The Black Impact Collaborative (BIC) is a group of organizations formed to identify and illuminate the needs of Black people in Greater Grand Rapids in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
…formed to identify and illuminate the needs of Black people in Greater Grand Rapids
BIC was convened and is being powered by the Institute of Ubuntu (IOU), a 501(c)(3) think tank focused on enhancing the lives of people of African descent in Grand Rapids, Michigan, by cultivating community and healing; and promoting intellectual, cultural, and thought leadership.
Why was the BIC formed?
Incorporated in 2017, IOU has been in the background, planning to publicly launch on Juneteenth 2020. However, months before the launch could take place, COVID-19 hit the world, disproportionately impacting the Black community nationally, and in Grand Rapids, to such an extent that IOU was catapulted to the foreground to galvanize Black leadership in Greater Grand Rapids to create a collective response. BIC is a collective of leaders across organizations led by and serving African Americans in Greater Grand Rapids. BIC has been meeting daily since April 25th in response to COVID-19, working to gather information on what leaders are hearing and seeing; how they are positioned and responding to the crisis; and the nature of their ongoing, immediate, and long-term needs. This group of leaders is committed to moving in solidarity and collective support of the Black community, and the short- and long-term needs of Black Greater Grand Rapids (BGGR). The vision is to garner the human and financial resources necessary to maintain a thriving, safe, and whole BGGR during COVID and beyond.
We are all aware that COVID-19 did not create the current disparities, but these disparities were illuminated and magnified, mostly to those working in and across systems, and not so much to families and community members experiencing them. The City of Grand Rapids has been lauded as one of the best places to live in the country; one of the safest places to live; the best place to live in Michigan; one of the cheapest places to live; and one of the best places to live for quality of life. However, the data also shows that not everyone has access to that level of “best.” In a city and region with so much progress, prosperity, and access, that same level of opportunity and outcomes has not been realized for BGGR.