First 616 Day! launches fundraiser for “A City within a City”

Tickets at www.eventbrite.com/e/616-day-tickets-157737393791

First Annual 616 Day! Celebration: Re-open the City & Crowdfunding Launch for ACWAC Documentary Film Project

2pm to 10pm (Full day of festivities and celebrations)@ Celebration Cinema’s Studio Park in DowntownGR
Organized by: Victor Williams, CEO, Grand Stand Pictures, Producer of “A City Within A City” Documentary Film Project and Founder, Grand Rapids HipHop Coalition
Sponsored by: DGRI, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce, LoadaSpud, the Total Soul Continuum and the Grand Rapids Media Initiative and Film Incubator (GR-MiFi)

Victor Williams, CEO Grand Stand Pictures

616 Day Activities include;

  • Scavenger Hunt
  • free popcorn, snacks and beverages
  • game show games – 616 Trivia
  • music
  • prizes
  • humans
  • film teaser
  • conversation
  • announcements
  • panel discussion

Party with a Purpose
Fundraiser for A City Within A City Documentary Film Project.


Maybe you’ve made it partway through Dr. Todd Robinson’s famous dissertation A City Within A City: The Black Freedom Struggle In Grand Rapids, Michigan and wished you had a film to see instead. 616 Day! is the official launch of the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to support the making of this historic film. Major funders and many collaborators have stepped up, now it’s your turn to get on board. Log on to the campaign at this event [igg.me/at/acwacfilm], or join up on your own anytime on or after Launch Day.


The A City Within A City Documentary Film Project will also be providing training and development opportunities for apprentices and industry aspirants through our newly formed community-based nonprofit incubator, the Grand Rapids Media Initiative & Film Incubator (GR-MiFi)–Grand Rapids’ answer to Hollywood’s overdue call for Black & brown filmmakers and others locked-out of the film industry and for media professionals where they can have an on-ramp for opportunities. GR-MiFi is here for burgeoning creatives and for teaching, learning and advancement opportunities within the media, film and entertainment ecosystems. GR-MiFi will also focus resources on helping frame dynamic stories and narratives with many different talented writers and diverse artists from the Grand Rapids and West Michigan area.

So, come on out and celebrate 616 Day! and see the teaser for the documentary film, meet the producers, and hear from many of the Grand Champions of diversity, equity & inclusion- – – or pledge to be one yourself! Tickets at www.eventbrite.com/e/616-day-tickets-157737393791

Sponsorship and engagement opportunities are ongoing—get on board!

COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA)

CERA can provide rental and utility assistance for eligible renter households so that they retain their housing stability.

  • The tenant only needs to be in rental arrears, so no court notice is required for this funding.
  • Feel free to share the flyers with your clients. 
  • Updated information is available at www.kentrenthelp.org . Households in need of assistance can also call 877.ERA.KENT.
  • The Website redirects you to www.endhomelessnesskent.org if the above website does not work and the application  portal is up and running.
  • Paper applications can also be printed at MSHDA – COVID Emergency Rental Assistance (CERA) (michigan.gov)  and dropped off at the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan (1204 Grandville Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI), The Salvation Army (located at Fuller and Fulton St.), or the  Kent County Community Action Agency (KCCA) at 82 Ionia St., Suite 390.
  • Tenants can also walk into any of the agencies listed above for assistance with applying for the rental assistance.
  • Clients and agency partners can also scan & email applications to kent.rent@usc.salvationarmy.org.
  • The anticipated processing time for CERA funding is 30 days.
  • There is no receipt provided when an application is submitted to the portal. If clients have questions regarding their application, they can call 877-ERA-KENT to confirm the status.
  • CERA funds can be used to cover rent and/or utilities (gas, electric, water).  If the client is not behind on utilities, the payment will be made to give them a credit on their account.

Grand Rapids Public Schools wants your opinion

TAKE SURVEY HERE

Take 10 minutes to help GRPS develop a plan to guide the district for the next five years. GRPS writes, “The success of our school district affects everyone in our community, and we want to be sure all of our residents have the opportunity to provide input to this process.” Your response will be anonymous. Results will be posted on the GRPS website later this summer. The survey will be open until June 25th.

KCAD graduate students design/build raised beds for OKT

On April 19, a group of graduate architecture students at Kendall College of Art and Design designed and built five large and two small raised garden-beds at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy. After filling with organic composted soil, Our Kitchen Table Program for Growth participants planted the beds with organic vegetable starter plants on April 23 and 24.

Now the Program for Growth has even more space to grow nutritious food for students at school, their families and people in the neighborhood!

Special thanks to Stephanie Balke, owner, Balke Planning & Designs and Quentin Rauch, president, American Institute of Architecture Students.

Catalyst Conversations: Re-designing Our Food System.

Tuesday, May 25th, 2:30-4 p.m. 

Virtual. Register here.

The Michigan Local Food Council Network is launching an interactive discussion series, Catalyst Conversations: Re-designing Our Food System. These conversations will invite all advocates and community members – from novice to seasoned expert in topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion – to build relationships and share ideas to mobilize communities for transformative action. The Catalyst Conversation series will use deep-dive discussion to frame a spectrum of food systems change across individual, organizational, and institutional levels; equip participants with practical, accessible change models; and incorporate healing and restorative practice.

The first of these interactive conversations will take place Tuesday, May 25th from 2:30-4 p.m.  During this initial event, a panel of “relatable experts” will ground participants in cultural understandings of food systems engagement and transformation. We will invite participants to engage in small group discussions with these experts and one another.  The MLFCN will also seek input on future discussion topics for this series.

We will send more detail on the first in this series in the coming days, as speakers are confirmed. Meanwhile, please save the date!  You can also register for the May 25 event at: https://msu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJElfumvqzopGtZYwxMcWwtpRmW4bsPJbvSE

This series has been created through the MLFCN’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisory Team, a small (but mighty) group of MLFCN members from across Michigan, that has worked to build a framework for this series that is inspiring, educational, and action-oriented.    

THANK YOU for supporting the WALK FOR GOOD FOOD!

#WalkForGoodFood2021

Thank you Walkers and Supporters! You are the reason this event has once again been a success, raising funds to support the work of the OKT-managed Southeast Area FArmers Market and  13 other local organizations  that are working to create a good food system for all. We are so grateful for your efforts.


It’s not too late to donate! Donations are collected through June 30th. Our fundraising page will remain live until then. Stay tuned as we tally final results and announce our top fundraising teams after we’ve collected all donations. If you have been collecting cash or check donations you can drop those off at our t-shirt curbside pick up locations next Tuesday, May 18 between 3-7pm (click here for locations). You’re also welcome to mail them to Access of West Michigan, 1700 28th Street SE, Grand Rapids MI 49508. Checks should be made payable to Access of West Michigan.
Did you get a yard sign?


Questions or need more info? Visit accessofwestmichigan.org/walk or contact Walk for Good Food Director Alaina Dobkowski: alaina@accessofwestmichigan.org or 616-747-0988.

Walk for Good Food T-Shirts & Masks
Did you raise $150? Come and get a free Access Walk for Good Food T-Shirt! We will have walk t-shirts and masks available for curbside pick up May 18, 3-7pm! To get a closer look or for pick locations and details, click here. T-Shirts are available in sizes Youth S-L, and Adult S-3XL. They will also be available for a $15 purchase. Masks are free. Items available on a first come first serve basis.

Thank you for all your efforts!

Spoken word poem shares the deadly legacy of “400 Years” of sugar

Spoken word artist Té Speight, just released this brand-new video short.

Té’s powerful poem “400 Years” delivers a truth-to-power message from his personal experience and perspective.

Please take a minute to watch it. If you love it like I do, please pass it along to others! Here are those links for FacebookTwitter, and YouTube.

The piece offers a fresh and unique take on the infamous history of sugar as a commodity, and speaks directly about the soda industry’s aggressive marketing tactics toward the Black community.

Access Walk for Good Food Remains Remote, Invests in Good Food for All

#walk4goodfood2021

Join the OKT Walk Team here.

Birds are singing, flowers are blooming, and the Access Walk for Good Food is just around the cornerAs of last year, we’ve adapted the Walk in accordance with safety precautions related to COVID-19. Instead of bringing together over 700 walkers in one day, we will be asking people to walk in their own neighborhoods anytime between May 2 and 12.  

Last year, our first remote Walk was an immense success. Though COVID-19 continues, we find great purpose in continuing a historic event that carries such rich meaning in our community. In the face of injustice, walks of solidarity and intention have been grassroots means by which people have historically shown they support a cause dear to their heart. This is why we ask our community to walk. We believe in a Good Food System, with abundant access to food that nourishes, creates connection, and supports thriving local economies and opportunity for all.  

We are thankful for our title sponsors, SpartanNash and Andy J. Egan Company Inc., along with many others who are supporting this year’s Walk for Good Food. The Walk is one of the best ways to invest in long term impact and food justice in our community. As we move forward from the impact of COVID-19 on our community it is more important than ever to support organizations working to provide healthy, fair, green, and affordable food to those who need it the most.

By walking, teams and individuals are able to raise funds for non-profit organizations doing crucial work in our community. Over the course of 43 years, the Walk has raised more than $6 million for dozens of local and international non-profits. This year, the Walk will fund 14 organizations working towards a good food system. The work of these organizations ranges from community gardening and neighborhood-based fresh markets to meal delivery programs and community development initiatives.

This year’s Walk for Good Food will remain remote. This means households are encouraged to walk in their neighborhoods. You can do your walk anytime between May 2 and May 12. Follow along via Access’ social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) using #Walk4GoodFood. Participants will receive an individual fundraising page that can be used to collect donations. Those not interested in walking can still create a fundraising page. For those not interested in online fundraising, donations can be sent to:

Access of West Michigan
1700 28th Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI 49508

The Walk is a way to bring together community members to highlight and support local organizations addressing food security and injustice. We invite you to walk and support a thriving food system for all that is healthy, green, fair, and affordable.

Learn more, register, or make a donation at http://accessofwestmichigan.org/walk/ or text “WFGF” to 44-321.

You can still join the OKT #Walk4GoodFood team!

Click here to join!
Virtual Walk takes place May 2 through 12.*
Pick your day and time!

In light of the COVID-19 Pandemic,  Walk for Good Food in your own neighborhood. Access of West Michigan is asking walkers to walk individually or with their household while maintaining a six feet distance from anyone else. For specific details, visit the Walk For Good Food Website.

How can you get involved?

For more information or to sign up to get involved, visit our Walk for Good Food Website. If you have any questions, contact Alaina at 616-747-0988 or alaina@accessofwestmichigan.org.

*Those observing Ramadan can extend their walks through May 19.