Racial Healing

Martin Luther King Memorial

Racial Healing Lecture

Racial Healing Initiative

The Racial Healing Initiative is grounded in a model called Transforming Historical Harms, developed and articulated by Amy Potter Czajkowski and David Anderson Hooker of the Center for Justice and Peace-building at Eastern Mennonite University. The premise of the Transforming Historical Harms strategy is that effective work to confront and remedy the lingering legacy of historical injustices must be addressed through Facing History; Making Connections; Healing Wounds; and Taking Action.

The Initiative offers workshops, discussions, and panels that provide historical context; retreats that provide a quiet, focused, disciplined and supportive space that facilitates a healing journey towards individual and community reconciliation of unresolved trauma caused by issues of race; consulting to organizations and individuals who seek guidance in dealing with issues of injustice and inequity.

As we really get to know others, as we begin to listen to each other’s stories, things begin to change. We begin the movement from exclusion to inclusion, from fear to trust, from closedness to openness, from judgment and prejudice to forgiveness and understanding. It is a movement of the heart.


— Jean Varnier


Engaging the Wisdom

An interracial, intergenerational program that explores new and creative ways for youth and elders to connect.

  • Engage youth in meaningful activities that will engender greater respect for elders in the community while increasing their self-esteem,
  • Build bridges across generations and ethnicities,
  • Involve youth in oral history projects that will increase their knowledge of the history of the community,

You can lean more about this program in our Oral Histories section.


This Racial Healing Initiative Healing Together Retreat is designed for a small interracial group of community members who have a desire for personal transformation, connection and community healing. The retreat facilitates a healing journey towards individual and community reconciliation of unresolved trauma caused by issues of race. A quiet, focused, disciplined and supportive space is created. Participants are guided in:

  • Making use of their own personal stories to better understand complex issues of race from varied perspectives;
  • Coming to a deeper understanding of how racism is impacting our lives and the life of our community;
  • Setting personal goals for transformation;
  • Connecting with others to develop a vision for ongoing community transformation.

Summit on Racism

Kalamazoo’s Summit on Racism has since 2004 been a unique and important venue to bring the community together for open dialogue regarding race and to create solutions to eradicate racism. SHARE has committed to build on this legacy. Each year the Summit provides opportunity for community members to engage in dialogue about race and race relations and encourages community collaboration to generate action steps toward a more just and equitable society

Race Initiative Book Club

A free drop-in club, where all are invited whether they have read the book or not. The club meets the third Thursday of every other month, September through July. Discussions at book club give attendees the time and space to think about their own experiences, to compare it to what has been read and to the experiences of others within the group, and to articulate the impact of those stories. Using the stories and examples from books we read as a catalyst to discussion helps us face and acknowledge our history, to listen, and to connect.

Community Discussions

Community discussions allow attendees to discuss issues of race in a safe and non- threatening environment. Topics have included White Privilege, Being Black Today, and Building a Racial Equity Network. Discussions are offered monthly, except August and December at various venues across the city.