Lanna Lewis says the problems related to racism won’t be fixed in five years, but Lewis who is Community Investment Officer for the Kalamazoo Community Foundation says a large grant will help in the long run.
The Kalamazoo Community Foundation will receive $865,000 over five years as part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s nationwide Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Framework. Three other cities in Michigan, Battle Creek, Flint and Lansing are also receiving grants from the Kellogg Foundation to work on racial healing.
Lewis says part of the money will go to an endowment that the foundation hopes to match in the community and continue addressing racial equity issues in years to come. She says the foundation will work with different groups in the Kalamazoo community to bring a wide variety of perspectives to the table.
Lewis says “narrative change” is an important part of the initiative. She says that means examining stories that have been told and whose stories haven’t. Lewis says communities of color often feel that their story is told for them instead of by them, and that history is incomplete.
In an age of political polarization, Lewis says it’s important to recognize that racism has been round longer than political parties. She says people need to look at each other’s humanity. Lewis says the framework of the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Engagement is similar to Truth and Reconciliation Commissions which have been successful in other countries, such as South Africa.