Institute for Healing Racism

Institute for Healing Racism

Institute for Healing Racism

When was the last time you had an honest conversation about race with a diverse group of people?

Applications for the 2021 Institute for Healing Racism sessions are now open!


About the Program

Over the years, racism has become one of several highly sensitive topics that people avoid talking about in public. The sad truth is that racism happens every day, whether or not we choose to discuss it with our peers or coworkers. This silence likely even perpetuates racism, encouraging ignorance through a lack of understanding.

Racism can assume many forms. Whether it’s the explicit judgment of others because of skin color, telling a bad joke in the break room, or more subtle versions where the person doesn’t even realize they carry an implicit bias – like assuming someone is less qualified for a job.

To the Grand Rapids Chamber, racism is a disease – and like many other diseases, there is a cure. The Chamber believes the most effective way to combat racism is to educate individuals by use of honest and open dialogue.

The Institute for Healing Racism is an opportunity to start this dialogue by bringing racism to the forefront of discussions and examining it as both a personal and societal problem. Once this is accomplished, the framework is set for not only knowing how to identify racism but learning how to take steps to combat it in our workplaces and communities.

Chamber programs prioritize creating spaces where diverse perspectives can come together to learn, grow, and push our community forward.

2021 Session Dates, Program Details, and Cost

Due to ongoing circumstances surrounding the pandemic, we are currently offering two virtual experiences: one full-day session or two half-day sessions. 

  • Wednesday, January 27 (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, March 3 (1:00 - 5:00 p.m.) and Thursday, March 4 (8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, April 28 (1:00 - 5:00 p.m.) and Thursday, April 29 (8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, May 25 (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, August 25 (1:00 - 5:00 p.m.) and Thursday, August 26 (8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, September 22 (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.)
  • Tuesday, December 7 (1:00 - 5:00 p.m.) and Wednesday, December 8 (8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.)

Program Details

The Institute for Healing Racism is designed to attack the disease of racism from all sides. Throughout the program led by co-facilitators, a racially diverse group of people commit to learning how to diagnose and heal the disease by first dissecting their own thoughts, feelings, and actions. Most importantly, each participant must be able to listen in a non-judgmental, objective manner.

Once this first step of trust and understanding has been taken, the members of the group are more receptive to open and honest discussions about some of the most understated and controversial topics related to racism. What does it mean to be a person of color? What does it mean to be white? How is this racism affecting my company? By the end of the session, each participant will be empowered with the knowledge and insight of how to face racism in his or her workplace, personal life, and community. Ensure the health of your company and community by becoming a healer of racism.

Program Cost

The below pricing reflects tuition for a virtual experience and must be paid in full by the session date. The price will increase by $50 per rate when in-person programming resumes.

  • Member: $300
  • Future Member: $350

Questions or Comments?

Please reach out to Ken James, Director of Inclusion (616-771-0320 or ken@grandrapids.org) or Emily Smith, Inclusion Program Manager (616-771-0331 or emily@grandrapids.org).