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Willye Bryan honored by U.N. Association for founding Justice League of Greater Lansing Michigan

The League’s faith-based reparations model addresses the racial wealth gap

through education and relationships with white houses of worship.

Courtesy Photo-Willye Bryan, left, is congratulated by Bob Barnhart, UNA Greater Lansing Chapter president, after being named a 2023 Global Goals – Local Leader by the chapter.


LANSING, Mich. — Willye Bryan, Lansing, has been recognized as a 2023 Global Goals – Local Leader by the Greater Lansing Chapter of the United Nations Association (UNA) at the U.N. Day Celebration, Oct. 22.


Bryan founded the Justice League of Greater Lansing Michigan in 2021 to address the racial wealth gap. The non-profit organization created a faith-based reparations model. It builds relationships with white houses of worship and employs education to link the hundreds of years of systemic, structural racism with the need for increasing wealth equity for African Americans.


“Willye works to make the world better, and the work is outstanding,” said Bob Barnhart, president of the UNA Greater Lansing Chapter. “A great injustice was done to enslaved African Americans, and that harm continues to have disastrous ramifications for descendants, including daily mistreatment and repression by the collective complicity in the belief of white supremacy.


JL Juneteenth Apology-photo by Jan Jenkins.jpg — White congregants apologize to descendants of enslaved African Americans for the sin of slavery and complicity in the misbelief of white supremacy at the state capitol Juneteenth 2023. The Justice League of Greater Lansing Michigan coordinated it to advance racial healing.


“Acknowledging and righting the wrong, which includes eliminating racism and creating a level playing field, are of utmost importance, and the Justice League of Greater Lansing Michigan is making great progress in those areas.”


Bryan said, “Marginalization of the Black community because of racial injustices has resulted in African Americans having no generational wealth. By honoring the work of the Justice League of Greater Lansing Michigan, the UNA Greater Lansing Chapter is recognizing and accepting the overwhelming need for acknowledgement, reconciliation and reparations.

“We are becoming stronger and braver as we navigate the pathway toward justice and approach what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. termed the “Beloved Community” — a place where we all share equally and proudly the fruits of our collective labor.”

UNA Greater Lansing Chapter annually recognizes Global Goals – Local Leaders who, though their work or volunteer service, are addressing U.N. sustainable development goals that the world-wide organization has committed to achieve by 2030.

Of the 17 U.N. goals, Barnhart said that by healing the wounds of slavery and leveling the playing field, the League’s faith-based reparations model addresses at least seven of them:

  • no poverty.

  • zero hunger.

  • good health and well-being.

  • quality education.

  • decent work and economic growth.

  • reduced inequalities.

  • peace, justice and strong institutions.

In the Justice League’s first two years, its educational presentations that make the case for action to address the racial wealth gap have led to:

  • three events where white congregants apologized to descendants of enslaved African Americans for the sin of slavery and complicity in the misbelief of white supremacy. One event was at the Michigan capitol on the federal holiday Juneteenth, June 19, 2023.

  • donations of more than $300,000, primarily by white houses of worship, to a reparations endowed fund that will soon provide grants that support home ownership, education and entrepreneurship for descendants of enslaved African Americans within Greater Lansing.

Others recognized as a 2023 Global Goals – Local Leader at the Oct. 22 event are State Sen. Sarah Anthony; LeRoy Harvey, Meridian Township environmental programs coordinator; and State Rep. Kara Hope

The event, hosted by the UNA Greater Lansing Chapter and International Studies & Programs at Michigan State University, commemorates the founding of the U.N. in 1945.

About Greater Lansing Chapter of the United Nations Association of the USA

Greater Lansing Chapter was formed in 1959 to support the United Nations. It is one of more than 200 U.S. chapters and more than 1,000 international chapters. The voluntary membership organization provides education about U.N. programs and activities, including the UNA’s ambitious commitment to achieve its 17 sustainable development goals by 2030, and advocates for support from political leaders.


Partners include MSU International Studies & Programs, Peace Education Center, Lansing Area Friends Committee for National Legislation, Michigan Peace Alliance, Zonta clubs, Intercultural Association of Michigan and various faith communities. The chapter also coordinates with UNA Greater Detroit Chapter and United Nations Association of Michigan State University. More information is at https://gluna.org.


About Justice League of Greater Lansing Michigan

This 501(c)(3) non-profit organization was founded in 2021 to repair the breach caused by the historical damage of slavery and its aftermath. The solution is a faith-based model of reparations.


In the spirit of repentance for the sin of racism, the Justice League builds relationships and facilitates reparations between houses of worship and collaborative partners with the goal of closing the racial wealth gap that exists between Black and white residents in Greater Lansing. This specifically means increasing wealth equity for descendants of enslaved African Americans. Financial reparations will support home ownership, education and entrepreneurship. More information is at www.JusticeLeagueGLM.org.

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