Facing Racism

Facing Racism began at a series of meetings at the Muncie Public Library (MPL) where a diverse group of people from the community came together at the invitation of the Director, Ginny Nilles, to discuss a Community Read. A Community Read would mean that a book is chosen to be read and discussed throughout the community. The books discussed all had to do with issues of race and racism. Those of us on the committee from the group R.A.C.E. (Reconciliation Achieved through Community Engagement) suggested that instead we create a Facing Project focused on issues of race and racism in Delaware County. After talking with the founders of the Facing Project, Facing Racism was born. Ginny Nilles, MPL, and Yvonne Thompson, Executive Director of the Muncie Human Rights Commission provided the initial funding to enable the project to move forward.

 The Facing Project is an international storytelling project about issues important to individuals and their communities. Kelsey Timmerman and J.R. Jamison-Pippin from Muncie started the Facing Project. The project brings together writers and storytellers, those with stories about a particular issue, and culminates in a book and a community event(s) to bring the stories to the public to enhance awareness, create dialogue and impact change.

Facing Racism is a project of the group R.A.C.E (Reconciliation Achieved through Community Engagement) started by Jason Donati and Yvonne Thompson dedicated to respectful dialogue and moving the community forward. Jay Zimmerman, working collaboratively with a team of organizers coordinates the Facing Racism Project. Tania Said was in charge of soliciting and matching writers and storytellers. Renae Mayes is the Chief Editor and coordinated a team of editors. Daniel Stallings is focused on fundraising. Michael Daehn wrote the script and directed the actors in the Muncie Civic Theatre event on November 12, 2016. Laura Williamson and the staff from Civic Theatre (a partner in the project) made the production possible.  Michelle Kinsey is handling publicity. Renae Mayes assisted  Jay Zimmerman with grant writing. Others with various roles on the team are Lynne Stallings, Maude Jennings, Ruby Cain, Joshua Hollowell, Kimberly Hamilton, and Kelby Stallings. Yvonne Thompson and Ginny Nilles are partners in the project. Mark Slusher is handling video for the project. Ruby Cain is leading a team to create a curriculum to go along with the book for use in high schools, colleges and universities.

The Facing Racism group felt that stories emerging from members of our own community would be a powerful tool to create dialogue and impact change throughout the community. Facing Racism will explore the impact of racism and the meanings of race in people’s lives in Muncie and Delaware County. Engaging with personal stories and evocative theater performances as well as dialogue, we will explore both the negative impact racism has had in people’s lives and the positive responses to dealing with racism. Stories and programs will expose the harmful nature of structural or institutional racism, and reveal the ways in which our community can triumph over ignorance and act for positive social change. Facing Racism will educate, inform, and encourage ongoing dialogue to mobilize community action. The project recruited nearly 35 writers and 39 amazing storytellers and the stories are collected in a hard copy book and a downloadable version and on-line Ebook are available on this website. The culminated in the publication and the  performance at the Muncie Civic Theatre on Saturday, November 12, 2016  and will be followed by a performance at Ball State University for Unity Week sponsored by the BSU Multicultural Center and throughout Muncie and Delaware County at churches, schools, community organizations and other venues where we hope to spur further dialogue. We hope to create manuals for facilitators of dialogues and a teacher’s guide for using the stories in an ebook in the classroom.

The Muncie Action Plan (MAP) is our fiscal agent since they are a 501c3, not for profit. We are proud and pleased that MAP is a partner in this important endeavor.

For more information contact Jay Zimmerman at 765.717.9657 or facingracism@gmail.com

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