or change narrative.
Goal 3: Build and/or strengthen structures that support racial healing & transformational work.
Goal 4: Reduce racial disparities.
Goal 5: Create a united community of advocates, practitioners and partners.
Goal 6: Create sustainability in community to continue the work absent funding from WKKF.
Overall, the sites reported being most focused on Goals 3 and 5.
"Each community has customized their workplan in ways that are specific to its local context,” it notes in the report. “The intentionality of progress has varied based on local circumstances in which each TRHT team began their work. They are starting from different places in this journey, leveraging unique resources available and focusing on specific issues that are most urgent for their residents."
The sites have been working within the five TRHT pillars - Narrative Change, Racial Healing, Separation, Law and Economy - to meet several established benchmarks.
One such benchmark is use of a healing circle – a small group coming together to share individual truths, history and stories that "reaffirm the humanity in all of us." Site representatives and a team of CMF staff recently participated in a joint training to become healing circle practitioners so they can lead healing circles in their own communities. The CMF staff leadership team held a healing circle in addition to an all-staff healing circle, and two staff co-facilitated a healing circle with the CMF Board of Trustees. Flint’s design team conducted healing circles in December. Kalamazoo introduced healing circles at a youth summit on racism in March and led circles with their design team in April.
Another TRHT benchmark for year one - community outreach. Some of the completed activities in 2017-18 included a film screening in Lansing, a series of community convenings in Battle Creek, media outreach in Flint and community visioning sessions in Kalamazoo.
As part of working toward the benchmark focused on "progress toward sustainability" the Kalamazoo-TRHT team is partnering with the city and Michigan Department of Civil Rights to deepen their partnerships, connect government entities to the TRHT process and assist the city in adopting a racial equity framework in its internal and external operations. Those efforts are being supported by a $20,000 Government Alliance on Race and Equity grant. The collaboration will include efforts to implement the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) framework.
These are just a few of the nearly 100 activities completed between each of the Michigan sites in 2017-18 alone.
In looking ahead to the summer and fall of 2018, an array of TRHT-focused strategies is planned. For example, Battle Creek will conduct a survey of organizations to measure organizational strengths and opportunities for growth related to diversity, equity and inclusion, a Community Foundation of Greater Flint 30th anniversary dinner will feature speakers addressing issues of racism and in Lansing a summertime program will engage youth, employers, workforce agencies and youth development and mentoring organizations in a strategy focused on closing the economic equity gap. CMF will facilitate healing circles with additional member committees and host a member program on assessing policy from an equity lens.
The teams will also continue to meet and dialogue together around their learning, planning and evaluation efforts. The report cited the teams' collaboration as a strength in year one.
"Throughout the first year, the evaluation team has maintained its commitment to cultural responsiveness, mutual respect and equitable practice."
Michigan will host all project teams from across the country for a July convening in Lansing.
Visit the official TRHT site.
Foundation Support of Summer Learning, Afterschool Programs Benefits Local Communities
Foundations looking to make the case to policymakers about the importance of afterschool and summer learning programs now have new tools showing how the programs can benefit local communities.
The National League of Cities (NLC) released three briefs for city leaders with data points about how summer learning programs can improve public safety, workforce development, and college and career readiness. Thanks to generous support from the C.S. Mott Foundation, philanthropic leaders can use this research to describe challenges their communities face and how afterschool and summer programs can provide solutions.
The first brief on workforce development outlines evidence-based programs in four cities as well as economic benefits for cities investing in afterschool programs.
The brief cites that 92 percent of business executives believe Americans do not have the skills they need to do the jobs of today or tomorrow, and nearly half think Americans lack critical social-emotional skills such as communication, creativity, critical thinking and teamwork. Further, businesses spend more than $164 billion annually on employee education and training to improve workforce skills. As a solution, NLC proposes that high-quality afterschool and summer programs that promote social-emotional and foundational learning skills and engage students in hands-on, technical projects can enhance their work-related skills and in turn strengthen local workforces.
According to Bela Shah Spooner, manager of expanded learning, NLC Institute for Youth, Education and Families, “Developing a prepared, skilled and homegrown workforce attracts business and supports a vibrant and sustainable local economy.”
College and Career Readiness
The second brief on college and career readiness explains how afterschool and summer program participation leads to increased attendance and engagement in school, higher achievement and preparation of graduates who have the skills and knowledge for careers or college options, with six city examples.
In a recent study, NLC found that chronically absent students gained 15 percent fewer literacy skills and 12 percent fewer mathematics skills in first grade than their peers. And, an estimated 5 to 7.5 million U.S. students miss nearly a month of school in the year, increasing dropout rates and achievement gaps.
Afterschool programming may be a key component to turning that around. A meta-analysis of 68 afterschool program studies found that students participating in a high-quality afterschool program exhibited higher rates of school attendance and a 12 percent gain in grades and test scores over non-participants.
The third brief on public safety draws examples from programs in Grand Rapids and four other cities in explaining how afterschool programs “keep children safe, reduce negative behaviors that impact public safety and keep young people on track for a successful adulthood.”
In considering incidents of violence by juveniles, they are five times more likely to occur during the afterschool hours than at night or during school hours. NLC suggests that high quality afterschool programs help to prevent violence and reduce the likelihood that young people will engage in risk-taking or criminal behaviors.
Comprehensive afterschool programs with mentoring and group counseling can decrease violent crime arrests by 44 percent, and vandalism and weapons crime by 36 percent, among youth.
69 percent of police chiefs agree that afterschool programs are the most effective strategies for reducing juvenile crime.
The Grand Rapids Community Foundation provides grants to help increase the ability of under-served Kent County children to access a West Michigan overnight camp. Access Camps is designed to improve access to social and recreational opportunities that attract diverse populations.
Read more about the three NLC briefs.
See NLC’s article on how to implement afterschool and summer learning programs in your city.