Local nonprofit launches project to change image of Grand Rapids’ southeast side

GRAND RAPIDS, me. – Ericka “Kyd Kane” Thompson was born and raised in the southeast of the city.

“We do beautiful things,” said Kane.

However, the way she thinks about her community doesn’t always align with the way other people think about it.

The southeast side of Grand Rapids, which is a majority minority, has long been associated with violent crime and other issues related to inequality and inequality.

“When you leave a neighborhood behind and isolate it from opportunities, quality education, and something that so many areas of the city have, you will see more things like crime and poverty … something that will produce less than optimal things “he told Kane.

The stigma associated with the area is why The Diatribe recently launched the 49507 project.

The Diatribe is a local performing arts group and non-profit organization. Her goal is to “empower young people to share their stories, raise awareness of social issues and bring about change in their communities.”

“This area is now speaking out and talking about the injustices it is going through,” said G Foster II, a member. “It’s about the disease that has to be faced, it’s about overrating the neighborhood. It’s about just wanting change. “

Starting at the end of the summer, seven color artists will be creating large-format murals on the sides of local buildings.

The designs are based on contributions from students and community members.

The Diatribe works with local schools to teach their Writing to Right Wrongs curriculum, which includes classes on topics such as housing discrimination and gentrification.

Volunteers will solicit feedback from local neighborhoods and listening sessions will be held.

According to a press release, the project will take place over the next three years. The Garfield Park Neighborhood Association and Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses have helped the Diatribe bring together more than 100 Black and Brown community stakeholders, from business owners to pastors.

“I believe these murals are a chance to change that narrative and tell these success stories and ideas for success,” said G Foster II.

The hope is to create a multicultural arts district that will change the landscape of the place they call home.

“What we can do with the 49507 project is try to shift the trajectory to what I know has been there all along – peace, love, and what we want is more justice and respect – in a neighborhood where people have done their best to thrive despite adversity, ”said Kane.

Volunteers are needed to help with the acquisition. To participate, email Angela Cluley at [email protected] or call (989) 824-6926.

To learn more about the 49507 project or to donate, click here.

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