Kalamazoo’s Summit on Racism has since 2004 been a unique and important venue to bring the community together for open dialogue regarding race and to create solutions to eradicate racism.
The goals of the 2016 Summit on Racism are:
1. To educate the community on issues of racial inequity.
2. To share testimonials from current activists and organizations.
3. To provide inspiration for self-empowerment.
The Role of the Summit on Racism is to:
- Challenge White Privilege by acknowledging how racism based on mainstream privilege works and to eliminate institutional structures and social practices that thwart equality, equity, and justice for all.
- Focus on Racism by addressing racism in any proposed community solution to a problem
- Promote Cultural Competence by fostering general cultural competence among and between groups, and to replace white privilege with multiculturalism as the dominant paradigm.
- Eliminate Institutional Racism by focusing on changing systems that perpetrate racism.
- Take Direct Action by engaging in action-oriented initiatives via research or study.
Brief History of Kalamazoo’s Summit on Racism:
Kalamazoo’s Summit on Racism was inspired by Grand Rapid’s first Summit on Racism, organized by the Racism Justice Institute of Grand Rapids Area Center Ecumenism and held on April 16, 1999.
The City of Kalamazoo, the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, and the YWCA of Kalamazoo collaborated to produce the first leadership conferences on January 30 and June 7, 2004, in preparation for Kalamazoo’s first Summit on Racism, held on September 30, 2004. This summit brought together over 200 community residents and leaders at the Fetzer Center at WMU. Out of these meetings came important outcomes, including an organizational structure promoting collaboration for action around four key areas: Education, Employment, Housing, and Health. In 2013 SHARE took on the planning of the Summit, with the purpose of building on the legacy of the previous summits.