The evening opened with a prayer/poem by Archbishop Oscar Romero, “A Future Not Our Own”. The attendees were asked to break into discussion groups based on how each person identifies racially. The facilitated groups then reported out what was discussed and the other racial groups listened and gave an interpretation of what they heard from the group reporting what was discussed.
Elisheva Johnson, lead organizer for the School to Prison Pipeline Campaign at Michigan United spoke with Majyck Radio, ” We realize we have to have this conversation because the community asked for this (conversation). People didn’t know how to process the information that was being reported so close to home.” Six fatalities and two victims have a long road of recovery ahead. The outpouring of support not just from communities in Michigan. Kalamazoo is not also known as “that town” where there were mass shootings occurred. Johnson went on to say, ” A lot of people decided to repress and move on business as usual, so this space was intentional where folks could come and be brave about how this made them feel and talk about how they process things differently because of race”.
There is definitely more work that needs to be done. More open conversations are in the early stages of planning for 2016. For more information about the School to Prison Pipeline and other social justice campaigns, visit www.miunited.org