Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Community Foundation (KZCF) recognize that prioritizing racial healing and pursuing equity continue to be critical to improving relationships and bettering outcomes for every adult and child in our community. A divisive election season during dual pandemics of racism and COVID-19 calls for special attention to honest discourse, civic education, community connection and mental well-being.
It's clear that all of us have urgent work to do to heal from the traumatic history of our country and transform the present-day consequences of that history, no matter who is in the White House, Congress, the State Legislature or elected or appointed at the local level. Throughout this year, it is even more clear how pressing it is to address hate, varying degrees of state-sanctioned violence, and ensure equal rights. American lives and livelihoods are on the line here, especially for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and other historically marginalized groups, and these issues should not be seen as partisan.
It’s unacceptable that voting in this year’s election felt unsafe for many. In a true democracy, voters should not fear for their safety at the polls and we should not have to anticipate violence or retaliation from elected leaders or our fellow community members following a free and fair election. We understand that voter suppression laws -- not the option to vote by mail -- are responsible for disenfranchising Americans seeking to exercise their right to vote.
We also understand that much more is at stake than the results of the presidential election, especially for our community. This fall, we voted for county commissioners, judges, regents, U.S. Senators, state legislators, the Homes For All millage, and more. We also saw many historic firsts as BIPOC women and members of the LGBTQ community won local, state and national elections. For the first time, we have a woman and person of color elected to the office of Vice President of the United States of America. All of these decisions have a huge impact on our daily lives.
This has been an extraordinary year and it will take an extraordinary effort by each one of us to stand against the forces that seek to deepen racial divides and disparities in our community. Both TRHT and KZCF will continue to place equity at the center of our mission and our work in order to reach our vision for a community that is just, healed and where everyone has what they need to thrive.