Division Avenue
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from 28th to 54th Street
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  July 21st, 2014

Interview with Linda Quist of Partners for a Racism Free Community

The Division Avenue Business Association had a chance to interview Linda Quist, the Director of Finance & Development for Partners for a Racism Free Community.  Here is what she had to say.

DABA:  What is the mission of Partners for a Racism Free Community?

Linda:  Partners for a Racism-Free Community works with organizations, businesses, schools, congregations, and others to provide tools necessary to build an inclusive and racism-free environment and be positioned to succeed in the new multi-cultural economy.

DABA:  How many businesses are members?

Linda:  18 have completed the assessment process which shows them where they are.  We then coach them to improve policies & practices to become a more inclusive environment.  Tommy Branns became a full partner in February of this year.  They met the 6 standards on the assessment.

DABA:  What is the process for becoming a member?

Linda:  This is a systems level change tool.  We work from the inside out.  We look at a company's purchasing policy, leadership, internal policies, vendor supply practices, customers, market place, and collaboration with outside partnerships.  Sometimes businesses are doing these things well but we help them write it down as policy.  There's a measurement to track these using accountability, progress year to year, noting what they have done to improve, and eliminating barriers from within.

DABA:  How did Partners for a Racism Free Community start?

Linda:  We started as a program of GRACE, which holds a summit every year on racism.  There was talk but no action.  Finally we asked ourselves, what can we do to see real change?  Grand Rapids is very multi-cultural, the demo graphics in this community have changed.  It behooves everyone to become more inclusive.  There are many communities represented on South Division.

DABA:  Is there anything else you want to let the community know about your organization?

Linda:  We offer workshops on various topics related to bias, inclusion, racism, cultural competency, hiring and retaining people of color and other pertinent topics. The cost is low, only $30 per person, including lunch. The key to this process is that we want everyone to know that this is a journey. We are all going to make mistakes. The important thing is to join the walk.

For more information visit their Website at www.prfc-gr.org.

 

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Read our interview with Linda Quist, the Director of Finance & Development for Partners for a Racism Free Community.

 


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