!Thanks for visiting our website. You're using a very old browser and it's preventing this website from displaying correctly. To view this website, please upgrade your browser.
Organizing for Antiracist
Rev. Dr. B. Jo Ann Mundy is a co-Executive Director of ERACCE and Core Organizer/Trainer with Crossroads Antiracism. She serves on the boards of the People’s Food Co-op of Kalamazoo and is a founding mentor of the NIA Project where she encourages the celebrations of identity, purpose, and sisterhood in adolescent women of color. Enjoying over 25 years of pastoral ministry, Jo Ann currently serves as a solo pastor of On Common Ground, a community church in Three Rivers, MI. She is a founding member of the Three Rivers Area Faith Community, an ecumenical and faith-based social justice network of churches where she completed her doctoral thesis “Sacred Action to Claim an Anti-Racist Identity in the Faith Community of Three Rivers Michigan.” Jo Ann enjoys reading, music, her guitars, computers, and most of all, the young people in her life.
Lillie Wolff is a co-Executive Director of ERACCE and Core Organizer/Trainer with Crossroads Antiracism. She has been engaged in social and ecological justice work since 2004. Prior to working with ERACCE and Crossroads, Lillie worked at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center where she co-coordinated the Welcoming Michigan initiative. She is a member of the Antiracism Transformation Team of the People’s Food Co-op of Kalamazoo. Lillie earned a BA in Human Development and Social Relations from Kalamazoo College in 2004. She also identifies as a writer, jeweler, dancer, healing arts practitioner, and nature enthusiast.
Fernando is an Organizer/Trainer with ERACCE. 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. Fernando has experience working with youth and adults charged with violent and nonviolent crimes, and has facilitated anger management classes and treatment classes for male and female domestic violence offenders. He is also a professional mediator. Fernando is driven by the desire to create a world in which people live in harmonious, authentic lives.
Aliisa Lahti has been organizing with ERACCE since 2010 and joined the staff as an Organizer/Trainer in January of 2014. She studied Comparative Religion and Environmental Studies at Western Michigan University. Aliisa serves on the boards of Fair Food Matters and the Peace Center at WMU. Currently she is in an apprenticeship process to become an antiracism trainer with Crossroads Antiracism Technology and Services. Bike riding and being outside are a couple of her favorite things to do. Aliisa became a parent in 2014 and loves being with her child, Weaver.
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 (Head Start Site Supervisor & Diversity Coordinator, KRESA)
Tom Zahrt, Treasurer (Director of Human Resources, KRESA)
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.
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.