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Taking a Stand Against Racism

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Local Stand Against Racism Events

  • Arena District will organize different businesses to participate and wear the shirts and buttons to increase awareness of Stand Against Racism. Arena District will also ask that businesses downtown give freebies and or discounts to those that come in and say “I STAND.”
  • Literary Life will have a display of books for sale in honor of Stand Against Racism along with Stand Against Racism bookmarks and buttons.
  • Grand Rapids Community Foundation will host a book discussion for their staff on The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.
  • West Michigan Strategic Alliance will be showing the movie Traces of the Trade- A Story from the Deep North, a documentary where executive director Katrina Brown shares her discovery of her slave-trading ancestors. The West Michigan Strategic Alliance will host a private viewing but also offer the movie to be shown throughout the area.

On April 29, 2011, organizations in Grand Rapids will join communities across the country in taking a Stand Against Racism.
Stand Against Racism is a nationwide event coordinated by the YWCA that encourages communities to help raise awareness that racism still exists today. Stand Against Racism began as a program of the Trenton and Princeton YWCA's when they realized the simplicity of their idea could be used as a turn-key program to raise awareness all over the United States. They created all materials and toolkits and now YWCA's pay a fee to be the host for their community, allowing participating organizations access to all of the materials (logos, press releases, pledge sheets, bookmarks, stickers, buttons) free of charge.
2010 was the inaugural year for Stand Against Racism in Grand Rapids. Partnered with the City of Grand Rapids and the Chamber of Commerce, the YWCA West Central Michigan organized their own Stand Against Racism while providing support for 24 local groups and organizations who hosted the event. Participating sites across the country hold a Stand, planning anything from a public march to a simple moment of silence at work. Last year, the YWCA hosted a public Stand that included skits performed by Act on Racism, a student group at Grand Valley State University. With the theme “Racism Hurts Everyone”, the YWCA asked attendees “How has racism hurt you?” and displayed answers in a clothesline project.
“Stand Against Racism can make a really great community impact by a lot of different places doing a little something,” said Suzanne Katerberg, Office Coordinator at YWCA West Central Michigan. Schools, churches, several departments at GVSU and other local organizations participated last year in a variety of ways. Calvin College hosted information tables and many other Stands offered pledge cards for participants to sign.
With two months until the 2011 Stand, there are already more than a dozen organizations committed to participate. The YWCA will partner again with the City of Grand Rapids and hopes to increase participation throughout the community. For those interested in participating and wondering what their "Stand" should consist of, Katerberg suggests to “do what makes sense for your particular organization.” She explains if you work for a large corporation you could plan a breakfast meeting or devote your lunch hour to Stand Against Racism or if you work for a retail business you may want to wear t-shirts for the day just to help spread awareness. “The great thing about this is that we can raise awareness on multiple, different levels,” Katerberg said.
Businesses or organizations that would like to be a participating site in the 2011 Stand Against Racism can visit to register. Questions regarding registration or more information on the events planned for April 29 should be directed to Suzanne Katerberg at 616.459.7062 ext. 350.

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