This year’s Summit on Race and Inclusion focuses on ‘Power of Belonging!’

The Summit on Race and Inclusion is returning for its 18th year on June 7.

Organized by the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance (LEDA), the all-day gathering will be a hybrid event, allowing attendees to participate in person at Hope College or virtually. 

This year’s theme, “The Power of Belonging!,” explores how and why it is more important than ever to pull together and unite for real and lasting change toward equity and justice for everyone in the lakeshore communities, says Gloria Lara, executive director of LEDA.

"We're looking forward to the summit and all the different varieties of people that come to listen, to learn, and to engage with each other to keep the conversations going. This community is really focused on how to listen to and discuss with each other and how to accept different ideas," Lara says. 

Breakout sessions and ‘Black Man’ documentary
The summit, which runs from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., provides a unique daylong opportunity to engage with leaders in regional communities and the state. Morning and afternoon breakout sessions will address essential workers in our food cycle, historical systems that shaped Black America, how to become a freedom fighter, discussions regarding the “Black Man” documentary, and more. Also, a panel of area youth will discuss their experiences and hopes for the future.

The summit will show the documentary “Black Man,” produced by Muskegon native Jon Covington, about Black men in Muskegon County. The documentary tells the stories of 32 Black men ages 21 to 91, sharing their thoughts on life, love, longings, losses, and America. Following the showing will be a short discussion with Covington.  

There will be a panel discussion about Business Perspectives on Inclusion, moderated by Jennifer Owens, president of Lakeshore Advantage. Leading business executives will discuss their perspectives and their organizations’ inclusion journey.

Presenters and registration

Other presenters include:
  • Tracee Bruce, senior program manager healthcare sales, MillerKnoll; 
  • Denise Kingdom Grier, mobilization and renewal pastor, Mars Hill Bible Church
  • Omar Cuevas, vice president of investor and corporate relations, Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Teresa Hendricks, executive director/senior litigator, Migrant Legal Aid
  • Kim Nagy, interim executive director, Ottawa Integrity PAC
  • Emily Williams, executive director, Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership, Kalamazoo College
  • Cheryl Kern, vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), MillerKnoll
Individuals and organizations can register for the 2023 Summit on Race and Inclusion: The Power of Belonging! here

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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.