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Celebrating culture and caring for community, equity and the environment

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent affirmative action ruling, Ashley Marchand Orme and Tolu Lawrence of JUST Capital write that the investor case for diversity, equity and inclusion has never been stronger. JUST Capital’s analysis suggests that their DEI Leaders Index Concepts, which features an equally weighted group of companies scoring in the top 20% of JUST’s Rankings on DEI Issues, has outperformed the Russell 1000 Cap Weighted benchmark by 0.19% and Russell 1000 Equal Weighted benchmark by 3.4% since its inception in December 2021.

WKKF is partnering with the Ballmer Group, Kresge Foundation and Children’s Foundation in Detroit to help WKKF grantee Detroit Public Schools Community District create 12 health hubs in neighborhoods across the city. The hubs are a new approach to help lower the district’s rate of chronic absenteeism and provide more equitable access to dental, health and mental health services.

Congratulations to Lisa Bowleg, Ph.D., M.A., for being named the winner of the 2023 James S. Jackson Memorial Award by the National Institute of Mental Health! Bowleg is a leading scholar in ways intersectionality is applied to social and behavioral sciences health research. She also led the development of the Intersectionality Policymaking Toolkit Project, funded by WKKF, to advance health equity work. The award recognizes outstanding researchers who have demonstrated exceptional individual achievement and leadership in mental health disparities research, community engagement and mentorship.

After working as a park ranger in the Triunfo Biosphere Reserve in Chiapas, Mexico, for 43 years, Ismael Gálvez Gálvez received an international ranger award. He is celebrated in part for his commitment to educating the community about the forest. He had been nominated by environmental protection organization Pronatura Sur, which WKKF supports for its work with culturally and linguistically pertinent community education programs. This includes work in sustainable development and Indigenous territorial defense.

At the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, the Shriver Center TRHT Campus Center hosts racial healing circles where young Black men and teenagers process trauma together and challenge prevalent myths about Black youth. Reporter Joseph Williams will be examining racial healing within Black communities through August in a Word in Black series co-sponsored by WKKF, which created the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation framework from which the Shriver Center program is adapted.

Last week WKKF community partners in the Lower 9th Ward came together to celebrate the second I Am New Orleans mural at the Andrew P. Sanchez & Copelin-Byrd Multi-Service Center. The mural is the second of two created by the artist Jade and informed through community listening sessions, ensuring each piece of art is unique to its community’s history and culture. “I truly hope that as children come and go from the community center, their culture is affirmed, their potential is seen and their love for themselves and their community is invigorated,” WKKF’s Rhea Williams-Bishop, director of Mississippi and New Orleans programs, said at the unveiling.

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