Read our 2021 annual report

Section 3: How do we pursue racial justice?

How do we pursue racial justice?

Detroit is home to 168,000 children, the vast majority of which (151,000) are Black and Brown. These bright and hopeful kids have the intellect and talent to soar. But even in the Black city of Detroit, the odds are stacked against them.

To champion Detroit youth, we must also champion racial justice. This goes beyond “racial equity,” which shifts resource allocation within existing systems. Racial justice is the pursuit of ensuring the people most negatively impacted by systems build the power and movements necessary to drive system change.

We are acknowledging Detroit youth as our bosses, looking to our Youth Council and young people across the city to guide and critique our work.

The Skillman Foundation is pursuing racial justice by tracking every penny we spend by race, including our grants, administrative budget, and endowment. We are acknowledging Detroit youth as our bosses, looking to our Youth Council and young people across the city to guide and critique our work. We are investing in youth and community leadership and using our influence and resources to ensure youth of color sit at–and set–decision-making tables.

We all have a role in pursuing racial justice. Our team reflects not only on how to do this as an organization but as individuals. Fortunately, we live in a city rich with racial justice leaders to learn from.

How Detroit leaders pursue racial justice

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How do you pursue racial justice in your own work?

“The Institute for AfroUrbanism seeks to identify and amplify the holistic set of conditions necessary in order for Black people to thrive individually and communally. We do this by activating and surfacing the latent Black genius that is often untapped and undervalued in current planning and development initiatives.”

Lauren Hood
Institute for AfroUrbanism, Founder & Chief Manifestation Officer

“As a creative artist, I pursue racial justice by encouraging authenticity and community expression, helping amplify the voices of the unheard. I believe the louder the voices are, the more power is obtained in provoking true justice. Also, within my role with CRIO, we believe in people being represented to the utmost and exercising the intended power of Civil Rights & Inclusion.”

Dillon Ashton Brown
Artist & City of Detroit, Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity, Compliance Analyst

“Leadership development and community organizing is my platform for resident advocacy in Southwest Detroit and District 6. Being a woman of color born in Southwest Detroit from immigrant parents, I applied myself to gather all the tools and relationships to be part of condition and system changes that for generations have cultivated barriers in Detroit.”

Maria Salinas
Executive Director, Congress of Communities

“I am a history and debate teacher that makes history relatable by demonstrating how past events have affected THEIR world. This allows for engagement of the topic but more importantly how powerful each of them can be in causing change today. I teach my students to critically think about how race has played a major role in constructing all of the institutions in the United States and the world. This education has led my students to compete in national debate tournaments and to compete in their classrooms once they have moved on to PWIs (Primarily White Institutions).”

Sukhvinder Johal
History & Debate Teacher at University Prep High School

“A racially just Detroit is a place where Black Detroiters are making enough money and have access to jobs, capital, and education opportunities, without regard to their race or geography.”

Anika Goss
Detroit Future City, CEO

“A major part of D3’s work is to improve equitable access to information, and most times, that means providing data to people or groups who are traditionally left out of conversations where policies are decided and resources are allocated. We seek to include Detroiters of all races and ethnicities in designing and informing the data that we collect and report to help elevate their voices in conversations where they traditionally have not been included.”

Noah Urban
Data Drive Detroit, Co-Executive Director

How do you pursue racial justice in your own work?

“The Institute for AfroUrbanism seeks to identify and amplify the holistic set of conditions necessary in order for Black people to thrive individually and communally. We do this by activating and surfacing the latent Black genius that is often untapped and undervalued in current planning and development initiatives.”

Lauren Hood
Institute for AfroUrbanism, Founder & Chief Manifestation Officer

“As a creative artist, I pursue racial justice by encouraging authenticity and community expression, helping amplify the voices of the unheard. I believe the louder the voices are, the more power is obtained in provoking true justice. Also, within my role with CRIO, we believe in people being represented to the utmost and exercising the intended power of Civil Rights & Inclusion.”

Dillon Ashton Brown
Artist & City of Detroit, Civil Rights, Inclusion & Opportunity, Compliance Analyst

“Leadership development and community organizing is my platform for resident advocacy in Southwest Detroit and District 6. Being a woman of color born in Southwest Detroit from immigrant parents, I applied myself to gather all the tools and relationships to be part of condition and system changes that for generations have cultivated barriers in Detroit.”

Maria Salinas
Executive Director, Congress of Communities

“I am a history and debate teacher that makes history relatable by demonstrating how past events have affected THEIR world. This allows for engagement of the topic but more importantly how powerful each of them can be in causing change today. I teach my students to critically think about how race has played a major role in constructing all of the institutions in the United States and the world. This education has led my students to compete in national debate tournaments and to compete in their classrooms once they have moved on to PWIs (Primarily White Institutions).”

Sukhvinder Johal
History & Debate Teacher at University Prep High School

“A racially just Detroit is a place where Black Detroiters are making enough money and have access to jobs, capital, and education opportunities, without regard to their race or geography.”

Anika Goss
Detroit Future City, CEO

“A major part of D3’s work is to improve equitable access to information, and most times, that means providing data to people or groups who are traditionally left out of conversations where policies are decided and resources are allocated. We seek to include Detroiters of all races and ethnicities in designing and informing the data that we collect and report to help elevate their voices in conversations where they traditionally have not been included.”

Noah Urban
Data Drive Detroit, Co-Executive Director

Let’s Talk: Supporting Black-Led Nonprofits

Video

Black nonprofit leaders talk about their experiences in seeking funding and leadership opportunities and propose ways to close the gaps.

Skillman Foundation Program Officer Terry Whitfield moderates a conversation with Allandra Bulger, Nicole Wilson, and Shawn H. Wilson.