A full class of twenty individuals participated in this eight-week Institute for Racial Healing is provided by the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance which ran Tuesdays from 3:00-5:00pm from February 22 to April 12. The venue was graciously provided by Grand Valley State University Meijer Campus.
"I enjoyed the ability to voice my thoughts about the reality of this community. My feelings and experiences."
"The Institute helped me to see some of the things I was doing unintentionally and change them."
"Racism is a bigger issue than most people realize."
"The Institute motivated me to push wider, deeper, further with race relations."
"I learned about aversive racism and how that plays out in individuals and institutions."
"At the Institute, I was able to ask and hear from people of color about their experiences."
"Racism happens every single day and takes many forms. I hope to listen to others with more understanding."
"This experience has helped me to put some of my frustrations and feelings into words."
"Hearing real life experiences from others helped me begin to understand."
"I realized there is a lot of local pain in the community that I have not personally seen or felt."
"I now understand the importance of white people challenging racism."
"The Institute has given me new ideas on how to education my coworkers and students."
"I realized we need discussions like this to help people work through racism."
"The personal testimonies of others in the class was very powerful."
Participant Action Plans
I pledge to join together with different people of color to learn each others histories, experiences, and cultures.
I pledge to write the book I should have three years ago.
I pledge to broaden my children's education by exposing them to cultures outside of our own.
I pledge to step up and confront those who say inappropriate racial comments and jokes.
I pledge to train coworkers to interpret racism.
I pledge to follow up with those in this class. To provide support and resources and to invite more into the group.
I pledge to help make school a comfortable environment for ALL students.
I pledge to participate in the summer volunteer programs that the Diversity Alliances offers with my own children.
I pledge to develop a meaningful relationship with a person of color.
I pledge to be step up and confront racism and be assertive even when it may feel scary or uncomfortable.
I pledge to lead by example and speak out against racism.
I pledge to be pushed outside my comfort zone.
I pledge to educate myself about my culture and others. I refuse to be ignorant. I want to have the knowledge to help others.
I pledge to be real and be myself, thus creating positive images for all people to see.
I pledge to resist assimilation and promote authentic culture.
I pledge to take a more active role in how issues of diversity are handled in my workplace and community.
I pledge to allow others to speak - especially in anger. Then, with their help, find solutions or take steps for improvement.
I pledge to take part in groups with greater diversity, socially and professionally.