The Diversity Initiative of Northwest Ottawa County will host the first of three opportunities for residents to learn about racial bias and its origins. The hour-long lesson starts at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, in Program Room A at Loutit District Library.
Two more sessions will take place, one at noon on Nov. 19 at Loutit District Library, and one at 8 a.m. on Dec. 12 at Spring Lake District Library. Although the sessions are free, attendees must register by visiting the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance’s website.
Gail Harrison, executive director for the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance, said in order to be a more successful and inclusive community, residents need to get involved.
She said they need people who want to learn what gets in the way of best intentions of being a welcoming community.
Harrison said the voices of residents who value diversity needs to be louder given recent acts at Grand Haven High School, when two female biracial students were racially intimidated, and at a Grand Haven apartment complex where someone painted a racial slur on a wall.
“We need to drown them out,” she said.
Harrison said if it isn’t part of residents’ morale code, it should be part of understanding economic sustainability for the country.
By 2018 or 2019, more people of color will be in the work force than Caucasians, Harrison said.
She noted that limited interactions with people of different backgrounds doesn’t change the stereotypes presented in media.
“We need to quite thinking people of color create community dysfunction,” she said.
To read more of this story, see Saturday's print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.