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Race and Equity workshop to compile strategic recommendations for City of Grand Rapids

One of the workshops at the Neighborhood Summit next March will seek to bring various community groups together to advice the City on race and equity goals moving forward.
Downtown Grand Rapids

Downtown Grand Rapids /Steve Depolo

Underwriting support from:

Kyle Lim is Co-chair for the Race and Equity Subcommittee for the 2016 Neighborhood Summit.


Recently, Grand Rapids has made a number of top 10 lists. Unfortunately, more than a few have been for its poor record on issues of racial equity. A recent study conducted by the Center for Regional Economic Competitiveness showed that unemployment rates for African Americans in the urban core was a staggering 53%. This past week, we discovered that less than 24% of 3rd graders attending schools in the urban core are proficient in reading and 22% in math. Infant mortality rates for Black and Latino children in Grand Rapids are still significantly higher than the national, state and county averages.

The situation for communities of color in Grand Rapids is dire, and the need for targeted solutions and investments is clear. Local community groups have begun to coalesce around this need, and there seems to be a greater sense of urgency and traction among groups involved in racial equity work. From informal networks to organizational initiatives to collective impact, the community is beginning to respond in a way that acknowledges the need for equitable, color conscious reform.

These efforts, however, need to be organized, strategic and supported by local government. At the 2016 Neighborhood Summit, we plan to host a workshop that provides a collaborative place to begin creating a city-wide racial equity plan. In keeping with last year’s summit, the goal of this workshop is to generate strategic recommendations for the city to further a racial equity agenda.

Our hope is that this workshop will be action oriented and outcome driven, we as a city and as a community simply cannot wait any longer. The workshop will be led by members of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Grand Rapids program team.

The 2016 Neighborhood Summit will be Friday, March 11, 2016 from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. at GRPS Parent University. 

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