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#RacisminGR discussion to come to CRC Office of Race Relations

dThe third of a four part series discussing racism in the Grand Rapids community hosted by Partners for a Racism Free Community will be taking place at the CRC Denominational building on October 20.

/Courtesy of Steven Depolo

For More Information:

For the Facebook event, click here.

To learn more about PRFC, click here.

To learn more about the Office of Race Relations, click here.

On Tuesday, October 20 at 5:30 p.m., the Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Race Relations  will be hosting the third of Partners for a Racism Free Community (PRFC)’s #RacisminGR discussions. Each of them has been held in a different location and is free and open to the public.

Each of the conversations in this series have been held in a different location and time so that it is easier for people with different schedules and in different neighborhoods to attend.

“A lot of people who come to these conversations don’t feel comfortable having these conversations at home,” says the Program Administrator for Partners for a Racism-Free Community (PRFC) Breannah Alexander, about the idea behind the events and locations. “Super neutral spaces don’t really exist…There’s a need for communities to be more intentionally placed in situations where we are we are exploring issues that have racial implications behind them.”

The Office of Race Relations at the Christian Reformed Church has been eager to become a part of this series. Not only does it provide an opportunity to have a conversation around racial issues, but it allows the church to reach into the community.

“For us, we’re trying to be more in the community, to dig into the community. Most of our work is in the CRC building,” says Idella Winfield, the Administrative Assistant to the Director or Race Relations. “A lot of people in Grand Rapids don’t really know what this building is and what we do here, so this is a great connection with the community to come in, not just to talk about the conversation, but to know what we are, what the Christian Reformed Church stands for- give a different vision of who we are as a denomination.”

According to Executive Director of PRFC Lisa Mitchell, the idea for these conversations came about after a series of violent incidents in Grand Rapids a few years ago, but also the shooting in Charleston this year.

“This year there have been a lot of things that have been very upsetting,” says Mitchell. “People want to talk about- how does this affect me?... What’s great about these conversations is that people can tell their own stories. People understand stories more than statistics.”

“In every instance where there’s a racial implication, you have to name it and know the history behind it to functionally change it,” comments Alexander. “It hurts to not be heard, and for a lot of people in this community, they feel like they’re not being heard by their neighbor. They don’t know their neighbor.”

Both the CRC Office of Race Relations and the PRFC are looking forward to an event that will make voices heard and allow attendees to gain new perspectives about their community. Each group hopes to teach those who attend.

“We are a church, but a church about justice,” says Winfield. “We want people to know that there is an arm of justice coming out of this church. We do have a voice, and we do want to talk about justice issues or social issues… We want people to know that we are a loving church and be part of the conversations in the community around justice.”

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