Happy Earth Day! It’s Title Track’s 2nd anniversary!
Thank you for your help in bringing us here.
We recognize that so much of the deep work that has been happening in all of our lives and hearts this year is difficult to capture and yet to be fully revealed. So much of our work is in our relationships, our conversations, our steady dedication to cultural transformation, and in our guiding spirit of creative collaboration. It’s ongoing and unfolding.
This year, in the spirit of Bob Russell (co-founder of our parent organization, the Neahtawanta Research and Education Center), Title Track has been striving to embody principles of resilience to adapt our work, serve our community, evolve our organization, and grow our capacity. We’re prepared to be in it for the long haul and we are proud to share another year in review with you.
In it’s second year, Title Track…
- Hosted a full day of virtual anniversary events on Earth Day 2020, including live storytelling, art, poetry and music.
- Welcomed Holly T. Bird from our Board of Directors to join our staff as co-Executive Director!
- Expanded staff roles for Jenny Jones, Mae Beale, Elizabeth Wolff, and Chris Good!
- Established an office space in Traverse City.
- Partnered with the Native Justice Coalition on Support for Native Elders to raise over $15,000 supporting elder meal programs for the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians, the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.
- Hosted Indigenous Mutual Aid Eagle and Condor in collaboration with Indigenous leaders from across Turtle Island.
- Actively participated as members of PolicyLink’s Water Equity and Climate Resilience caucus, influencing federal policy and networking with frontline environmental justice leaders from around the country.
- Produced the State of Water podcast, featuring in-depth conversations on water at the confluence of policy, equity, community, and climate, earning a five-star rating on Apple Podcasts. With Nayyirah Shariff, Peter Sinclair, Piper Carter, Stephanie Mills, Peter Madcat Ruth, and Rachel Marco-Havens.
- Helped organize and coordinate non-violent community resistence and community actions in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.
- Created Understanding Racial Justice, a five week course designed for white folks ready to lean into the racial justice movement, with the support of Rotary Charities of Traverse City and in partnership with We the People of Michigan. In the past year, Title Track staff and supporters have held six cohorts, training almost 200 white folks from all around the state, building anti-racist community, and providing tools for collective liberation.
- Became fiscal sponsor and sister organization to Northern Michigan – E3, a local BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color)-led anti-racism task force.
- Consulted with Traverse City Police Department on cultural sensitivity and racial equity training.
- Partnered with Northwestern Michigan College for two community screenings of the documentary “John Lewis: Good Trouble”
- Partnered with Northwestern Michigan College to present “Blackness & Becoming,” a virtual conversation on Black Memory and Identity with author Antonio Michael Downing hosted by Title Track board member Kaylan Waterman.
- Presented Collaborative Songwriting for Collective Liberation workshops online for the general public, and for the Singer Songwriter program at Interlochen Center for the Arts and with NMC’s Phi Theta Kappa.
- Partnered with Rotary Charities to offer equity discovery calls where we provided support, resources and referrals for a dozen institutions in the greater Grand Traverse region.
- Partnered with Short’s Brewing Company to launch Craft Libations for Collective Liberation, through which 6 craft breweries and the Michigan Brewers Guild have supported our work for racial equity.
- Partnered with Crosshatch, Earthwork Harvest Gathering, and Beale Street Software to present Skill Swap 2020.
- Curated and participated in workshops as part of the online 2020 Earthwork Harvest Gathering.
- Launched the first season of The Title Tracks, a video series featuring musicians sharing intimate performances, stories and reflections on a current issue or call to action.
- Clean Water Campaign interview with Senator Gary Peters, advocating for Water Equity and Great Lakes protection.
- Welcomed Piper Carter, Rachel Marco-Havens, Diana Milock and Bryan Newland as new members of our Board of Directors
- (We later wished Bryan Newland well as he stepped down from our Board of Directors to serve in the Department of the Interior).
- Partnered with Oil and Water Don’t Mix to bring music into Line 5 organizing.
- Partnered with Carbon Stories and the Michigan House to produce and release new Clean Water Campaign videos with community leaders Jim Lively, Liz Kirkwood, Ella Skrocki and Joe Short speaking about water issues.
- Invited our friend and colleague, Flint-based author/emcee/poet Amber Hasan, to share a response to the news of criminal charges being brought against former Governor Rick Snyder and 8 other officials involved in the Flint water crisis.
- Partnered with and participated in the virtual Water is Life Festival which reached people across North and South America in real time on Labor Day weekend online.
- Participated in TEDx Traverse City.
- Participated in Inland Seas Education Association’s Going to the Water Stewardship Series
- Partnered with Earthwork Music, Kalamazoo Remembers, Circle Pines Center, Honor the Earth, Oil & Water Don’t Mix, and Kalamazoo Stands with Standing Rock to present the virtual Midwest Mobilize: Stop Line 3 & 5 event.
- Participated in Water Works town hall hosted by Amanda Siggins along with Liz Kirkwood of FLOW, Sean McBrearty of Clean Water Action and Oil & Water Don’t Mix, and other experts and activists from across the region.
- Participated in “Iceberg and the Civil Rights Movement”, an international Stories of Change Series through the Center for Systems Change in London via Rotary Charities in Traverse City, and co-hosted the local community after party conversation.
- Presented racial equity-themed programming for Unitarian Universalist Churches in Traverse City and Portage.
- Hosted conversations about racial justice with students at the Grand Traverse ISD writing program.
- Led a presentation on music and social responsibility for middle school choir students in Grand Rapids Public schools.
- Convened the development of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Train the Trainer, a program designed to train more people to be racial justice training facilitators.
…and in terms of doing our own work and walking the talk…
- Began a year of monthly internal equity training for our board and staff with the Truth and Titus Collective.
- Began organizational capacity building sessions with Megan Olds of Parallel Solutions
- Engaged in internal staff team building and strategic planning facilitated by our longtime collaborator and consultant, Sarah Drumm.
- Subscribed to festi, a one of a kind consulting solution designed and operated by our own Mae Beale / Beale Street Software, which is part software, part training, part capacity building, part advising.
Our work has been supported by our friends in philanthropy and by many generous organizations and individuals. We are grateful and we see you.
Our work has been lifted up by media partners on many platforms and many supporters on social media. We are grateful and we see you.
Our work has been validated by our partners in the communities we serve. We are grateful and we see you.
There is work to be done and we are in it for the long haul. In the coming weeks, we will walk you through five steps to join the Title Track journey and take action for lasting change as we #StriveForFive.
Onward, with heart,
The Title Track Team