From Charlottesville to Grand Rapids

A Statement from Partners for a Racism-Free Community on Charlottesville:

“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Those words by insightful author and civil rights activist James Baldwin captures the race based death and destruction highlighted in Charlottesville, VA this week. Unfortunately, Charlottesville is just one more recent example of the racial bigotry, anti-semitism and white supremacy we continually witness infecting people and systems within the United States.

Until we as a nation seriously face and address the terrorism that is racism, we will continue to see people die physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and economically. We will never escape the consequences of racial inequities if those who espouse bigotry and white supremacy are not held accountable for their learned behavior.

In Grand Rapids over the weekend we saw white supremacists intimidating protestors at Rosa Parks Circle and just yesterday we saw the flying of an American flag defaced with the image of a swastika over I-196 – the issues that culminated into the deadly events of Charlottesville are the issues this nation will need to actively address.

Partners for a Racism Free Community (PRFC) exists to engage our community in eliminating racialized outcomes and disparities. We believe that we can come together within our communities; face the challenges of racism and craft solutions that will move us toward real equity. We stand committed to continuing to create spaces for thoughtful exchange and learning around racial equity and encourage you to join us in doing the individual work and this systems change that is required to ensure a better future for our communities.

Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of Heather Heyer, the woman killed by the domestic act of terrorism in Charlottesville this past weekend and all those injured during this horrific act of violence. Our country is in a defining moment – we must choose to fight for equity and justice for this country to live up to the promise of freedom that we have worked so hard to inclusively redefine.

For more information on Partners for a Racism-Free Community, please visit our website at

Faye Richardson-Green
Interim Executive Director
Partners for a Racism Free Community