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Chamber Blog

Institute for Healing Racism Takes Broader Emphasis; Renamed to Inclusion Institute

Institute for Healing Racism Broadens Emphasis; Renamed to Inclusion Institute

Diversity, equity, and inclusion were always important. But they haven’t always looked the same.

In 1997, the Grand Rapids Chamber implemented a program, titled “The Institute for Healing Racism”, to help educate individuals on how to combat racism in the workplace and in their everyday lives. Over the past 25 years, this program has ebbed and flowed in format and content as our society has rapidly evolved and new topics have come to light.

By providing a space for individuals to have an open and honest conversation about race, the Institute for Healing Racism provided education on the history of race and racism in America and provided an opportunity to develop concrete actions on how to tackle racism in the community. While these conversations are extremely necessary, recent shifts in the diversity, equity, and inclusion sphere have emphasized the importance of racial equity in order to effectively combat racism and ensure an inclusive environment for all.

The Evolution of the Institute

In addition to the major cultural shifts that have occurred since the program’s origin, access to new data and technology have enhanced the format of the program and improved the presentation of its content.

“When the Institute for Healing Racism was created, we didn’t have the terms we have today,” says Andre Daley, Director of Inclusion at the Chamber. “Racial equity didn’t exist. We didn’t have videos. We didn’t have flow charts. We had chalk and a blackboard.”

The enhanced curriculum comes with a new name: The Inclusion Institute. This new title communicates the enhanced focus on inclusion and equity, and Andre Daley assures that addressing racism is still a major part of the conversation.

“This is not abandoning the intent and function of the Institute for Healing Racism,” said Daley. “We’re evolving our DEI work to empower people of color, put more emphasis on allyship for dominant culture folks, and promote self-care for people of color.”

“Racial trauma is a huge part of it. People of color were being retraumatized by these painful experiences and sharing their difficult experiences and stories over and over again. It becomes an emotional burden. We made the decision to make this shift which allowed us to change the formatting.”

Implement the Inclusion Institute in Your Team

The new Inclusion Institute launches on Tuesday, May 24 and will take place virtually over the course of two half-days.

Two additional in-person sessions will be hosted at the Grand Rapids Chamber on Wednesday, August 24 to Thursday, August 25, 2022 and Tuesday, October 25 to Wednesday, October 26. 

Find more information here.

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