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Anti-Racism Presentation, Asks, and Officials’ Response


Good evening my name Al Dixon and I am the Co-Chair of the ISAAC Anti-Racism Task Force. The Task Force was elected by community members years ago, to help stop racism and other social injustices that have impacted our community.  housing, gun violence, employment, health, and mass incarceration. We are currently working to address White supremacy culture and its meaning. Over the past 2 years we have been working with law enforcement, and public officials to enable deeper communication and a shared understanding of systemic racism; promoting greater trust, improving collaboration, and developing antiracist policies, practices, and relationships. Anti-racism workshops included: the Anti- Racism, Equity, Empowerment & Accountability for Elected Officials and the Latinx Community: cultures, struggles and more. We also had officials share what is already being done in their respective departments/organizations around items such as anti-racism work, education, training, trust and transparency.

Finally, I wish to thank all those Officials who have agreed to share their thoughts and agreement to help on the issues that are affecting our community.


Hello my name is Dick Shilts, and I am a member of the Anti-Racism Task Force.  White supremacy.  What is white supremacy?  A White Educator, writer and activist, Tema Okun has facilitated racial equity workshops for over a decade in an effort to help people like me understand that we all live in a white supremacy culture, where certain characteristics show up in the attitudes and behaviors of all of us, and consequently, in the various organizations we represent. Okun outlines 15 of these characteristics that are damaging precisely because they show up unconsciously in ourselves and in our organizations as norms and standards without being named or chosen.

I’ll briefly mention just 3:

Perfectionism—the attitude that there is only one right way—this often leads to a lack of appreciation of the work of those who may not agree.

Sense of Urgency—this characteristic makes it difficult to be inclusive, to take the time to encourage thoughtful decision-making and to consider future consequences.

Defensiveness—much energy is spent trying to prevent abuse and protect power rather than to facilitate the best out of each person.

It’s long past time for White people like me to acknowledge the harm that has been and is  being done by white supremacy.  Tema Okun is far from  the only significant voice that is addressing white supremacy, but reading her widely-circulated article can definitely help us all work together to dismantle individual and systemic racism in our community.


Hello my name is Maggie Adams.  I am a member of the Anti-Racism Task Force and a member of the board of ERACCE,  a local anti-racism training organization.  We are thankful for our officials, who are participating today, and we recognize and honor the anti-racism work many of you have started and will offer in our ASKs an opportunity to expand this journey by attending an ERACCE Internalized Racial Oppression workshop for (Black Indigenous and people of color) or an ERACCE Internalized Racial Superiority workshop for white people.  These workshops focus on how white supremacy culture becomes internalized in Black, Indigenous and People of Color as racialized oppression and in white people as racialized superiority,  defining behaviors that support and maintain the race construct and its outcome, white supremacy.   ISAAC hosted their first Internalized Racial Oppression and Internalized Racial Superiority ERACCE affinity workshop in April of 2019 and this workshop continues to be a part of our ongoing training.   Although there are other organizations offering training on dismantling racism, ERACCE has emerged on a state level as a leader in offering powerful workshops based on systemic analysis of racism.  We encourage all of you as a prerequisite to this ASK  to increase your understanding of systemic racism by taking ERACCE’s 2.5 day Understanding & Analyzing Systemic Racism Workshop.  And if you have already taken this…consider taking it again…I have taken it 5-6 times, deepening my understanding, that becoming an anti-racist is not a one and done activity, it is a lifelong journey.

Kalamazoo City Commissioners, County Commissioners and Candidates, Portage City Council, State Senator Candidates and State Representative Candidates and Judicial Candidates 8th District & 9th Circuit

Over this next year, to better understand how to factor racial equity into policy making, to advance racial equity in your work as an elected official and to help dismantle systemic racism, do you commit to participate in the following Elected Officials’ trainings hosted by ISAAC and to later debrief this workshop with ISAAC Task Force Members:

                  ERACCE’s Internalized Racial Oppression (for Black, Indigenous and People of Color) workshop OR ERACCE’s Internalized Racial Superiority (for White People) workshop?


Kalamazoo City Commissioners, 

In an article by Matt Smith Oct 8th, 2020 it states…The history of environmental racism in Kalamazoo is our history of school segregation, residential segregation and zoning. Zoning has always been the playing of white supremacy, dictating who gets to live next to factories and liquor stores and chemical plants and who gets to live next to single family homes and rolling hills and clean air.”  Fifty years after the Colored School shut down, Kalamazoo passed its first zoning ordinance. The 1925 Ordinance had the Northeast and Southeast of Kalamazoo zoned “industrial”.  In 1951 another ordinance zoned similar areas “manufacturing”

Today we see the historical environmental impact of these ordinances in areas where primarily Black and Brown people lived and still live.

When thinking about racial health disparities as compared to other neighborhoods in the city of Kalamazoo, in the next quarter, will you commit to support the hiring of a culturally competent Public Health Consultant/Officer to investigate and mitigate the effects of the long-term environmental pollution & water injustices that have physically impacted residents of the city specifically on the North and East Sides of Kalamazoo?

Those who committed during the Public Meeting: City Commissioner Stephanie Hoffman and Vice Mayor Don Cooney



My name is Deacon Karen McDonald. 

State Senator Candidates, State Representative Candidates and Judicial Candidates:  


Over this next year, to better understand how to factor racial equity into policy making, to advance racial equity in your work as an elected official and to help dismantle systemic racism, do you commit to participate in the following Elected Officials’ trainings hosted by ISAAC and to later debrief this workshop with ISAAC Task Force Members:

                  ERACCE’s Internalized Racial Oppression (for Black, Indigenous and People of Color) workshop OR ERACCE’s Internalized Racial Superiority (for White People) workshop?

Top row: City Commissioner Qianna Decker, Judicial candidates Julie Jensen, Becket Jones, Josh Hilgart, and Judicial candidates Lana Escamilla

2nd row:  Portage City Council Member Vic Ledbetter, County Commission candidates Peter Strazdas, John Taylor, and County Commissioner Jen Strebs

3rd row: State Rep. candidate Justin Mendoza, State Rep. Christine Morse, State Senator Sean McCann, and County Commission candidate Stephanie Willoughby

4th row: State Rep. Julie Rogers, Comstock Trustee Jason Knight, and Judicial candidate Ken Barnard


Hello, good evening, my name is Ashante Collins. I am the Anti-Racism Task force lead here at ISAAC. When it comes to voting,  historically those in the BIPOC community have been negatively affected by the leadership that represents them and that has led to a disproportionate number of votes from the community These neighborhoods have the least amount of input from those who actually live in the community. There have been racist and unjust tactics used in the past to prevent certain areas of our communities from voting. Voter suppression is REAL and is on the rise! This strategy is used to influence the outcome of an election by discouraging or preventing specific groups of people from voting. We want everyone who is eligible to vote to have their voices heard. We want to remind you that if you have a felony on your record you ARE ELIGIBLE TO VOTE. When it came time for Kalamazoo to speak up about county redistricting efforts we came strong and showed how our community could stick together in the face of adversity. While our efforts were not in vain, the next ten years our county will have 9 districts instead of 11 districts unfortunately. It is more important than ever that we get out and vote because representation of who is the face of those districts and who fights for you and your interest may change. To help make this happen we are out in our neighborhoods canvassing with other community organizations encouraging EVERYONE to get out and become educated on their officials and to vote for who they want and need to serve them best. Nov 8th is 14 days away! Don’t let Nov 8th pass you by! We hope to see you  at the polls and we hope that you know how important you are to the future of this community. 


Hello, my name is Denise Hartsough, a member of the ISAAC Anti-Racism Task Force. On the ballot for November 8th is an important proposal to protect our voting rights by putting them in our State Constitution.  Only we, the voters of Michigan, can change the State Constitution–the State Legislature cannot change it.  

This proposal is near the end of your ballot–look on the back!  It is called Proposal 2,  Promote the Vote 2022. 

Proposal 2 will help ensure that every voice is heard and every vote is counted, no matter what political party or candidate one supports, where we live or what we look like. 

  • It will put in the constitution a fundamental right to vote without harassment.
  • It will make ballots sent by military and overseas voters count if postmarked by election day instead of having to be received by election day.
  • It will affirm the right of registered voters to verify our identity with a photo ID or signed statement.

Proposal 2 will also make voting more convenient and accessible for Michiganders of all backgrounds by allowing us 9 days of early voting.

Please vote yes on Proposal 2 to put voting rights in the Constitution!

Member Congregation that committed in the Chats:

Christian Church Disciples of Christ

First Congregational Church

First United Methodist Church

Galilee Baptist Church

Grace Covenant Ministries

Kalamazoo Friends Meeting

Lutheran Church of the Savior


Mount Zion Baptist Church

People’s Church UU

St. Barnabas Episcopal Church

St. Martin’s of Tours EpiscopalC Church

The Empowerment Center

Unity of Kalamazoo


Westminster Presbyterian

Westwood United Methodist Church


Good evening.  I’m Carolyn Heineman and I’m a member of the ISAAC Anti-Racism Task Force.  As has been highlighted by fellow task force members, the traits of white supremacy culture have been woven into the very fabric of our lives, and structural racism has been embedded in all of our systems, institutions and in ourselves.  Institutions — such as government, education, health care, the law, and religion.  We know and deeply appreciate that the very heartbeat of ISAAC is our member congregations who join in the hard work of making our community safer and more just.  As ISAAC Members on this anti-racism journey,  ongoing workshops, affinity groups, trainings and healing sessions have been vital to ensure we are transforming ourselves to in turn transform institutions.

So we now look forward to continuing to build the Beloved Community with you, and  ask our Member Congregations and Member Organization leaders who affirm to raise their hands or use emojis. We will ask for 2-4 individuals to unmute their microphone and speak for 15 – 30 seconds or less in support, or if you wish you can place your comments in the chat.

ISAAC Member Congregations /Organizations

Do you commit to voting on November 8th, to discuss the importance of voting, and asking your members to commit to Vote November 8th? Do you commit to vote for and encourage your members to support Proposal 2, Promote the Vote, to help protect the rights of all voters to participate in elections?

Verbal Responders:  Rev. Jerry Duggins – Westminster Presbyterian Church; Wendy Flora – Christian Church Disciples of Christ; President Wendy Fields – Galilee Baptist Church and NAACP

Chat Responders: Deacon Pat Vinge, St. Martin’s Episcopal Church


Buenas noches. I’m Adrian Vazquez, Executive Director of El Concilio, a member of ISAAC. As we move forward to continue to build a united community. It is important to heal, act and learn from community leaders that have the knowledge and experience. As a member of the Latinx community I believe that To build a just and united community we need an open mind and heart. Our interactive Latinx Community workshop that we facilitate is aimed at working with community members wanting to be more effective allies that we need and want.

Do you commit to send Clergy representatives to attend ERACCE’s Internalized Racial Oppression (for People of Color/BIPOC) or Internalized Racial Superiority (for White People) workshop hosted by ISAAC?

Do you commit to attend and/or send representatives to attend the Latinx Community: cultures, struggles and more workshop hosted by ISAAC and facilitated by El Concilio?

Verbal Responders: – Miriam Escamp –  Unitarian Universalist  Community Church; Rev. Sarah Schmidt-Lee – First Congregational Church; Deacon Pat Vinge- St. Martin of Tours Episcopal Church; Rev. Dr. Matt Weiler, First United Methodist Church


Mr. Al Dixon: We would like to thank you all for participating in this Anti-racism task force presentation. We look forward to following up and partnering with you on this anti-racism journey.