The Rapidian

Amid post-election tension, Race Together to celebrate equity

On Thursday, December 8, Partners for a Racism-Free Community will host their annual Race Together fundraiser at CityFlats Ballroom. The evening will include cocktails, music by Vox Vidorra, and a celebration of the diversity of West Michigan.
The 2015 Race Together "celebrated collaboration, inspiration, and hope."

The 2015 Race Together "celebrated collaboration, inspiration, and hope." /Mojet Photography

Underwriting support from:

Race Together Fundraiser

For Partners for a Racism-Free Community

  • Thursday, December 8
  • 6:00 to 10:00 pm
  • CityFlats Ballroom, 83 Monroe Center NW
  • Parking at Monroe Center Parking Ramp (Louis and Ionia)
  • Music by Vox Vidorra
  • DJ SuperDre
  • Artist J.A. Medcalf
  • Cocktails and Conversation
  • Tickets range from $40 to $100


The crowd laughs at last year's Race Together fundraiser

The crowd laughs at last year's Race Together fundraiser /Mojet Photography

The 2016 Race Together fundraiser features Vox Viddora, a local indie-soul band

The 2016 Race Together fundraiser features Vox Viddora, a local indie-soul band /Courtesy of Vox Viddora

In these post-election days of increased harassment for members of marginalized communities, Partners for a Racism-Free Community (PRFC) is hosting a celebration of the racial, ethnic and religious diversity of West Michigan. Anyone who wants to meet and mingle with those working for racial justice can attend the Race Together fundraiser, this Thursday night at the CityFlats Ballroom on Monroe Center. The money raised will benefit the anti-racism work of PRFC.

“The fundraiser is first and foremost a celebration of people," said Breannah Alexander, Director of Strategic Programs at PRFC. "We center artists of color through this event, [creating] a vehicle for us to reflect on how art influences society.”

The evening will feature the indie-soul band Vox Vidorra, the mixes of DJ SuperDre, and the thought-provoking art of Grand Rapids native J.A. Medcalf, who now works out of Chicago.  

Last year, nearly 200 supporters gathered to enjoy the Race Together event, according to the website, which added, “It was a night where everything we love about this community was celebrated: collaboration, inspiration and hope.” About this year's event, Alexander said, “The diversity of the room is a reflection of what the community has and where people can start to address issues. Anyone who has interest in supporting racial equity work in Grand Rapids should attend.”

“Our work centers on educating communities on race and racism,” continued Alexander. “We address systemic racism by working with organizations to change policy and adjust norms.” Currently “we are funded by grants, fees for service and individual donors. All proceeds for this event will support the community-based work that PRFC does.” 

One example of PRFC’s community offerings are the #RacismInGR Conversations, in which community members can safely and openly discuss their own experience with racism and bias in the Grand Rapids area. #RacismInGR conversations are free and open to the public. For those who can’t attend the fundraiser but believe in the importance of such anti-racism work, donations can be made at the PRFC website.

The work of dismantling institutional racism requires long term changes at all levels, and not just during the current post-election season of increased harassment for members of marginalized communities. (Such incidents should be reported to the Grand Rapids Community Relations Committee at [email protected], say city officials.)

In fact, PRFC has been around since the 1990s when the former Grand Rapids Area Center for Ecumenism recognized the need to go beyond diversity and inclusion into explicit and full-time anti-racism work.  

Partners does anti-racism work with organizations such as Cascade Engineering, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, and the YWCA, according to their website. Using the ICARE tool, PRFC can assess an organizations’ leadership, policies, and business relationships. This process identifies policies and practices that present a barrier to those of marginalized communities, whether as employees or clients. The barriers can be addressed through the feedback and accreditation process. PRFC also offers tools for developing intercultural competence for individuals and within organizations.

Alexander concluded that at Race Together, people can "expect to see folks who volunteer with us, those who do racial justice work in the community, and community supporters-at-large of all racial, ethnic and religious identities." Tickets are available on the PRFC website.

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