Shared on our Facebook earlier this month… 

Dear NCN Family.

As we consider the current events related to race and racism, this has been a challenging week for our team. It’s difficult not to be distracted by the news as racial disparities are highlighted with every report and protests against racial discrimination are happening in our own backyard. We know that Black and Brown communities are hurting this week, especially in the wake of the George Floyd’s death. And we feel this pain in our own New City family. I feel this pain.

We have started expanding our team of employees by welcoming back four youth employees, all of whom just graduated high school this year. Three of these four youth employees are young men of color. They’ve shared personal stories with us of being held at gunpoint by officers for simply walking down the street when the police happen to be searching for a suspect meeting the ambiguous description of a “young black male.” It’s heartbreaking. As a person of color, I can identify with this pain and trauma, having similar experiences, and all this right here in our city of Grand Rapids.

Racism is real, active, and lives next door. Still, as our farm team continues to plant, weed and tend the earth, we’ll continue to do similar weeding and planting in our organization. Even now, we are reviewing our policies to ensure that we are taking an anti-racist approach to our work here in the Creston neighborhood. Black lives matter to God and they matter to us. Racism belongs nowhere. We are committed to this stand. There is much work to be done for all of us.

Serving Christ,

Ricardo Tavárez,
Executive Director