Open Statement Against Racism and Systems of Oppression

1 June, 2020


Essential Needs Task Force staff and partners are both deeply saddened and outraged by the repeated injustices thrust on people of color in America throughout our nation’s history. We join in the collective mourning brought about by senseless killings and we commit ourselves to dismantling racism and all systems of oppression in the Kent County community.

The work of ENTF is to ensure that all residents of Kent County have access to resources to meet their basic needs. We acknowledge that many of us benefit from white privilege and other advantages of class, ability and opportunity. We acknowledge that we, in our own way, have been complicit in racism and oppression of black and indigenous people of color, and others who have experiences other than our own. We acknowledge that we must act on opportunities to listen, to bring our brothers and sisters to the table, to direct resources to the most vulnerable, and take action to fight all forms of racism and discrimination. We acknowledge that justice must be realized through equity. Equity in income and family wealth generation. Equity in healthy food access. Equity in self-determined housing and transportation. Equity in utility access and digital connectivity. Equity in physical and mental health care. Equity in education. Equity in networks of support and social capital. Equity in peace of mind and quality of life.


It is with this awareness that we engage in the work of anti-racism and add our voices to the millions demanding change – demanding an end to hate, violence and systemic injustice.


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Working together to address our citizens’ basic needs

The Kent County Essential Needs Task Force (ENTF) was formed in 1982 as a response to the struggles facing Kent County residents in meeting their basic needs. The ENTF focuses on system change with an emphasis on collective impact and the interconnectedness of all systems. The committees of the ENTF are an evolving reflection of those basic needs that the community has deemed essential to the success of its citizens. Those committees, as they exist today, are: Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness, Energy Efficiency, Food and Nutrition Coalition, Economic and Workforce Development, and Transportation. Each of these committees works to ensure that the vision, mission, and goals of the ENTF are being carried out through their efforts.