BENTON HARBOR, April 3, 2015  Please join the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion and organizers from The Bold & Brave Benton Harbor Coalition and the Greater Benton Harbor Community as they plan to honor the voices of those affected by racial inequity in the Benton Harbor area. The event will take place on April 11, 2015 at the Kindergarten Discovery Center Gym located at 1995 Union Street, Benton Harbor, MI 49022 from 1-4pm. Come and listen as community members share their compelling stories of human issues as we find ways to work together to help solve them. Special appearances will also be made by Tawana “Honeycomb” Petty, an award winning author, poet and organizer as she performs some of her original pieces accompanied by Rich Samartino on guitar. The event is free but space is limited. Community members are asked to RSVP at race2equity.org or by calling 313.870.1500.

“Once you have experienced racism, you never forget what it makes you feel inside. I had my first experience at a very young age and I never forgot it. That is why I have committed my life to working with young people in social justice.” – Emma Kinnard, Fresh Start Children’s Garden

The Community Partners for the Healing Stories Project in Benton Harbor began their journey by attending a retreat in December 2014 around the issues of racial equity facilitated by the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Benton Harbor Team consists of 4 local and regional grassroots organizations: Black Autonomy Network Coalition, Fresh Start Children’s Garden, Black Lives Matter Detroit, and We the People of Detroit. These organizations and their representatives have endeavored to provide support to two young people on the team, while co-creating a platform for the citizens of Benton Harbor to share their stories around issues of racial equity in the areas of: Housing, Water and Criminal Justice.

Steve Spreitzer, CEO of the Michigan Roundtable states “It is paramount that today when we see inequity in data that confirms a wealth gap between whites and African Americans of over 20:1 or disproportionate incarceration rates between white men and African American men as high as 6 times more we take notice and work to affect change in the structures. By telling, sharing and banking stories of those affected by inequity we work to breakdown the systems that perpetuate this inequity and in community suggest new alternatives to addressing these issues.”

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Race2Equity is a community engagement campaign of the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion that explores how our regional history of place-based racism has impacted our regional viability by intentionally segregating people of color from access to resources affecting quality of life and lifetime wealth accumulation.

The Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion has been a not-for-profit human rights organization located in Detroit working to overcome discrimination and racism by crossing racial, religious, ethnic and cultural boundaries. We bring together community leaders from government, law enforcement, education, faith, grass roots organizations and business to understand different points of view and then take action to overcome structural impediments to inclusion and equity. Our programs are recognized by national organizations for bringing about sustainable change. We work to address inequity throughout our region through a process of recognition, reconciliation/reorientation and renewal. We strive to build relationships that create social justice and build sustainable inclusive communities.

Serving as a catalyst for change, we develop, organize, and empower individuals and communities to advance equity and opportunity for all.

Contact: Stacey Stevens, Race2Equity Program Manager
Phone: 313-870-1500 x104
Email: sstevens@miroundtable.org

Benton Harbor Press Release

Download a pdf of this press release here: Benton Harbor Press Release

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