Local non-profit organization launches project to change the image of the southeast side of Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – Born and raised in the southeast of the city, Ericka “Kyd Kane” Thompson says this is her home.
“We’re doing great things,” Kane said.
However, the way she thinks of her community doesn’t always match the way others think of her.
The southeast side of Grand Rapids, which is a majority minority, has long been associated with violent crime and other issues of inequality and inequality.
“When you leave a neighborhood and isolate it from the opportunities, quality education and something that so many parts of the city have, you will see more things like crime and poverty… something that’s going to spawn less than optimal things, ”Kane said.
The stigma associated with the region is why The Diatribe recently launched Project 49507.
The diatribe is a local performing arts group and non-profit organization. Its aim is to “empower young people to share their stories, raise awareness of social issues and create change in their communities”.
“This region is speaking out now and talking about the injustices it is facing,” said member G Foster II. “He talks about the scourge he has to face, he talks about the neighborhood’s overestimation. He talks about just wanting to change. “
Starting in late summer, seven artists of color will create large-scale murals on the sides of local buildings.
Designs will be based on feedback from students and community members.
The Diatribe is partnering with local schools to teach its “Write to Correct the Wrong” program, which teaches classes about issues such as housing discrimination and gentrification.
Volunteers will reach out to local neighborhoods for feedback and listening sessions will take place.
According to a press release, the project will run over the next three years. The Garfield Park Neighborhood Association and Black Businesses in the Grand Rapids area have helped the Diatribe bring together more than 100 Black and Brown community stakeholders, ranging from business owners to pastors.
“I believe these murals are a chance to change that narrative and to tell about these successes and ideas for success,” said G Foster II.
The hope is to create a multicultural arts district that changes the landscape of where they live.
“What we get to do with Project 49507 is try to change the trajectory towards what I know has been there from the start – peace, love and what we want is more than fairness and respect – in a neighborhood where people are doing their best. to thrive despite adversity, ”Kane said.
Volunteers are needed to help with prospecting efforts. To get involved, email Angela Cluley at [email protected] or call (989) 824-6926.
To learn more about the 49507 project or to make a donation, click on here.