A program fighting systemic racism in Kalamazoo now has a million-dollar endowment. The Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation project is working in several areas. Kalamazoo Community Foundation CEO Carrie Pickett-Erway says they include discrimination in housing.
"The ability for a community group to look at the policies, the laws, the ordinances that are place that create inequality and disparities, and then make recommendations so that those policies change so that the policies work for all of our residents, that's the kind of systemic change the TRHT is looking at."
Pickett-Erway says another area of focus is improving the training of law enforcement officers.
"As police officers are coming into the field, they're being trained with an anti-bias, anti-racism lens so that as they are policing our community they can do that in a way that removes barriers for people of color."
The national Truth, Racial Justice, and Transformation initiative was launched by the Battle Creek-based Kellogg Foundation. It has given large grants for the programs in Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, Lansing, and Flint. Other grants for the Kalamazoo project have come from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and the Stryker Johnston Foundation. And Pickett-Erway says fundraising continues.
"Eliminating racism is a huge, long term effort, and we know that we're going to need more resources than just what can come from that fund, so we intend to grow that for the support of that work long-term."
Pickett-Erway says people in the Kalamazoo area will be asked to help by making individual contributions.