Uplifting historically marginalized communities to a place of greater self sufficiency by unifying communities of color in order to reduce the effects of systemic racism.
Grand Rapids families and neighborhoods will maximize their full human potential, thus redefining the narrative associated with living in urban communities.
The objective of the program is to create a pipeline of future professional leaders from communities of color who are service oriented and have the capacity to fulfill leadership positions across sectors. These leaders will be catalysts for impact by seeking racial equity in all areas of community and growing shared leadership in others to support systemic change.
These past months brought a lot of excitement as people debated and voted in (or out) a new class of elected representatives. We saw large voter turnout across the nation and many first time voters: 18-year olds, new U.S. citizens and those who felt compelled to be more involved given our current political climate. But even if you didn’t vote, you’re an important part of what happens next.
In the fall of 2015, I was honored to be chosen as a member the Transformational Leadership Program’s third cohort. TLP was designed to create a pipeline of leaders of color and equip them with “critical skills and knowledge required to fill positions of influence across Grand Rapids to support systematic change and to achieve racial equality.” As part of our graduation requirements, we had to write a final reflection paper answering several questions about our learning and experience with the program. The following blog post was my response to the question, “What has been your most significant area of growth of the course of the program?”
Our community are the experts--here you can find how we are partnering with our residents consultants to address systemic oppression in our communities through education, economic empowerment, leadership development and meaningful relationship building.
"I want to live in a community where everyone has access to education. When people are not able to obtain meaningful employment they turn to risky jobs or illegal activity in the neighborhood."
"A healthy community for me means access to good and healthy food on a regular basis. Kids in our neighborhood shouldn’t have to go hungry."
"Everyone deserves a nice home on a nice street. We should all be able to have guests over to a nice home."
"Addressing the profiling from the police towards black folks forme is important. We deserve a positive police presence too."