Hope College will host the sixth annual "Calling All Colors" racial unity conference of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance on Tuesday, Oct. 9.
Nearly 200 students from 14 Ottawa and Muskegon county middle schools will come together for diversity dialogues and activity workshops. The purpose is to increase students' awareness of stereotyping and its effects, to offer a safe place to discuss feelings about race and race relations, to learn about different points of view, and to expose students to a college campus. The students will also be provided an opportunity to discuss how sensitivity to diversity is necessary during the current national crisis.
Hope College President James E. Bultman will welcome the students to campus, and the event's keynote speaker will be Dr. Fred L. Johnson III, assistant professor of history at Hope. To give the young teens a global perspective, international students at Hope will lead music, games and dance workshops demonstrating aspects of their cultures.
Hosts are the college's Office of Multicultural Life and Office of the Provost. It is the third time that the event has been held on the Hope campus.
After the October 9 conference in Holland, students will work on racial harmony action plans at their own schools and attend a follow-up conference at Grand Valley State University in Allendale.
Ortencia Ruiz, conference coordinator, said that teens at previous conferences have called the event "awesome, cool, educational"; others have said they appreciated "being around many kinds of people and having fun; getting a chance to express our ideas and get them out in the open."
The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance is a grassroots group that works to promote racial harmony through education, advocacy, support networks and celebrations. It began organizing the area's Calling All Colors conference in 1996.
Middle schools participating in this year's event are:
Black River, Holland Bunker, Muskegon Fruitport Holland East Holland West Lakeshore, Grand Haven Macatawa Bay, West Ottawa Muskegon Heights Reeths-Puffer, Muskegon Spring Lake St. Mary Catholic, Spring Lake Steele, Muskegon Walden Green, Spring Lake White Pines, Grand Haven