GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Black Impact Collaborative (BIC) hosted the second day of its “The Black Experience” event Saturday at Calvin University.

The day began at 9 a.m. with a variety of activities, like workshops, a COVID-19 memorial walk and a kids’ corner. There was also a vendor expo, which gave people a chance to explore products and services from local businesses and organizations.

The event aimed to elevate the experience of Black people in the Grand Rapids area by highlighting key impact areas.

“So, the Black Collaborative has seven impact areas that help us to do our work. And health and well-being is one of them. And so the health and well-being impact area is the brainchild of The Black Experience,” Senita Lenear, the interim CEO of BIC, said. “Some of the other impact areas are woven throughout the program for The Black Experience — so economic security, incarceration support, supporting our elders, education, offering direct relief and communications platform.”

Dallas Lenear, board chair of The Black Impact Collaborative, told News 8 Wednesday that organizers “wanted to address what is commonly known as the Black tax while also spreading and illuminating Black joy.”

On Saturday, The Black Experience featured several keynote speakers, including entrepreneur, producer and TV personality Melody Shari and Grand Rapids native and financial expert Chris Sain. Both shared their stories and gave advice to improve quality of life.

“The main thing that I wanted my audience to take away from our message today is that they can literally create legacy, generational wealth, break generational curses and really move toward those goals and ambitions that they’ve set out for themselves,” Shari said. “Life brings us challenges, but guess what? We can overcome them.”

Sain spoke about how investing can lead to financial freedom.

“I believe investing is the greatest vehicle for wealth creation,” Sain said. “And so we can embrace it … and immerse ourselves into learning how to trade, learning how to invest, giving ourselves time for the power of compound interest to kind of kick in. I really think it could change your life.”

The Black Experience also hosted a panel focused on incarcerated support. The panel featured representatives of the Grand Rapids Police Department and the BIC Incarcerated Persons Support Team.

The three-day event wraps up Sunday with the Black Experience Jazz Brunch Invasion. Roughly 700 people signed up to attend the weekend event. The organizers hope to hold it again in August of 2024.

For more information, visit BIC’s website or call or call 616.888.8411, ext. 506.