Community Foundation Responds to Racism at Local High Schools
By: David Mengebier, President and CEO
At the Community Foundation, we envision a region that is healthy, resilient, and thriving for all people. But for this vision to be truly realized, people across Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, and Leelanau Counties—regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, age, or health and ability status—must have equitable access to the resources they need to reach their full potential and feel safe, included, and valued as members of our community.
The recent racist and discriminatory acts perpetrated by local high school students against their peers runs completely counter to these goals. It is a significant and painful step backward in our community’s collective efforts to promote a more tolerant, inclusive and equitable society. These hateful acts dehumanize and traumatize our BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and Jewish students and families, and tear at the fabric of our culture.
Nor are these isolated incidents to be waved off as some anomaly or aberration. Our region and communities across the country have all too often witnessed similar hateful acts of racism and discrimination. These are learned behaviors that can be passed down through generations and become embedded deeply in our culture. As a community, it is our job—individually and collectively—to be open to learning, to understand our own implicit biases, and to redress behaviors, policies, practices and laws that perpetuate racism and intolerance.
As a steward of local community assets, the Community Foundation is indebted to our community and we have a responsibility to use our leadership, resources, and voice to build toward a better future for the people of our region. We call on others to join us on this journey. To deepen your engagement with anti-racism, resources are available from Northern Michigan E3, Title Track, We the People, Native Justice Coalition, and Justice and Peace Advocacy Center.
Photo credit: Aaron Burden / Unsplash
[Image description: A partial lake view nearing sunset with fluffy, tall green trees boarding the parameter and a wooden dock extending into it.]