New Rootead Initiative "Radicle" designed for and by the QTBIPOC Community
“The QTBIPOC experience is radical in this current state of the world. It is deemed nontraditional, despite it not being rare in the slightest. Our day to day experiences, challenges, and general moments are unique, beautiful and dangerous because of the intersections our identities stand at. It is radical just for us to exist, right now, in a colonized world that actively works against your livelihood.” - Cassidy Davis.
Rootead Enrichment Center intends to create safe, intergenerational spaces for the LGBTQ+ community, specifically centered around the needs and wellness of QTBIPOC identifying folks (Queer and/or Transgender, Black and/or Indigenous People of Color) with their new initiative Radicle.
Radicle is a botany term for the part of the plant embryo that develops into the primary root. Radicle’s creators, Rootead Fundraising Alchemist Cassidy Davis and Board Member CoCo Marie, felt that the word was fitting for the new initiative: it ties into Rootead’s mission to be rooted in a trauma-informed, community-centered, and whole-body approach, and the name is a play-on-words for the QTBIPOC experience.
“The QTBIPOC experience is radical in this current state of the world,” Davis said. “It is deemed nontraditional, despite it not being rare in the slightest. Our day to day experiences, challenges, and general moments are unique, beautiful and dangerous because of the intersections our identities stand at. It is radical just for us to exist, right now, in a colonized world that actively works against your livelihood.”
Rootead will be holding their first Radicle events, “What’s the Tea on Radicle,” starting in March. Attendees will be introduced to Rootead staff, and will participate in breathwork on March 17, movement exercises on March 24, and creative writing on March 29. Each event is free and will begin at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome to attend.
Though Rootead has always been welcoming to QTBIPOC and LGBTQ+ identifying folks, this is the organization's first intentional push to create programming centered around the community. Davis attributes this decision to an increase in Rootead’s staff, giving the organization the capacity to serve the QTBIPOC community more deliberately.
Radicle will incorporate programming, resources, and safe spaces specifically for the QTBIPOC community, something that Marie said was previously missing from Kalamazoo.
“It's almost like there are two worlds in Kalamazoo. You have the white queer world and then the QTBIPOC world,” Marie said.
Most queer-friendly spaces in Kalamazoo are typically very white, which can feel unwelcoming to members of the QTBIPOC community.
“It's been in the back of my mind for a while how there aren’t many places where every single part of me is welcome in the room,” Marie said.
Davis has known this feeling as well. While growing up in Kalamazoo, they felt there wasn’t a space where they belonged.
Radicle hopes to change that by creating a space that is centered around the QTBIPOC community, but open to LGBTQ+ folks and allies as well. Community readings, cooking classes, yoga, and a series on spirituality and art through a QTBIPOC lens are just a few working ideas for Radicle, but results of Rootead’s community survey are needed before further event planning can happen.
Radicle creators Marie and Davis both identify as part of the QTBIPOC community, and their programming will be driven by a survey for LGBTQ+ and QTBIPOC identifying folks. Marie emphasizes the importance of this space being created for and by the desired demographic.
“When you’re a brown, queer person, there is already a certain level of understanding that we have with eachother, even if we’re different ethnicities,” Marie said. “We still understand that racism is something that you combat in your daily life, and misogyny, homophobia, capitalism and all these other things.”
Knowing what the QTBIPOC community faces daily, Davis says a goal of the initiative is to provide a trauma reducing space. This fits into Rootead’s overall mission to provide programming that is diverse, inclusive, anti-racist and trauma informed.
“We want Radicle to give you a moment of healing in a space you know you can always go to and be specific to you when nothing else in the community is,” Davis said.
One use of Radicle’s healing space, Marie says, could be to have important conversations relevant to the queer community. There are conversations about aging and finances that need to take place within the queer community, Marie says, because life events can look different for LGBTQ+ folks.
“There are a lot of things (financing, retirement) that are tied to marriage and having a child, but a lot of queer people have different experiences,” Marie said.
Radicle creators are hoping this initiative will not only lead to an intergenerational space where important conversations can take place, but also a space that encourages creating chosen families. Radicle creators know that for LGBTQ+ folks, family structure doesn’t always match the traditional man, woman and child format.
“That's not the reality for a large portion of Kalamazoo or what people’s wants or needs are,” Davis said. “I really wanted to support creating something that gives people the ability to have a chosen family.”
Though Radicle is still in its infancy, its creators are excited for what the program could become. Radicle, in botany, means the part of the plant embryo that becomes the primary root. This part will grow to support the whole plant on day, but, like people, it needs to be nurtured properly.
People require the right environment to grow. Marie and Davis hope that Radicle will be that environment for the QTBIPOC community.