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

PRFC Hiring for Executive Director

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Partners for a Racism-Free Community (PRFC), a Grand Rapids-based organization
dedicated to dismantling racism, is seeking applications for a full-time Executive Director to lead its work to promote racial equity.  We are searching for persons with demonstrated leadership ability who are passionate about the vision and mission of PRFC.

Applicants can submit their resumes via e-mail to:

Hard copies to can be mailed to:

Faye Richardson-Green, Interim Executive Director

Partners for a Racism-Free Community (PRFC)

118 Commerce SW, Suite 200

Grand Rapids, MI 49503


The deadline for submissions is Friday, April 28, 2017.

Download the position description to determine if you should apply.

Forest Hills flag incident is teachable moment for adults: Consider the realities of others before acting

This piece was initially published September 20, 2016 on The Rapidian and written by Director of Strategic Programs, Breannah Alexander.

Growing up, I was never allowed to play with toy guns; this restriction came without explanation or justification. That was the way it was. I was once gifted this really cool wooden rubber band gun – it was placed in the trash. Anything closely resembling a gun was forbidden (thank god Super Soakers and Nerf guns are too ridiculous looking to ever be confused for a real gun). But that was my life growing up; restrictions that never quite made sense but were never questioned because questioning the decision of a parent just wasn’t culturally acceptable. It also wasn’t necessary, because nothing seemed abnormal about those restrictions. Let me rephrase: the restrictions placed on us by our parents were simply things “good parents” did. Age has taught me that those restrictions were things “black parents who don’t want to bury their kids” did.

That was my reality and that is the reality of many Grand Rapids Public Schools students and some Forest Hills students. Read more

Ending racism means elevating voices of color

This piece was originally posted on The Rapidian, Nov. 23, 2015.

At the national stage, we are seeing student activists stand up and speak about the challenges they are facing within the institutions they occupy. The challenges faced by students of color within post secondary institutions was brought to the forefront of national dialogues on race with the resistance of students at the University of Missouri after their concerns regarding instances of racial bias and aggression were not appropriately handled by university administration. Read more

Environmental concerns reflective of racial inequity

This commentary was originally posted on The Rapidian, Jan. 25, 2016

Water is a natural resource that, in the developed world, we often take for granted. On a daily basis, most people in the United States do not question whether or not their drinking water is safe. In Grand Rapids, most people don’t think about tap water so dangerous that its consumption could lead to negative health outcomes and bathing in it a dermatological disaster. Environmental activism exists, in this country, as an idealists’ pursuit, not as an existential emergency. Read more