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Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: Training Up Our Next Civil Rights Leaders

Zakkiyyah Najeebah | Courtesy photo

Charlene Carruthers is leaving nothing to chance to ensure young leaders of color have the tools to compel social change. As founding national director of the five-year-old Black Youth Project 100, called BYP100, she trains 18-to 35-year-old activists. She'll talk about her work on Nov. 2 as the 2018 Kalamazoo Summit on Racism's keynote speaker.

"Strong movements are built through strong leaders," Carruthers tells WMUK's Earlene McMichael on today's WestSouthwest news and public affairs show.

"In the tradition of (the late civil rights organizer) Ella Baker, we invest a lot of our resources in leadership development, so that means training. That means direct support to our members. That means of a lot of meetings, a lot of conversations.

"And that is a big part of our strategy because we are of the belief that no single person in our organization knows everything or can do everything, or should do everything because, quite frankly, that leads to high rates of burnout in our movement when people have too much work."

Carruthers describes herself as a writer, community organizer and political strategist. She is the author of "Unapologetic: A Black, Queer And Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements," released last month.

She says BYP100 carries out its social justice mission with a "black, queer, feminist lens," meaning "moving those who have been historically marginalized to the center of our work."

It also believes in utilizing direct action, and strong internal and external strategic communications to achieve results.


The2018 Summit on Racism is on Friday, Nov. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Borgess Medical Center's Lawrence Education Center. It is sponsored by the Society of History and Racial EquityTo register on Eventbrite, click here. There is a fee. Borgess Ascension Health, Bronson Healthcare, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Western Michigan University's Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations, Michigan Department of Civil Rights, WMU's  Multicultural Center, and the YWCA Kalamazoo are event partners. 

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