Local arts group to host presentation and film screening from anti-bigotry activist

Although they’re best known for their classes and workshops, Mt. Pleasant-based arts organization Art Reach of Mid Michigan often provides many other kinds of programming for the community.

That will be evident on the evening of Thursday, Oct. 10, when Art Reach welcomes writer and social advocate Greg R. Baird to town. The event, which begins at 7 p.m., is free and open to the public.

Baird, known nationally for his LGBTQ and anti-bullying speeches, will be presenting Disarming Hate and Bigotry: Building an Accepting & Inclusive Community. Baird will lead a multimedia lecture and interactive discussion about hate and bigotry in the community, schools, work, and the internet.

A major topic will be the mass shooting at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, Florida, that occurred on June 12, 2016. The mass shooting left 49 people dead and wounded 53 others. Baird directed and edited the short film 2:02 A.M. about the shooting, which will accompany the presentation.

"Art Reach is an organization that involves artists on the creative spectrum that, especially when they’re younger, can often be misunderstood," says Amy Powell, executive director of Art Reach of Mid Michigan.

"This is a good fit for us and for him, as well."

Powell says she’s known Baird for many years, going back to a time when they both lived and worked in Petoskey. When she saw that he was going to be in northern Michigan, she jumped at the chance to host the Central Michigan University graduate.

"We’re excited to bring Greg to town and potentially draw a big crowd. This is a topic that is very prevalent right now," Powell says.

Admission to the event is first come-first serve, and Powell recommends getting there early to get a seat.

Art Reach of Mid Michigan is located at 111 E. Broadway St. in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

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