Volunteers needed for an anti-racist project to bring resilience and beauty to the southeast side of Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – An anti-racist project to bring resilience and beauty to the southeastern part of the city is looking for volunteers to help with the work.
The spoken poetry group Diatribe is looking for volunteers to help prepare buildings for the wall work, as well as 15 people to help prospect and conduct household surveys in zip code 49507.
“If community members are wondering how they can support our initiatives, we encourage them to start with small but powerful acts. This opportunity will allow many people to get involved in a concrete way ”, declared Marcel“ Fable ”Price, general manager of the Diatribe.
“Our work to change the perception of the 49507 neighborhood begins with us. Everyone involved in any part of this project will be monumental.
La Diatribe is also a non-profit organization whose programming aims to empower young people and create community change.
Related: Anti-Racism Project to bring large murals to the southeast side of Grand Rapids
Volunteers for neighborhood canvassing will be paid $ 500 after 30 hours of work. Canvassers are recruited and paid through the Garfield Park Neighborhood Association.
Volunteers are also needed to prepare a total of seven buildings for the wall work by cleaning surfaces, getting rid of peeling paint and priming the walls.
Jocelyn Barnes, teacher and communications manager with the Diatribe, said door-to-door canvassers will engage with the 49507 community and hear what liberation and recovery mean to them, as well as the changes that they would like in the city.
“With regard to this project, in particular, we are looking to restore resilience to our city,” said Barnes. “In order to bring resilience, we need to know what the resilience of these community members would look like. “
The company is part of Project 49507, which kicked off earlier this year with the goal of moving the narrative around the 49507 zip code.
“Project 49507 in its entirety aims to bring resilience and beauty back to our city, and particularly to a historically underfunded and overpolished community,” said Barnes.
The southeast side of the city has long been associated with violent crime, and the 49507 zip code, in particular, had more children with high levels of lead in their blood than any other zip code in the state, according to tests carried out in 2015.
Located generally east of US 131 and between Franklin and 28th Street, ZIP code 49507 is also part of the city’s third largest neighborhood, which has the highest concentration of black residents and the lowest amount of investment. public and private in the three districts of the city.
Diatribe officials say the project is by and for people of color and is led by people of color, LGBTQ + members and young people.
The project will see seven buildings across zip code 49507 painted with murals lit by community listening sessions with more than 100 people of color earlier this year.
Barnes said there is currently no timeline for when the murals will begin painting or when they will be unveiled. She said artists are currently drafting what the murals will look like.
“Art, especially art that matters, takes time, so we don’t really have a timeline for when these will be finished,” she said.
Participants in these listening sessions were asked what recovery and release meant to them, and their feedback and how the community felt will be incorporated by the muralists. Some comments included the desire to see love in the community.
“If you see yourself reflected in the world around you, it makes you feel like you have a place there, and that’s what this project is: it’s a great project of creating places to long term, ”Barnes said of the importance of murals. “We are seeking to reclaim what is rightfully owned by the community with this project.”
Project 49507 will run over three years.
The murals will be located on the following buildings and businesses:
- La Casa De La Cobija on 2355 Division Ave. S
- Public wire on 1405 Buchanan Ave. SW
- Boost your mobile at 1221 Madison Ave. SE
- 40-acre head office on 703 Eastern Ave. SW
- The Southeast Market on 1220 Kalamazoo Ave. SE
- Black businesses in the Grand Rapids area on 2012 Eastern Ave. SE
- The Old Goat on 2432 Eastern Ave. SE
Another component of the project is ongoing summer programming for youth in grades 7 to 12. During the weekly program, students in each session will learn poetry and self-expression and have the opportunity to share their stories and be themselves.
While all in-person sessions are full, virtual classes remain open. Virtual classes, which began June 17, run from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. every Thursday through August 19. People can know more at this link: https://thediatribe.org/summer-program/.
“Supporting our young people by giving them new ways of expressing themselves is one of the main goals of our organization,” said Gleason, education director for the Diatribe. “We want to show children and adults healthy ways to express themselves. Art is the best way.
The Diatribe is also partnering with the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan to teach students in class once a week for nine weeks about housing discrimination, redlining, gentrification and the impacts of housing. This work with Ottawa Hills High School, 2055 Rosewood Ave. SE, is completed for 2021.
School districts interested in bringing Diatribe programming to their schools can email [email protected]
Joe Biden plans a visit to Traverse City this weekend
Whitmer blames climate change and underfunded infrastructure as she examines flood damage in Detroit
Stolen Boy Scout Trailers Found in Grand Rapids