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Rockford Summit on Racism

Rockford Summit on Racism 

This year, our focus was on developing a deeper understanding of experiences within our community, what is currently being done in Rockford to eliminate racism and envisioning a Rockford without racism.

The Rockford Summit on Racism was a gathering of interested community organizations, businesses and concerned individuals. We engaged in conversations and dialogue about how to promote community unity, cooperation, collaboration, and mutual support in our common efforts to eliminate racism and create inclusion, equity, and justice in the Rockford area.  

At the conference we identified Priority Issues/Solutions in each pathway (Criminal Justice, Economic Opportunities, Education, Health and Relationship Building) 

The work is not done. We invite you to adopt just one of the Priority Issues/Solutions to address. See the list below. We will be available to provide assistance. It is going to take the community but we will eliminate racism. 

Priority Issues

Priority Issues/Solution

We  invite any organization, business, church, synagogue or mosque to adopt one of these "Priority Issues/Solutions" to address. Eliminate Racism 815 will be available to consult with your group related to the process we use and also connect you with other organizations working on the same issue. 

Criminal Justice 

  1. Create more diversity and inclusivity in the police force by recruiting within the community.

  2. Look for existing organizations that feature mentoring for youth with hopes of supporting those organizations.

  3. Ending racial profiling will require people in authority to acknowledge that racial profiling exists and to find the means for overcoming the biases in their organizations. 

  4. To end mass incarceration of People of Color in Rockford we first will read Michelle Alexander’s book, “The New Jim Crow” and then research the data related to Rockford incarceration and then develop recommendations to be given to the Rockford Criminal Justice System. 

  5. Education of the populace about their rights and laws related to interaction with the Police and Sheriff Department. 

Economic Opportunities  

  1. Food Deserts could be addressed by better bus routes and people having a living wage.

  2. Attract major industry with high paying jobs for high school graduates.

  3. Improved financial literacy through mentoring and education.

  4. Fair, safe, and affordable housing.

  5. More westside business development.


  1. Create a comprehensive mentoring program for students and parents that builds a bridge to and with teachers. This program must broaden the definition of “education” to include addressing issues of mental/physical/emotional health for students, recognizing that teachers will need training on how to be more responsive to the needs and lives of students, both inside and outside of the classroom. 

  2. RPS205 must recognize the essential priority of creating a workforce that includes increased numbers of women and People of Color in administrative and leadership roles. The responsibility for creating this workforce must be shared across the board, from school board members to administrators to the superintendent. This priority must also include avenues of professional and personal support for this workforce.

  3. The community must build partnerships with RPS205 with the goal of creating success for all students. Building safe spaces for conversations among students, parents, and community members, these partnerships will be responsible for communicating to RPS205 areas of improvement necessary to ensure student success.

  4. Create, implement, and support avenues for holding courageous conversations, intentionally allowing for discussions of complex issues of social justice, race, and privilege among staff, teachers, and students. This space must communicate kindness, compassion, and love for all by allowing for discussions of issues that go beyond the classroom into daily lives at home and within the community. Provide training for teachers to develop and implement these conversations with the goal of empowering students to be agents of their own learning


  1. Promoting holistic and preventative health practices where people are in the community such as schools, gyms, churches and community centers. 

  2. Support Research and data collection that shows how equitable and preventative practices reduce overall health cost and increases overall well-being of people.

  3. Set up food pantries in schools for easier access for families.

  4. Build a state of the art mental health hospital: Teaching Facility, Residents from UW/UIC, Forensic, Residential, Detox/Crisis, Mental Health Education Support Groups.

  5. Improve access to emergency and inpatient healthcare on the West side of Rockford.

Relationship Building

  1. Stay in contact, exchange contact info to grow relationships of people there. Loved meeting people here, many new to us.

  2. Create gatherings using food, fun, the arts, and the power of play to connect and build relationships.

  3. Since fear is a key to division, create a video on our deep, darkest fears.

  4. Relationship between, churches and religious leaders are powerful in bringing community together, intentionally bring diverse religious organizations, churches into one on one events and conversations. 

  5. Create conversations, stories, events with youth in our city. We’re out of touch with them.

Thank you to the Sponsors of the Summit

The Rockford Summit on Racism was on Thursday, May 4th, 2023
8:15 am to 4:15 pm

@ The UW Health Sports Factory 
305 South Madison St
Rockford, IL

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