Transforming our community into a place of liberation takes heart change. Learning from one another through the stories we tell inspires that change. Recognizing our shared history of racial inequity can unite us in reforming the systems that maintain it. By engaging in this work together, we have an opportunity to share our truths, invest in collective healing and establish stronger connections that will further unite us.
Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation Kalamazoo (TRHT) is a powerful framework for advancing justice. It is our community’s only permanent endowment for sustaining efforts to dismantle racial inequities.
In 2022, TRHT initiated the kinds of conversations that move us toward progress. By training racial healing practitioners and hosting Racial Healing Circles, TRHT creates spaces for community members to be vulnerable. “Our goal is to be an active listener, a deeper listener,” said Emily Olivares, TRHT Director of Initiatives for Racial Healing. “We want to listen to understand, not to respond.” This approach to listening aligns the mind and heart, empowering us to work intergenerationally and interracially to create change that lasts.
“We are grounding our roots, and we are here to stay,” Olivares added.
On the National Day of Racial Healing, TRHT
held a celebration themed Our Joy Matters:
Healing Across Generations. Community
members gathered at the Kalamazoo State
Theatre to honor the wisdom of those who
create communities where all are welcome. The
event highlighted many community voices and
showcased the work of youth artists.
“Our goal is to be an active listener, a deeper listener. We want to listen to understand, not to respond.”
- Emily Olivares, TRHT Director of Initiatives for Racial Healing, KZCF
The TRHT framework guides the work of KZCF through community-led collaboration. The partners who make up KZCF’s design teams come from all sectors of the community and work together toward actionable change in areas such as housing, poverty, education and law. Their learning from one another informs KZCF’s initiatives and direction in public policy.
“A community foundation can be the heart of the community, but it also has a lot of power,” said Frances Vicioso, Initiatives & Public Policy officer and liaison to TRHT’s education and housing design. “TRHT helps us to leverage that power in support of other people and invite others to share that power.”
Through heart change, narrative change and building deep, authentic relationships, TRHT provides a methodology for using power for the good of all. Beth Berglin, Initiatives & Public Policy officer and liaison to TRHT’s law design team, said of TRHT’s empowering force, “It’s the way to change hearts and it’s the way to change systems.”
To read all of the stories from our 2022 Annual Report, click here.