Building an Inclusive Community with Dr. Joy DeGruy

On November 6, 2018, our community was educated, engaged, inspired, challenged, and affirmed by acclaimed speaker Dr. Joy DeGruy. A packed Frauenthal Center welcomed the “tell-it-like-it-is” ambassador who is a healing and a voice for those who’ve struggled in search of the past and continue to struggle through the present. With over 20 years experience in the field of social work, Dr. DeGruy engaged the audience with her wealth of knowledge, expertise, and powerful storytelling. She went far beyond the surface, peeling back layers to expose what is at the core of racism and its damaging impact on all Americans.

She is also the author of “Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome: America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing,” and explores the multi-generational impact passed down from parents to children that helps perpetuate negative outcomes, racial inequities and it calls for personal, emotional, and community healing. It is an important issue that affects us all. 

We were all challenged to find new ways to engage each other and to heal our community together.  We’ll use this page to connect you with important community programs, and Foundation initiatives that will help build an inclusive community. We encourage you to attend, participate, and enjoy as we work together to learn more about ourselves, each other, and our community.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Grants

In January 2019, the Community Foundation will launch a new series of grants focused around supporting transformational work that will celebrate diversity, create equity and foster inclusion.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Grants
To address the racial disparities faced by many in our community, the Community Foundation is offering a minimum of $25,000 in grants for programs or projects that implement strategies that can help celebrate diversity, create equity and foster inclusion. Grant requests must be initiated by nonprofit organizations, including schools, governmental units, and faith-based organizations. The application opens January 2, 2019 and closes February 14, 2019. Complete application details are located here.

Love Your Community Mini-Grants
Open to individuals, nonprofits, or businesses, our 2019 Love Your Community Mini-Grants will award up to $500 to projects that encourage people to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in any or all parts of Muskegon County. Applications must be received by February 1,2019 and will be posted on the Foundation’s Facebook page for open voting beginning February 7, 2019. Download the application (Word doc) here.

Community Programs

We’re pleased to share related programming from our friends across the community. We encourage you to attend, participate, and enjoy as we work together to learn more about ourselves, each other, and our community.

Community Conversation about Criminal Justice
December 6, 6:30 p.m., Hilt Building, Downtown Muskegon
Do you want to be part of making change for our community? Interested in learning more about the Michigan criminal justice system and what is happening here in Muskegon County? Free, all are welcome. Light refreshments will be provided. Let us know you’re attending! Respond online at Hosted by Mediation and Restorative Services.

Black Man: A Documentary
Frauenthal Theater
December 17, 2018  Time 6:00 p.m.
Produced by Jon Covington, this feature-length film is part of the Muskegon Museum of Art’s exhibition “SONS” and features 32 African-American men from across the greater Muskegon community of all occupations and experiences. Their stories are compelling, powerful, and universal. This screening is free and open to the public. No tickets required.

SONS: Seeing the Modern African American Male (exhibit)
Muskegon Museum of Art
December 13, 2018 through March 10, 2019

Presented by the MMA in collaboration with photographer Jerry Taliaferro, this exhibition of photography features African-American men from the greater Muskegon community. SONS is a timely and relevant exhibition about how the African American male is perceived and how he perceives himself. Over eighty photographs of Muskegon men will comprise the exhibition. The men have been selected by a committee of their peers to represent a broad array of backgrounds, professions, and socioeconomic status. Photography and video are used in this project to mimic the process of prejudging people we encounter and reconciling these pre-judgements with realities. A feature-length film has been produced as part of the exhibition project and will debut at the Frauenthal Center on Monday, December 17.

  • Opening Reception and Lecture: Thursday, December 13, Muskegon Museum of Art
  • MMA Free Day with Special Programming: Saturday, December 14, Muskegon Museum of Art
  • Black Man Documentary Film Premier: Monday, December 17, Frauenthal Center

Ad Man: Joseph Grey II (exhibit)
Muskegon Museum of Art
December 13, 2018 through March 10, 2019

Joseph E. Grey II is an artist, designer, art director, and writer and was one of the earliest African Americans to work professionally in the advertising business in New York City. Now retired, he achieved an award-winning career working with such notable clients as RCA, Elizabeth Arden, Noxzema, Esso (Exxon), General Motors, and Cover Girl. He began working as a freelance illustrator and designer in the 1950s and, by the close of his career, Grey was a trailblazing professional whose work helped to break down racial barriers. Throughout his career, he also pursued a body of independent works as an artist. The show features numerous examples of his work as a professional illustrator and creative director, highlighting his pioneering presence in the advertising world, as well as his own artwork.

Community Gathering Initiative
Embracing Discomfort and Advancing the Conversation, January 18, 2019, 10 a.m. – 12 noon
Hosted by HealthWest and funded by a Community Foundation grant, this series of community gatherings prompts questions of deep level thinking in terms of race, equity, inclusion, and diversity to encourage community members to speak their truth, and to encourage those around to listen to other’s truths. These gatherings are free and open to the public. Advance registration requested. This gathering immediately follows the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Day breakfast and will be located at MCC’s Stevenson Center, Room 1200.

Upcoming dates: February 21, April 18, June 20, August 15 and October 17, 2019. Locations to be announced. Sign up for the January 17, 2019 gathering at  

23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Breakfast
Friday, January 18, 2019
7:30 a.m. Muskegon Community College Collegiate Hall

This year’s keynote speaker will be Anne Bailey, author of The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History. Dr. Bailey’s book is for sale in the MCC Bookstore starting December 3.  She will be available for a book signing following her keynote address. Tickets for the breakfast are $25 each or $250 for a reserved table of eight. Tickets are available at the MCC Bookstore starting December 3.  Call 231-777-0569 for event details.

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