Detroit- and Holland-based organizations to partner on virtual town hall about critical race theory

What’s happening: A virtual town hall is being held on Tuesday, Nov. 16, to discuss critical race theory, exploring what it is, what it isn’t, and the controversies that surround it.

Who’s involved: The panel will be led by Stephen Henderson, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and host of Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson on 101.9 WDET-FM in Detroit. Guest speakers include Dr. Rashawn Ray, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution; Dr. Truman Hudson, Jr., outreach coordinator, instructor, and multiculturalism teacher at Wayne State University; Mary Jane Evink, executive director of Instructional Services for Grand Haven Public Schools; and Hailey Beatty Barton, special education teacher at Grand Haven High School.

East meets west: The town hall is being presented by the Detroit-based racial justice organization New Detroit, Inc. and the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance in Holland, Michigan, a racial equity and inclusion organization on the west side of the state.

Why it’s important: Although the term critical race theory dates back to the 1970s (not to mention the fact that the issues it addresses — systemic racism, chief among them — date back hundreds of years before that), the term has become a cultural lightning rod as of late, with protests of its teaching in public schools popping up throughout the country.

What it actually is: “There is so much controversy about critical race theory that we felt it was imperative to define what it actually is. We are excited to partner with Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance and take this discussion across the state,” says Michael Rafferty, president and CEO of New Detroit, Inc. “This town hall will visit not only what critical race theory is but will take it from theoretical to boots on the ground – which is crucial.”

When & where: The town hall, which is free and open to the public, occurs from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 16. Guests can attend via Zoom (where registration is required) and on both the New Detroit, Inc. and Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance Facebook pages.

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