Disrupting Cycles

With each inciting event, the cycle begins again. Dialogue resurfaces, people gather and plan, donations flood in – and tomorrow’s news takes over once again.

Local businessman Mel Gravely II wants that circuit to change sooner rather than later. He says we can begin by asking ourselves two questions: What is really going on? And what role do I play?

“Maybe, this time, it’s an opportunity to answer those two questions for people and engage them in a different way,” Gravely said. “Let’s help them with the answers and see what happens after that.”

Gravely, CEO of Norwood-based TriVersity Construction, believes more business owners should participate in racial equity education to increase their knowledge and awareness leading to the type of inclusive changes that can change our community.

His next step: getting 90 local CEOs signed up for Phase 1 of Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s Racial Equity Matters (REM), presented by bi3.

“We have to get that done if we’re going to move the needle,” Gravely said. “If I had not gone to the REM training, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said. “GCF is already making a difference because they are enabling people like me to clarify our thinking and to find our voice.”

Since 2018, GCF has hosted REM, an educational series that provides a candid, honest look at systemic racism and the history that embedded it within our institutions. To date, more than 2,000 community members have participated in the training.

After participating in the series, Gravely noticed his conversations with peers about racial equity and systemic racism became easier.

“I’m no longer afraid of that conversation,” he said. “I’m no longer afraid of their discomfort with it and we can have a conversation that is not emotion but is fact-based. That is without judgement.”

Learn more about Racial Equity Matters.