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Battle Creek leaders launch "The Village" initiative

A diverse group of leaders in Battle Creek are partnering on a plan to foster equity and prosperity for community members of color.

The initiative, titled The Village, was introduced this week.

The leaders representing Battle Creek’s Black, Burmese and Latinx communities gathered this week to unveil a comprehensive emergent plan known as The Village. The initiative seeks to promote collaboration and recognition to the area’s predominant communities of color, while celebrating their unique assets, needs and aspirations.

Pastor Richard Bailey, with Truth in Action Ministries, says plans include community development corporations and a neighborhood credit union, which he believes can create job opportunities and build sustainable wealth.

“We are forming a model for communities of color that promotes sustainable, economical outcomes, by achieving a variety of goals,” Bailey said. “We want a seat at the table as we work to build our own table. our path forward is designed around solutions that will help our community become economically independent".

Bailey along with other leaders at the conference, discussed the need for systemic change, breaking down historic barriers and creating more access and opportunity in areas like industry and food, education, health and wellness, and personal growth and advocacy.   

The initiative is powered by the United Way for Battle Creek and Kalamazoo and is supported through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Catalyzing Community Giving grant program.