During the past several months, local organizations like the St. Joseph YWCA and MidCity Excellence saw a rise in conversations in the area about diversity, inclusion and unity in a time of fear.
Some talks were heated, in need of both education and diverse perspectives from people reeling from the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. It was clear it was time for a bigger discussion.
“Social justice is a program that we have here at the YWCA and, frankly, we need to do a lot more with it. And this was a situation where we felt like we really needed to do more,” Tammy Killin, the CEO of YWCA St. Joseph, said.
That’s where the event “Hate Has NO Home” comes in, as organizations like the YWCA, MCE, the St. Joseph Police Department and NAACP team up with local stores like The Lucky Tiger and Tiger’s Den to celebrate diversity and learning. It will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 19, at Civic Center Park, 1100 Frederick Ave.
The event will feature a variety of voices, including Martin Rucker, Darrell Jones, Carla Willis, David Foster, Jamie Grayson and keynote speaker Janet “Candy” Embray of American Family Insurance.
The goal of the event is continuing the dialogue about race and unity that was started with the police-involved death of Floyd. It will encourage people to stand up to racism by discussing local issues and giving those in and around St. Joseph measures that can be taken to help to promote social justice in a peaceful, organized manner.
Kimberly Warren, the CEO of MidCity Excellence, a faith-based learning center aimed at engaging and empowering families for successful careers and healthy lifestyles and relationships, said when she read the comments on social media, it was clear these issues are complex and often don’t include people of color.
“Social media can get really vicious and at the end of the debate, what have we have actually done? Have we increased minority participation and leadership in administrative jobs on boards at City Council? What have we actually done to change it? Because we’re trying to leave a better world for our youth,” she said.
In helping organize the event, Warren said she wanted it to be an event that includes all races.
“I didn’t want this just to be another solution summit by ourselves. I wanted it to be more ... like ‘What can we do to effect change year-round?’ (We want to) bring in the mainstream community who wants to stand up but aren’t sure, (asking) ‘Is this just a Black thing? and ‘What can I say now that I’m waking up to all the disparity in the community? How can I be a positive effect?’” she said.
While the event won’t be able to solve all of the issues in the area, it will provide a starting point, with future events planned to continue the discussion.
“This is not a culminating event. This is getting the ball rolling. This is a coming together,” Warren said.
All ages are welcome. People are encouraged to wear masks and adhere to social-distancing measures.
In addition to the event, organizations like MCE can be supported by purchasing a “Hate Has NO Home” sign with a donation of $20 or more at visitmce.org. The first 250 attendees to the event will receive a shirt with the same design.