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Hope Will Host Ottawa Area Summit
On Racism on Tuesday, Feb. 13

Posted January 25, 2001

HOLLAND -- On Tuesday, Feb. 13, Hope College will host an area-wide summit designed to help remove racial barriers in the community.

The all-day "Ottawa Area Summit on Racism" will begin at 8 a.m. in Dimnent Memorial Chapel, and will continue until 4 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance, will include opening and closing keynote addresses by two nationally known civil rights leaders, as well as planning workshops for all participants.

The campus community is invited. Admission is $15, including lunch.

The opening keynote address will be presented by Dr. Gregory H. Williams, who is dean of the Ohio State University College of Law and author of "Life on the Color Line: The True Story of a White Boy Who Discovered He was Black." The closing keynote will be by Dr. Juan Andrade Jr., who is president of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute in Chicago, Ill.

Williams, a law professor for 22 years, is immediate past president of the Association of American Law Schools. In 1999, he was named the first recipient of the National Bar Association's "A. Leon Higginbotham Jr. Award for Contributions to the Preservation and Promotion of Human and Civil Rights." His best-selling autobiography has received several awards and will be made into a movie.

Andrade has headed the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute since 1982. The institute educates the public about Hispanic issues and politics, trains public officials in local development programs, advocates for policies supported by Hispanics, and conducts research on Hispanic social, economic and political demographics. He has received a number of awards, and worked with government and community leaders in Mexico and countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean.

All who attend will be asked to participate in one of the summit's seven workshops, which will focus on business, community, education, faith communities, government, health care and the media. The workshop teams will develop strategies that can be put into action to overcome racial barriers in the community.

"Creating an inclusive community depends on all of us," said Gail Harrison, who is executive director of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance (LEDA). "We will go away from the summit knowing specific steps we can take to make our towns places where all are respected and valued."

Ottawa County is becoming increasingly diverse as a community. For example, between 1990 and 1998, the number of Hispanics in the county increased more than 40 percent while the Asian population jumped by more than 55 percent and the African-American population grew by 30 percent.

The summit is the beginning of a five-year initiative dedicated to fostering racial inclusion in the Ottawa County area. The event follows town meetings held in Holland and in Grand Haven on September 28 and November 2 respectively, and a related leadership conference held at Hope on December 8.

Registration forms for the Tuesday, Feb. 13, summit may be obtained by calling (616) 846-9074, or from the event's web site.

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