Licking County Racial Justice Nonprofit Dissolves

After more than a year of working in the community, Community Alliance for Racial Justice Members of the board recently announced the association’s dissolution at the end of 2021.

In a Facebook post last week, the organization said that “a year filled with unprecedented change has challenged our nonprofit to levels we never expected. is with a heavy heart that the CARJ Board of Directors announces the dissolution of the Community Alliance for Racial Justice as of December 31, 2021.

Founded in the summer of 2020 by Jamie Holderman and Josh Jenkins, the organization has sought to leave a lasting impression on the Licking County community by bridging the gap between the black community and existing organizations. One of their main initiatives was civic engagement, which focused on voter registration and non-partisan education.

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CARJ board chairman Konrod Morris said COVID-19 made it difficult for the non-profit organization to achieve its goals. Above all, he said they remain grateful to their community, which he said was open and accepting the organization, its donors, volunteers and members of its board of directors.

“It was sincere. We were all disappointed that we couldn’t continue. We saw a lot of work being done,” he said, noting that one of their next projects titled “Curious Kids” was intended to bring their organization in the classroom for education.

Reflecting on their work, Jenkins said he was very proud of the “unity” they created and how organizations partnered with CARJ and paved the way to accomplish meaningful work.

“It’s been a tough year for everyone, but I think the willingness of the people to get involved is important, the volunteers. The way people come together is probably the most important to me,” he said. he declares.

Holderman said the organization was able to create an atmosphere to have meaningful discussions in the community, as well as to empower and inspire people to engage in the topic of racial justice.

“One of the things that CARJ has done was to help people understand that it doesn’t have to be a divisive thing, but it is something to create more unity within the community,” he said. she declared. “Because of that, people who might not have considered themselves normally as people who would work with an organization dealing with racial justice, were actually very keen to get involved and work alongside us. think it was really beautiful. “

Morris said the organization has helped raise awareness of Juneteenth locally and has shown people that they can talk without dividing and find common ground, as well as educate the community about Black history and families in Licking County.

While Jenkins couldn’t identify a specific project that stood out for him, Holderman said his organization’s work in Licking County schools was one of the most impactful. She reflected on some conversations with students that generated conversations with their parents.

Jamie holderman

She also said that a discussion of a book on “How to Be an Anti-Racist” by Ibram X. Kendi generated an incredible response, sparking a vulnerable and transparent discussion.

The two co-founders expressed their pride in CARJ and the work they have been able to accomplish.

“I think we’ve shown the community that we can come together around the topic of race, and that even when things seem really polarized, it can be a point where a lot of diverse thoughts, views and political opinions can be. come together and build, ”Holderman says. “I hope people want to keep doing this and get out of their comfort zone.”

She added that she plans to continue doing the same job in her own life and she hopes people will do their own jobs in the community if they feel inspired, whether they feel qualified or not.

Jenkins said he hopes the community sees that some things can take a little work, anything is possible. He said he never thought he would be a co-founder of a nonprofit, but he hopes people know the sky is the limit.

Morris said CARJ is an organization built on love. Its founders, he said, shared a deep love for their community and their youth.

He said he was proud of what the organization was able to accomplish, but acknowledged that there was still work to be done.

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