Healing and Racial Equity across Metro Lansing
Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) is a process to engage the Metro Lansing community in racial healing and equity. Through truth and recognition of history, we work towards equitable policy solutions and foster new ways of relating as human beings.
The TRHT framework was designed by Dr. Gail Christopher and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
We build power of directly impacted communities and allies to advocate for policy and systems transformation for the long-term, particularly focused on the wellbeing of youth. Learn more about how we are working to sustain BIPOC-led racial equity work >>
We fuse organizing elements of Emergent Strategy, Momentum, People’s Assemblies, Collective Impact, and Movement for Black Lives, as well as innovations created locally to support youth organizing and popular education.
Our theory of action is rooted in the community organizing principle of learning by doing. View the theory of action here >>
Our members and working groups are encouraged to challenge assumptions, consider the impact of decisions -- including the voices and perspectives involved in making decisions -- and leverage their power to uphold racial equity.
We Are Lansing
Below is a glimpse into the many moving pieces of TRHT Metro Lansing. TRHT team members come from across identities, backgrounds, interests and sectors, representative of our diverse Lansing community and in relationship with the neighborhoods and systems we seek to transform.
We hold racial healing circles with community members and small groups in alignment with the holistic Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation process and the healing vision of its founder Dr. Gail Christopher. Our team of TRHT racial healing practitioners host these spaces and are in supportive community with one another.
Racial healing circles are designed to focus on stories that affirm our common humanity rather than on solving a problem. They are designed to go much deeper into the heart space by encouraging people to tell their stories, to listen deeply to the stories of others, find common ground and enable us to see our common humanity to help us to see ourselves in the perceived other.
Our deep commitment to racial healing has inspired us to ask: What does racial healing look like to me? What we are learning is that there is not one way to heal. The paths to our healing are expansive and non-linear. We explore the realm of healing practices, from those rooted in justice to those rooted in nature, somatics, and spirituality.
Are you interested in racial healing circles?
Contact us at email@example.com to request more information or join our waiting list.
We meet requests for TRHT racial healing circles in the order we receive them and based on the capacities of the healing practitioners.
We also host circles that are open to individual community members throughout the year. Please visit the TRHT-ML Facebook Event page to check for upcoming opportunities, or email firstname.lastname@example.org to be notified about the next community circles cohort.
Youth & Education
Youth are the life breath and future of our community, and schools are the barometers of community wellbeing. This is why our work is centered around engaging with youth, their families, and the systems they interact with.
We leverage our collective power to advocate for transformation in schools. We also host enriching experiences and opportunities for youth. For example, we hosted a series of concerts in three school districts, geared toward elementary students in partnership with Alphabet Rockers from Oakland, CA and local organization, All of the Above Hip Hop Academy. The music series focused on education, diversity, and a healthy lifestyles. We collaborated with the Intercultural Association of Michigan, Greater Lansing United Nations Assembly to sponsor the PeaceQuest Art Contest for high school students. View the students' powerful art from this exhibition here.
False narrative perpetuate division, competition, scarcity mindsets, and harm. This is why we amplify true and diverse histories, stories, and data so that we can heal and draw closer to one another.
Some of our work to change narratives include transforming school curricula, amplifying Black, Indigenous and People of Color experiences is entertainment, journalism, and media, and spreading voting information to counter voter suppression tactics. Soon after the pandemic reached Lansing, we created a mapping project to track media coverage of COVID-19, promoting awareness of how health conditions and structural racism put Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities at serious risk.
Youth interactions with the criminal justice system is detrimental to their wellbeing and success across their lifespans, and youth of color have these experiences at exponentially higher rates.
In conjunction with youth arrest data, the Law Team is concerned about the racialized practice of policing based upon "hot spots." The team has held neighborhood engagement events to listen to the stories of Black and Brown young people who live in neighborhoods with the highest number of violent crimes reported, which according to the Lansing Police Department, is the key determinant of a hot spot.
The Ingham County Prosecutor committed her office to a Racial Equity Assessment and Action Plan. One Love Global has facilitated lunch and learn sessions with prosecuting attorneys, including content on structural racism, implicit bias, and identifying bias in prosecutorial processes.
Ensuring Black, Indigenous and People of Color are able to enter the workforce, own businesses, and thrive is key to a thriving economy.
We held focus groups with youth returning home from detention centers to ask what they need. They named: 1) Love, 2) Mentoring, and 3) Persistence. We work to center these priorities in our organizing and encourage youth to embrace their creativity and innovative spirits.
We work in close partnership with Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) to support youth to learn and engage in entrepreneurship, support Black-owned businesses, and develop innovative economic opportunities in the community.
What makes an effective political campaign?A political campaign is call-for-change initiative from the relevant authority about a social issue your community cares about. A successful political campaign usually results in an action plan to lead to a change of legislature. To have an effective campaign you should consider the scope of the issue, your audience, and how to create community support. Considering the scope of the issue helps you determine who your organization thinks would benefit from changing this legislature. It decides whether this will be done on a local, state, or federal level. This decision helps focus the message of your campaign to a realistic part of your community. This realism then helps you research who to discuss the issue with so your organization knows who has the actual power to make this change with the social issue. Considering your audience includes the community members who will both support and oppose the legislature change you want to implement. Understanding support and opposition helps you frame your issue in a way that strengthens solidarity for the issue and prepare your resources to fight against those who oppose. It tells you how much capacity you need to develop when you reach out to create community support around the issue. Considering how to create community support involves building sustainable relationships within and outside your organization. You need sustainable relationships within your organization to have the capacity to reach outside your organization. You have to use the same knowledge on what makes an effective organization to do so. When you have the capacity, you then reach out to your community to find out who supports you an educate the opposition. This community support can to come any of the petition, town hall, or protest events you set up.
How do I reach my representative?The very first step to contacting your representative is finding out who your representatives are for whatever level of government controls the bill you would like to influence. You need to make sure you’re calling the right type of representative for the bill you would like to address. If the bill is affecting your local area like your city or county, you would contact your mayor or house of representative. If the bill is affecting your state, you would contact your house of representative of your governor. If it’s a federal bill, you would contact your senators. With the exception of the governor, all these roles are dependant on the district you’re registered to vote in. You can find your house of representative here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative You can find out who represents you locally and federally here: https://callyourrep.co/
Does calling matter?It does!! Here are 4 reasons calling your representatives is effective: Larger volumes of calls can halt the office leading your representative to make a statement on the issue. Staffers often pass the message along to your representative in one form or the other. Talking allows you to share a genuine, personal story about the individual impact of the policies they’re making. Your odds become higher of getting direct contact with your local or state official through the phone. (About 5 Calls)
How do I call my representative?Give them your name, city, and zip code, and then say, “I don’t need a response.” EX: “My name is _______. I am a constituent of _______, zip code _ _ _ _ _ _. I don’t need a response.” State the issue and your position. EX: “I am opposed to _______.” or “I am in favor of ________.”
Any tips for calling my representative?Consider these following tips when calling: Tip #1: Only call your district. Your call will only be accounted for if you can confirm the area is represented by the official with an accurate city and zip code or are calling from the right area code. Tip #2: Be kind. The people answering the phone spend a lot of time answering phone calls. Your kindness will help the call get done faster. Tip #3: Keep it brief. Length won’t change change what they mark as your stance. Shorter calls ensure more calls received about the issue so more people are heard. Tip #4: If anxious, thoroughly prepare. Breaking down down the steps for what seems like an overwhelming task can help you get it done. A helpful resource with tips for social anxiety can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/hbp5uy2 (Calling Congress Is Easier Than You Think — Here's How To Do It) (A Former Staffer Explains How to Call Your Representatives)
How do I write to my representative?Consider these tips: 1. Let them know who you are. Begin with an introduction to who you are or the organization you're contacting them on behalf. For example, let them know you are a student or where your neighborhood is, or share the mission of your organization. 2. Get to the point. State your concern as soon as you've introduced yourself. If yo are writing about a specific bill, include the bill number in your letter and explain why you support or oppose it. Try to make a few strong points rather than many that aren't well supported. Whenever possible, use bullet points for your arguments to make it visually clear. 3. Keep it brief. 1-2 pages is best, and try to focus on one bill or issue. This helps to keep your position and ask clear so that they don't get lost in too many details. 4. Relate it to home. Connect the significance of what you're advocating for to your community. Include specific facts about how the bill impacts you and your community. Remember to make your letter as personal as you can since it is more meaningful and representatives may discount letters that are too formulaic. 5. Invite follow-up from the rep. Include your contact information so that your representative can follow up with a letter or email if they choose. You can also offer to act as a resource should the legislator or staff have questions or need additional information.
I need help starting my letter!Check out these great tools to help you get started! Resistbot: Text “resist” to the number 50409 and a virtual robot will help you write a letter that will be faxed to your representative. Standard messaging rates may apply. Access Resistbot here: https://resist.bot/ 5 Calls: 5 Calls teaches you about the importance of calling and provides you the representatives to call about popular issues of concern. The website is available as a download for your phone. Access 5 Calls here: https://5calls.org/
When is the best time to protest?The chart below can help you orient actions your group takes to protest a federal bill. It shows where a bill can fail -- these are the best times for protesting! Federal level bills can fail to pass during: A house of representative committee final reading and vote on final amendments and the proposed bill as a whole. The house vote where a simple majority is required to pass a bill. A senate committee final reading and vote on final amendments and the proposed bill as a whole. The senate vote where a simple majority is required to pass a bill, but the frequent threat of a filibuster, has meant that super majority is often needed. The president’s ten-day period to sign the bill into a law or veto. (White, 2017)
What should I know to plan a protest?Know your rights in order to be effective and safe! The American Civil Liberties Union shares What Do You Do If Your Rights Are Violated at a Demonstration or a Protest. Create messaging that is meaningful to your community. What does your community want to say together? Is there a slogan or hashtag that people can rally around? There may already be shared messaging if your protest is part of campaign. Build your capacity. Reach out to people in your community who you believe would show support. Follow the methods for civic engagement discussed earlier. Assign roles. You’ll want people to lead the action in case there are certain actions you have collectively decided for or against. For example, you’ll want people to energize the crowd with suggested chants. You’ll want marshals to observe any interactions with authority. Show up. Personally message people to come to the demonstration. Reminders can make the difference in people showing up. Invite support from others. Follow-up the event with an sign-up list to keep up with your organization and an invite to join. Keep the momentum of your movement going.
Join the Learning Community
The TRHT Learning Community is a space to actively engage in learning and action related to TRHT. We share monthly newsletters and host webinars on topics to support our learning and prepare us to lead narrative change, healing and racial equity in our community. The Learning Community also holds key documents related to TRHT.
Building a Beloved Community
Truly uprooting racism is a long-term fight. The Beloved Community Fund works to sustain BIPOC-led racial equity efforts in our community for the long term.
Inspired by the vision of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are building toward a Beloved Community, where love, equity and peace are enjoyed by all.
Thank you W.K. Kellogg Foundation for matching this fund through your commitment to Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation.