Chaos in the air on racial discrimination one week before activist comes to speak

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Fountain Street Church is just across the street from the Grand Rapids Community College Main Building.

By Jennifer Lugo – Collegiate Staff

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren was asked to leave the podium in the middle of her speech. Next week, Dr. Consuela Ward, educator and author, who believes that this particular incident is but one of many that can bring about change will be coming to Grand Rapids to speak at Grand Rapids Community College Diversity Lecture Series.

“This moment is ripe for revolution,” Ward said. “Systemic issues of race, class, and gender were not created monolithically, and therefore must be addressed with methods that are multi-dimensional, multi-layered, and multi-directional.”

According to Dr. Consuela Ward’s website, “She is a visionary and an activist for healing from issues relating to systemic discrimination and marginalization, and has the ability to educate, empower, and excite audiences.”

Ward will be speaking out about her book “On Healing Black Girl Pain,” at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St NE.

The educator will take the stage with approximately 20 years of speaking experience behind her. Her topic comes at a time when racial inequality and women’s rights are hot topics for discussion.

While the Senate was discussing whether or not Jeff Sessions should take office as U.S. Attorney General, Warren, Senator of Massachusetts, said that she wanted to read a letter from King, wife of Martin Luther King, Jr. Before she read the letter sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee about the nomination of Jeff Sessions for the position of Federal Judge in 1986, she was told to leave for the remainder of that debate. Sessions was sworn in as Attorney General of the U.S. the next evening.

King’s statement was powerful, describing voter restriction, when Sessions was U.S. Attorney in the southern district of Alabama.

King said, “The actions taken by Mr. Sessions, in regards to the 1984 voter fraud prosecutions, represent just one more technique used to intimidate black voters, and thus deny them this precious franchise.”

The letter Warren referred to was a formal statement from King. Although it may have been what led to Sessions’ denial for the position of Federal Judgeship, it  wasn’t put in public record.

When Ward, speaker and educator comes to Grand Rapids, she hopes to speak on change and help Grand Rapids create the environment she describes in her website -“safe spaces around diversity, inclusion, equity, and privilege.”

“One lost battle will never stop the show if we are looking to win the war,” Ward said. “Rather let’s use it as contagious inspiration to move forward.”

The free lecture open to the public will take place at  7 p.m. on Feb. 22, at Fountain Street Church.

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