Together West Michigan is a nonpartisan partnership of 20 local, faith-based and community groups.
The coalition listened to more than 1,000 people over a three-month period this past spring to identify the top concerns, which were laid out at an event on Thursday.
At the event, community members held a march, then listened to the ways in which the issues are affecting families.
One mother said her family could only afford to send their older children to daycare this summer because of their tax return.
“We are grateful that it worked out this time, but it worked out because of a miracle and a miracle is not a strategy,” said Alaina Dobkowski. “Families should not have to rely on a miracle for this to work. I know that my family is not alone in these challenges. Many families are struggling.”
Organizers say the area has a long history of philanthropy and charity, but falls short when it comes to justice and equity.
“Often times people and organizations have the tendency to try and plan for individuals and circumstances,” said Rev. Willie A. Gholtson II, Together West Michigan co-chair. “We believe that at the core of our existence is to listen to what is going on in our community so we make sure that we’re meeting their needs.”
[Photo Credit: Joel Bissell, MLive]
The Morning Show: Together West Michigan, WGVU Public Media (NPR)
Complete Assembly Footage, Together West Michigan