The Battle Creek community tonight is honored to be one of 20 All-America City Finalists for 2018, and also to be recognized as a finalist for use of social media to celebrate and promote this weekend’s event, and the overall opportunity.
The AAC finalists each provided a community presentation to the awards jury Saturday and today; the jury then chose the 10 winners of the award, announced by host organization, the National Civic League.
Community presentations included skits, music, spoken word, dancing, and heartfelt stories to bring their projects and communities to life. Projects highlighted by the communities range from addressing systemic racial trauma through community-driven organizations, to meaningfully engaging neighbors in finding solutions in areas of mental health, education, fiscal sustainability, environmental stewardship, and police-community relations.
Battle Creek’s presentation featured stories of The Bottoms, a tight-knit part of our community where neighbors were displaced by a devastating flood; hard truths of racism in our schools and a school district providing staff training to make a difference; helping provide a platform to increase the volume of Battle Creek’s youth voices; and more. The stories came from the work of our three featured projects – the Battle Creek Coalition for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation; the Byrne Grant for criminal justice; and BC Vision.
The 2018 All-America City Award winners are Springdale, Ark.; Stockton, Calif.; Longmont, Colo.; Decatur, Ga.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Charlotte, N.C.; Kershaw County, S.C.; Mount Pleasant, S.C.; El Paso, Texas; and San Antonio, Texas.
A big thanks to the team of 15 who worked so hard to represent the Battle Creek community, and told their amazing stories: Kayla Aimesbury, BC Vision/former Youth Advisory Board member; Battle Creek Mayor Mark Behnke; Stacy Flathau, Kellogg Company; Rebecca Fleury, City of Battle Creek city manager; Abi Fukuyama, Youth Advisory Board; Olivia Harvey, BC Vision; Kimberly Holley, Battle Creek Coalition for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation/Sojourner Truth Institute; Rosemary Linares, Battle Creek Coalition for Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation; Kris Leatherman, Kellogg Company; Jenny Mualhlun, Battle Creek Police Department Community Outreach and Engagement Coordinator; Jacob Schacht, City of Battle Creek Assistant to the City Manager; and Jessica VanderKolk, City of Battle Creek Communications Manager.
“It was an amazing experience to be recognized for the hard work being done in Battle Creek, and to work with this devoted Battle Creek team,” Fleury said.
Special thanks to the Battle Creek Community Foundation for supporting the team through the planning process, and trip to Denver.
The National Civic League advances inclusive civic engagement through its community assistance programs, including tools, trainings, and facilitation services, award and recognition programs, and nationally-recognized research and publications. The NCL promotes efforts that seek to listen to, and to learn from residents in ongoing conversations and leverage those insights to help reshape communities so they will thrive.
Additional photos from the event are on the city’s Facebook page, and at www.nationalcivicleague.org/all-america-city-awards-2018-photo-gallery/.