Neighborhood Leadership Academy Grand Rapids & A Starter List for Learning About Racial Equity

Earlier this year I had the opportunity to co-facilitate the first workshop of the Neighborhood Leadership Academy, an 8-week initiative created in partnership with Stacy Stout: Assistant to The City Manager, Neighborhood Associations, The Division of Inclusion and Equity at GVSU, including my unit: Social Justice Education, and The Johnson Center for Philanthropy.

The main focus of the first session was racial equity and resident empowerment. Other topics include but are not limited to:

–Effective Meetings and Conflict Management

–Collaborations and Facilitative Leadership

–Narrative Change and Communication Strategies

–Fund Development and Financial Sustainability

–Volunteer Management and Succession Planning

Although the participants will learn about a variety of topics in regards to running their neighborhood association, our first session played an important role in setting the tone for the future sessions as a racial equity lens will remain present throughout. One of the key resources that cohort participants will continue to utilize in their work is the Racial Equity Toolkit; a resource from the Local and Regional Government Alliance on Race & Equity (GARE).

At the end of the session, Stacy and I compiled a list of resources that we shared with the participants. I’m re-sharing them here.

A Starter List for Ongoing Racial Equity Learning

A Glossary for Understanding the Dismantling of Structural Racism

Grand Rapids Specific Resources

Black History Walking Tour of Downtown Grand Rapids

Strike! How the Furniture Workers Strike of 1911 Changed Grand Rapids

African Americans in The Furniture City: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Grand Rapids

A City Within A City: The Black Freedom Struggle In Grand Rapids, MI

Oppression and Workplace Culture

Five Faces of Oppression

White Supremacy Culture and Antidotes

White Supremacy Culture and Something Different

Targeted Universalism

Targeted Universalism

Structural Racism

Disturbing History of the Suburbs Video

Structural Racism and Community Building

White Privilege

White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack

Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person

Multi-Topic Resources

Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society: Youtube Channel, Organizational website.

Policy Link

Local Organizations, Groups

Urban Core Collective

Partners for a Racism Free Community

Equity PAC

Greater Grand Rapids Racial Equity Network (GGRREN)

The Annual Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit


From Aspiring Humanitarian, Relando Thompkins-Jones


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Relando Thompkins-Jones

I'm a Social Justice Educator and Aspiring Humanitarian who is interested in conflict resolution, improving intergroup relations, and building more equitable and inclusive communities. "Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian" is my blog, where I write about issues of diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice. By exploring social identities through written word, film & video, and other forms of media, I hope to continue to expand and enrich conversations about social issues that face our society, and to find ways to take social action while encouraging others to do so as well in their own ways.

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