ADVOCACY, EQUITY & COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT

In recognizing 50 years of service in 2018, Focus: HOPE developed a strategic plan and renewed its standing as an antiracism organization which advocates for systems change, leverages community leadership and braids race equity into all its does.

Antiracism Definitions

Focus: HOPE Antiracism Definitions

Race and racism are difficult to talk about not only because these are touchy subjects, but also because Americans have no common language for these issues. Focus: HOPE offers the below terms not as official definitions, but as explanations into what we mean as we attempt to move this important conversation forward.

Keep in mind that because much of what is listed below occurs on the unconscious level and because we are all—regardless of color—complicit in upholding white supremacy and racism, labels for people are not included. This list is intended to assist those who want to overcome racism rather than those who do not by focusing away from who is racist, and toward the way racism works, who benefits from it and who is currently harmed by it. We hope this is helpful.

  1. Implicit bias n. unconscious assumptions that result in favor or disfavor.
  2. Racism —a system of advantage and disadvantage based on color.
  3. Racist —of a nature which supports or perpetuates racial disparities on interpersonal, systemic and cultural levels.
  4. Racist —We leave this term undefined as we concentrate not on who is racist, but instead on how racism works, who it benefits and who is currently harmed by it.
  5. white supremacy —conscious or unconscious power, preference and privilege of white people at the disadvantage of other races.
  6. People of Color (POC) —the nonwhite global majority.
  7. Internalized oppression —the appropriation of white supremacy by POC
  8. white privilege (n.)—the range of advantages experienced by white people based on color.
  9. Woke —conscious commitment to struggle against racism, white supremacy and implicit bias.
  • Racial Equity n.—a deployment of resources and opportunities with special consideration for correcting historic and systemic hardships for people of color.
  • Color Blind —the state of pretending to see all races as the same and equal.
  • Anti-Blackness n.—the conscious or unconscious distrust or disdain for Black people.

Focus: HOPE Antiracism Approach

Race Equity Lens

We approach all our work with questions like these in mind:

  1. How does this create opportunities for people of color?
  2. How are we sure people of color will benefit the most from what we are doing?
  3. Are all our plans and communications honoring people of color as assets?

Advocacy

We facilitate systems change by raising community awareness on key issues, by supporting local leadership and by leveraging collective power. This is accomplished through the embedding of civic and leadership activities into Focus: HOPE programs, the publication of thought pieces and hosting of symposiums, summits, debates and other public forums. Visit the Focus: HOPE calendar and register for newsletters to stay updated about what’s happening in the Focus: HOPE community.

Antiracism Programs and Initiatives

Community-Led Research

The Urban Learning & Leadership Collaborative (ULLC) is a ground-breaking place-based research-practice partnership uniting Detroit community members with university researchers to create innovative, inquiry-based solutions to challenges identified by residents. With support from The Spencer Foundation, a Focus: HOPE, Wayne State, U of M and HOPE Village neighborhood partnership has developed a community-based research alliance for dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline (STPP) intruding on Detroit’s bright youth. We are working with Research Action Teams, HOPE Village residents as well as youth to uncover the most promising solutions.

Youth Leadership

Apply Here

Generation of Promise is Metro Detroit’s premier social justice youth program. It’s a high school junior program that supports a new generation of leaders who advance racial equity in Southeastern Michigan by developing expertise in key issues, forging friendships across race and culture and leading organizing and advocacy efforts.

In launches annually in the spring, accepting applications from 15 high schools across southeastern Michigan to form a diverse cohort of about 60 new students.

Beginning with an overnight weekend retreat at Camp Copneconic during the summer, students engage monthly for a full school day through the course of the academic year.

They uncover their own hidden biases, learn to challenge stereotypes ad create change in society and make lasting connections and friendships.

As 12th graders, students can remain engaged and to serve as facilitators and leaders.  Over 90% of Generation of Promise alumni go on to college. Pictured below is Michigan Senator Adam Hollier, a program alumnus and committed supporter of Focus: HOPE and its programs.

Program Overview:

  • Duration—August – April
  • Meeting Day—Every Second Wednesday
  • Meeting Time—7:45 am – 3:00 pm (students are excused from school to participate)
  • Graduation—first Sunday in May.
  • Requirements—Eligible applicants must be enrolled in an authorized partner school, listed below. Applications must be complete during the sophomore year to participate in the junior year. Students must maintain a 3.0 GPA or above.

Economic Mobility

In partnership with LISC and the United Way of Southeast Michigan, Focus: HOPE is an Opportunity Center, also known as one of the region’s Centers for Working Families helping adults pursue the financial success they are after.

Financial Success Classes and Coaching
Offers FREE classes and one on one coaching that help improve credit score, set budgets, developing a plan and more.

Income Support Assistance
Not only does the Michigan Department of Health Human Services (DHHS) have a permanent presence on Focus: HOPE’s campus with Counselors available Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., our participants have access to a range of other easily accessible income supports. This includes food; free tax preparation through the Accounting Aid Society; a clothing closet; legal supports and a collection of other supports for those participating in workforce programs.

Thanks to Our Supporters!

Listed organizations supported Focus: HOPE during fiscal years
2019-2020 (10/1/2018 – 9/30/2020).  
This information was updated as of February 14, 2020.