Cherry Republic is putting its support behind a local organization that is working to educate Northern Michigan residents about racial equity.
Traverse City-based advocacy group Title Track recently created a training course entitled Understanding Racial
Justice. Title Track founder, musician, and activist Seth Bernard describes the five-week Zoom course as “a transformative community- and capacity-building experience that supports the quest to join the movement for racial justice. It is appropriate for white people who have had little to no prior antiracism or anti-oppression training.”
Cherry Republic President Bob Sutherland says that over the past few weeks, he has carefully considered the best way his company could make a meaningful impact regarding race in America and in Northern Michigan, in particular.
“We’ve been uncharacteristically silent on recent local and national racial issues as we searched for a positive way to contribute,” Sutherland explains. “I believe the first step in improving racial equity is understanding the problem. Let’s hope this program helps make Northern Michigan one of the most racially equitable regions in the country. I’m excited for my own staff to experience this training course.”
Bernard acts as co-facilitator along with Elizabeth Wolff exploring themes including race, racism, privilege, identity, solidarity, accountability, oppression, and liberation, as well as cultural trauma and healing, and what it means to become an embodied antiracist white person. Fees are on a sliding scale and Title Track is currently taking registrations the next session, which will run from Sept. 20 to Oct. 18.
Rotary Charities of Traverse City has underwritten much of the cost of the program, and Cherry Republic recently provided a $6,000 grant. Title Track continues to accept donations to fund the program, and Sutherland is encouraging others “to pitch in however they can to help support this worthwhile endeavor.”
“Northern Michigan towns may be small, but I believe our hearts are big,” he says.
About Cherry Republic
Cherry Republic donates one percent of its annual sales to nonprofits that positively impact the environment and communities throughout Michigan. Founded in 1989, the company employs approximately 80 year-round workers and has retail stores in Glen Arbor, Traverse City, Ann Arbor, Holland, Frankenmuth, and Charlevoix.