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Diversity summit planned for next week

Krystle Wagner • May 19, 2017 at 8:00 AM

MUSKEGON — More than 600 people have registered for the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance (LEDA) 2017 Summit on Race and Inclusion, which will take place at the Frauenthal Center in Muskegon from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 23.

The annual summit looks at racial disparities and strategies to eliminate them.

The deadline to register was Thursday.

It’s the first time the summit has taken place in Muskegon. Gail Harrison, executive director and founder of LEDA, said they’ve been working with leaders to build closer ties between Muskegon County and northern Ottawa County.

The event was previously held annually, then biannually. Growing interest has led the summit to become an annual event again, Harrison said.

People from across the state, region and country, and from all field sectors attend the summit, Harrison said.

“It’s important for people to have proven strategies to help us achieve racial equity in all sectors,” she said.

The summit features national experts Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff, Dr. Charles H.F. Davis III, Wayne Boatwright, Ron White, Gloria Cousar, Heather McGhee and Kenyatta Brame.

Participants will engage in break-out sessions with the national speakers on topics such as government and policy, education, health, business, faith, and economic equity.

Goff will present the morning keynote address about policing equity, and Davis will speak about racial equity in education during the afternoon keynote presentation.

Other conferences that bring in speakers of the same caliber cost $1,000 for participants, but Harrison said LEDA has a commitment to keeping the summit affordable while bringing in knowledgeable people who will help participants walk away with the best strategies to put into practice.

Harrison said she believes most people want to do the right thing, but biases from social conditioning and history have an impact on behavior.

With her retirement just a few months away, Harrison said she hopes to see everyone at the summit as a way to say thank you and goodbye.

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