GJ nonprofits form coalition to fight racial, economic, social injustice

GRAND JUNCTION, CO – If you thought the explosion of hurt and anger and calls for justice over the past couple of weeks would die down to a simmer before eventually extinguishing itself out, you need to meet the people behind RAW (Right & Wrong).

CMU alumnus and former Mavericks player Antonio Clark launched the group just a few days ago but has already seen tremendous interest from the community. Their Facebook page now has nearly 600 likes, and their first meeting, which focused on introducing the group to the community and recruiting volunteers, attracted nearly 50 people eager to help spread the word and contribute.

“Me and Jay Freeman formed it because we feel like we have a responsibility to our culture and the community overall,” Clark said via Facebook Messenger. “And with the climate of the country there really couldn’t have been a more opportune time to.”

Founders include Clark, Jay Bishop, David Hood, Laurel Carpenter, Shannon Robinson, and a handful of others, but the group insists that it wants to maintain a decentralized organization where members can feel empowered to enact change.

During the Wednesday night meeting, which was held at the Unitarian Universalist church on Ouray Avenue in downtown Grand Junction, Carpenter described the group as a loose coalition of about 14 local nonprofit agencies and organizations that serve the essential needs of various communities in the Valley, from health and welfare to environmental justice. Attendees were asked to share whatever skills they wanted to contribute to the group’s mission, whether it was marketing, project management, public speaking, or even food service.

The group is determined not to waste the momentum of the past few weeks and the overwhelming support they’ve received from allies in the local community. They’ve already begun organizing a slate of events in the coming weeks to maintain the energy and keep people engaged, starting with a “Vote for Black Lives” teach-in hosted by high school students this Saturday, June 13, at 10:00 am at Lincoln Park. The speakers will focus on voting rights, and there will be opportunities to register to vote on site as well.

“We hope and believe that we can completely change the city of Grand Junction,” Clark said. “We think when we accomplish that, we can be an example to the rest of the country on how to change and do so successfully.”

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