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WHO WE ARE


STAFF

Fernando Ospina, co-Executive Director

Fernando Ospina is Co-Executive Director of Eliminating Racism & Creating/Celebrating Equity (ERACCE) and an apprentice with Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training. He is an Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership Advisory Board member and facilitator of the Cradle Kalamazoo Cultural Competency Subgroup. He has a Master's degree in Conflict Resolution from the University of Denver's Korbel School of International Studies and a Master's degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver's Morgridge College of Education.  He has experience working with youth and adults charged with violent and nonviolent crimes. He has facilitated anger management classes and treatment classes for male and female domestic violence offenders.  He is also a professional mediator.  He is driven by the desire to create a world in which people live harmonious, authentic lives.

B Jo Ann Mundy, Organizer/Trainer

Rev. Dr. B. Jo Ann Mundy is a former co-Executive Director of ERACCE (Eliminating Racism and Creating/Celebrating Equity), and a Core Organizer-Trainer for Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training, a national partner working collaboratively with ERACCE toward the institutionalization of racial justice in public and private institutions throughout southwest Michigan. Currently Jo Ann serves on the board of Crossroads and as Co-chair of the Board of the PFC Natural Grocery & Deli of Kalamazoo, and as the pastor of Worship & Justice at Sunnyside UMC. As a founding mentor of the NIA Project, Jo Ann encourages the celebration of identity, purpose and sisterhood in adolescent women of color. Additionally, Jo Ann is a founding member of the Three Rivers Area Faith Community (TRAFC), an ecumenical faith-based social justice network of churches striving to build a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-generational anti-racist faith community in Three Rivers, MI where she completed her doctoral thesis Sacred Actions to Bring Racial Reconciliation. Jo Ann has enjoyed over 25 years of pastoral ministry. Jo Ann enjoys reading, music, her guitars and computers and, most of all, the young people in her life.

Aliisa Lahti, Organizer/Trainer

Aliisa Lahti grew up in central Michigan and now lives in Kalamazoo where they have been engaging in antiracism organizing with the local nonprofit, ERACCE (Eliminating Racism & Creating/Celebrating Equity) since 2009.  They studied Comparative Religion and Environmental Studies at Western Michigan University.  Aliisa serves on the Antiracism Transformation Team at the People’s Food Co-op where they previously served on the board for six years.  Aliisa is a skilled facilitator and core trainer with Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training (ERACCE’s national partner).  Collective decision making is a practice they engage in as often as possible.  Aliisa finds the work of antiracism to be humanizing and life giving and is passionate about further exploring the intersections of identity.  Aliisa became a parent in 2014 and loves being outside and teaching and learning with their child, Weaver.

Rachelle Yeaman, Director of Operations

Rachelle Yeaman is the Operations Manager and an Organizer/Trainer with ERACCE. She’s certified in Permaculture Design and manages the fledgling permaculture site at the Wesley Foundation of Kalamazoo. With this appreciation for natural systems as well as an eclectic mix of work experience in bookkeeping, administration, and teaching, Rachelle is focused on developing operational structures that strengthen ERACCE as an organization while serving the humanity of all staff people, board members, and team members. In the community, she sits on the board of directors for PFC Natural Grocery and Deli and is continually astounded to watch how quickly her two nephews are growing. 

J./Jasmine Kyon, Organizer/Trainer

J./Jasmine Kyon is an organizer and trainer in ERACCE (Eliminating Racism and Creating/Celebrating Equity). J. is a queer Burmese-Chinese organizer who grew up in Queens, New York. J. has a Kalamazoo College B.A. in Economics, Public Policy and Urban Affairs. In 2015, J. studied in the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute, researching indigenous farmers’ rights, urbanization, and seed sovereignty in Thailand. In 2016, J. was a Student Research Fellow at the Arcus Center of Social Justice Leadership, doing research on the equity of public transportation in Kalamazoo County. J. was also an organizer in the Kalamazoo Poetry Collective, connecting Kalamazoo college to local artists, introducing community youth to higher education, and facilitating storytelling workshops. J.’s passion is working toward a world where cities serve everybody.

Samantha Weaver, Organizer/Trainer

Samantha Weaver, or Sam, is an organizer-trainer with ERACCE (Eliminating Racism & Creating/Celebrating Equity). Sam was born in the Upper Peninsula, grew up in Big Rapids, MI, and is a recent graduate of Kalamazoo College where she studied English and Political Science. As a student at Kalamazoo College, Sam was an Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership Scholar and served on the Arcus Center Advisory Board. Sam has worked with multiple Kalamazoo organizations in her journey of becoming a community organizer, including OutFront Kalamazoo, Michigan United, and Farmworker Legal Services. She believes that white people have a stake and responsibility in antiracism work and she is passionate about engaging with fellow white people, especially in the LGBTQ community, in accountable multiracial justice efforts. Sam loves sharing food, books, and outdoor walks with her family, both given and chosen.
 

BOARD

Jo Woods, Co-Chair (Director of Human Resources, Kalamazoo County Government, Retired)
Chris Dilley, Co-Chair (General Manager, People’s Food Co-op of Kalamazoo)
Rachel Roberts, Secretary (Principal, Head Start & Diversity Coordinator, KRESA)
Chris Moore (Executive Director, Kalamazoo Collective Housing & Member, PFC Antiracism Team)
Angela Fortin (Kalamazoo Public Library & KPL Antiracism Team)
JaRay Reese (Project X, PFC Antiracism Team & Pretty Lake Camp)
Katie Corbit (YWCA of Kalamazoo / Cradle Kalamazoo)

 

ERACCE REGIONAL ORGANIZING TEAM

The ERACCE Regional Organizing Team is comprised of committed antiracism organizers and trainers who work with ERACCE staff and board to grow the antiracism movement in Southwest Michigan.

 

HISTORY

Most people agree racism is a tough topic and an even tougher experience. Often the agreement ends there. Questions like, “what is racism? how does it function? when and where did it start?” are rarely asked, and even more rarely answered. In 1994 a group of concerned citizens in Kalamazoo found themselves asking those questions and more. “What if there is more to racism than personal race prejudice? What if institutions are intentionally designed to benefit one race over all others? What if the way they are set up continues to impede the best intentions and efforts of institutions to be all they aim to be?”

In 1997 the local governing body of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the North/West Lower Michigan Synod joined a dozen other Kalamazoo area communities of faith to continue asking vital questions about race and racism. They began exploring how hidden, persistent organizational patterns inherited from past generations and subtly embedded in their systems were preventing them from fulfilling their missions.  One year later the Synod property of a local church was sold for $180,000. With an increasing awareness of the devastating role institutional racism plays, the Synod committed the proceeds of the sale toward planting a seed of racial justice work in Kalamazoo. The goal: to intentionally work with other local organizations to build the capacity to recognize, identify, and understand institutional racism, work together to dismantle racism, and establish new anti-racist organizational structures and practices.

After two more years of conversations, planning and organizing, in January 2000 the Kalamazoo Northside Ministerial Alliance, Kalamazoo Anti-Racism Alliance (KARA) and the Synod jointly announced the birth of Eliminating Racism & Creating/Celebrating Equity (ERACCE). Its vision: to eliminate racism in Southwest Michigan. Its method: host and subsidized the most effective antiracism workshops in North America. While the trainings would be open to any institution, the Northside Ministerial Alliance provided direction to offer priority access to local government, faith communities, law enforcement and justice system, educational institutions, and health organizations.

As they continued organizing in the community, ERACCE members offered colleagues the opportunity to participate in 2.5-day Understanding & Analyzing Systemic Racism workshops at the reduced registration, significantly subsidized by the seed money from the sale of the Church. Six workshops were offered during the first year, which hundreds of community members attended to begin developing a working analysis of racism and join a growing network of fellow colleagues who had gone through the training.

In March 2006, ERACCE grew from its grassroots collaborative beginnings into a regional community service anti-racism organizing and training resource center to meet the growing needs of partner organizations. In April 2007, after receiving support from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation John E. Fetzer Fund, the Arcus Foundation, the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, and Greater Kalamazoo Area United Way, the board approved a detailed plan for developing a Regional Antiracism Organizing and Training Team.

Through their partnership with ERACCE, numerous institutions have come to realize that as they work to dismantle racism internally and transform into systems committed to authentic racial justice, they can more effectively serve their constituents. Many have developed anti-racism teams, which go through additional training, and are equipped to lead their institutions to dismantle individual, cultural, and institutional racism.

Today the demand for ERACCE is growing. We are receiving an increasing number of training and organizing inquiries from local community organizations and businesses seeking assistance in addressing systemic racism. Many institutions send multiple board and staff members through a 2.5-day “analysis workshop.” In addition to training, ERACCE has developed the capacity to provide technical assistance and organizing support and consulting to organizations needing support as they organize and design the right training at the right time, geared to intentionally selected participants, as part of a strategy for long-term organizational change.

To learn more about ERACCE’s mission, vision, and goals, please visit Our Focus. Like us on facebook and follow us on twitter to stay up to date on antiracism analysis relevant to current local, regional, and national news. 

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