Examining racism, moving towards equity and a thriving community

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The Granby Racial Reconciliation group raised food for local charities in this community garden plot. Submitted photo

In its first year, Granby Racial Reconciliation (GRR) provided many opportunities to foster racial justice in town.

As people committed to the ongoing work of racial reconciliation, GRR’s purpose was to raise awareness and continue the conversation on racial justice in Granby so our town can be a great place for everyone. In that spirit, GRR provided opportunities for such conversations in the local community. This was possible because of volunteer efforts, a rich collaboration with a local non-profit Nourish My Soul that provided the online platform for the 15-week Racial Equity Challenge, and financial support from community members, local faith communities, Granby Education Foundation, and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

The Racial Equity Challenge began in April and wrapped up this summer. The challenge was the ambitious expansion of Food Solutions New England’s 21 Day Racial Equity Challenge. FSNE’s bold vision for the six-state region is to build the capacity to produce at least 50 percent of the region’s food by 2060 by supporting healthy food for all, sustainable farming, and fishing. Additionally, FSNE supports a shared set of values—democratic empowerment, racial equity and dignity for all, sustainability, and trust. Since Granby already has a large agricultural base, this 21-Day Challenge was recommended because food justice is tied to social justice. Approximately 60 people became members of the challenge. While participants delved into self-guided learning material, community-building activities included raising food for local charities in a community garden plot and the Garden of Gratitude at South Church; walks and talks; virtually viewing the movie Cracking the Codes; an informative Food Justice Panel Discussion; a transformational Racial Equity Poetry workshop with Malik Champlain; and two powerful events with Kamora Herrington that bookended the challenge. 

Although the official challenge is over, participants have continued access to the program. Expanding it from 21 days to 15 weeks, there is so much more to glean from the challenge lessons as participants saw how deep the reach of racism is and the many ways people can choose to make positive changes.

The faith task team of GRR provided a Vigil for Racial Justice memorializing the anniversary of George Floyd’s murder. Through song, prayer, confession, lamentation and assurance, the hearts of those present opened to hold the grief and pain of the many black lives taken unjustly.

From a belief that building bridges one relationship at a time will lead to the healing of the great racial divide in America, the GRR Faith Initiative facilitated a powerful nine-week book study group based on Be The Bridge, which is written by Latasha Morrison and examines racism through a biblical lens.

Returning to its roots, GRR offered Courageous Conversations on Race at the Park on Aug. 21 with a discussion on Affordable Housing. Featured guests were Sara Bronin of Desegregate CT and Erika Frank of Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. Pre-attendance viewing was the mini-documentary, Segregated by Design, was recommended.

GRR will be posting future offerings on its website, granbyracialreconciliation.com