“A better life for me in Grand Rapids is equity. We reject one another based on where we are from, our skin color and even whether or not we are documented. We all deserve access to the same treatment.”
- Greyci Merida, resident of southwest Grand Rapids.
The city of Grand Rapids is a diverse city, full of colorful traditions, experiences, dynamic and growing communities. To foster a city that is welcoming to all of its’ residents, it is important to highlight the disparities affecting certain communities of Grand Rapids. Not everyone in our city has had the same kind of access to economic opportunities because of the color of their skin, their immigration status, or the language that they speak. In spite of this, residents in our neighborhoods have been working hard to empower one another, collaborate, and demand they deserve. Our community is collaborative, and strong; and this is why the Urban Core Collective exists.
The Urban Core Collective is the embodiment of collaboration in our community. The voice that tells the rest that we will not be quiet and we will gather all up our resource and stand up. UCC is a collaboration of six non-profit organizations located in the urban core of Grand Rapids, an area that is predominantly made up by residents, organizers, leaders and families of color.
Our six organizations are Baxter Community Center, Family Outreach Center, Grand Rapids African American Health Institute, The Grand Rapids Urban League, The Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, and the United Methodist House of Grand Rapids.
Police brutality, access to healthcare and resources, affordable housing, job security, good education and safe neighborhoods are some of the greatest concerns our resident experts have brought forward in a desperate need of being addressed.
“It’s just common sense -- babies shouldn’t have to go without three daily nutritional meals.” -Lorenzo Horshaw, resident consultant from the United Methodist House of Grand Rapids
“It is important for me that youth in our community know that they are capable of going to college. If they don’t think they can make it then they won’t.” -Ricardo Martinez, youth advocate at the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.
“I want our police officers to understand where we are coming from. I want to help them grasp that we are members of this community, of the same community they are trying to protect.” -Aaron Patterson, youth member of the Grand Rapids Urban League.
Structure inequality did not happen over-night, but we can all be part of the solution to make sure all of us have a chance to thrive.
Join us in our efforts to dismantle systemic racism by sharing this post and helping get the word out of our work in the city we all love, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
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.