Celebrating Black History Month on the Lakeshore

Black History Month recognizes the accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans and asks all to pause to recognize the historical and ongoing struggle for equality. The Lakeshore offers several opportunities to celebrate Black History Month while maintaining social distancing.

GRPL Black History Month Storytime

The Grand Rapids Public Library will celebrate Black History Month with special storytimes at 10 a.m. Saturdays, Feb 13, 20, and 27. Each virtual storytime features books with Black characters or written by Black authors. Kids will be able to participate in sing-alongs. Parents will hear early literacy tips from a GRPL librarian. The events are all free and available on the library's Facebook page and YouTube channel.

ACEH Exploring Vaccine Skepticism in the Black Community

The Alliance for Cultural and Ethnic Harmony virtual series Racial Disparities in Health Care — Digging Deeper will continue with "Exploring Vaccine Skepticism in the Black Community" from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Feb 21.

Panelists will be three African American health care and science experts who will discuss the historical and current reasons Blacks may be hesitant to receive COVID-19 vaccines and who will provide reliable information, so people can make informed decisions about their health. 

Dr. Gerald Griffin is a neuroscientist and virologist as well as a Hope College professor. ltheia Johnson is a recently retired MSN and registered nurse practitioner with more than 25 years of experience. Dr. Peter Knoester is a board-certified anesthesiologist with Spectrum Health. Viola Jackson-Cleveland will be the moderator.

“COVID-19 significantly affects Black communities, with a very high percentage of people who have died from this virus,” ACEH President C. J. Kingdom-Grier says. “At the same time, racial disparities in health care, a history of mistreatment during past clinical trials, and fear of the unknown have understandably left many Blacks hesitant to be vaccinated.” 

Register for the free virtual program hosted by ACEH in partnership with the Holland Museum at harmonyalliance.org.

Momentum Center Town Hall series

"Racism and the Justice System" will kick off the Momentum Center’s three-part (Anti) Racism Town Hall discussion series. The virtual program will be 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 22. Panelists Rik Stevenson, University of Florida; Nathan Jones, Escape Ministries; and Timothy Steward, This is the Situation podcast, will discuss the history of mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline. The second half of the event will include Q&A and Zoom breakout sessions (app required).

Register for the free virtual program at momentumcentergh.org/town-hall-racism?blm_aid=1527810.
Big Read with Kwame Alexander

NPR contributor and New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander will visit Hope College virtually during the college’s Light for the World to See: A Conversation with Kwame Alexander 2 p.m. on Feb. 26.

Alexander brings attention to African American experiences through his writing, which has been called “a rap session on race.”

His newest book is "Light for the World to See: A Thousand Words on Race and Hope." His virtual visit to Hope College is hosted by NEA Big Read Lakeshore, Black Student Union, Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Jack Ridl Visiting Writers Series, and others. Register for the free virtual event at bigreadlakeshore.com/event/light-for-the-world-to-see-a-conversation-with-kwame-alexander/.

Alexander is a poet, educator, and New York Times Bestselling author of 28 books, including "The Undefeated," "Swing," and "Rebound," the follow-up to his Newbery Medal-winning novel, "The Crossover."

He has received numerous awards, including the Coretta Scott King Author Honor, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Prize, three NAACP Image Award Nominations, and the inaugural Conroy Legacy Award in 2017.