Grand Rapids Community College’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) is kicking off its signature Diversity Lecture Series this week with the first of 13 presentations slated for this semester. The free series will consist of award-winning authors, professors, actors, and many more guest speakers.
Austin Channing Brown, a writer and media producer, will kick off this year’s lecture series with a virtual discussion centered around the concept of standing in the shadow of hope. Brown incorporates humor, pop culture, and storytelling to evoke mental, emotional, and physical actions to bring justice in communities and organizations. The virtual discussion is Tues., Sept. 7 at 6 p.m..
ODEI’s year-round objective is to “identify, unearth, acknowledge, and address institutional practices that are exclusionary and upend a sense of belonging and access for any member of GRCC’s community.” This is done so by supporting students with disparate enrollment and academic completion rates, cultivating empathy and respect among GRCC stakeholders, promoting meaningful changes that are relevant and responsive to the needs of the community GRCC serves, and a handful of other practices.
“Our overarching goal for the year ahead is cultivating equity through an intersectional framework,” GRCC Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer B. Afeni McNeely Cobham stated in a press release.
The month of September will also consist of Emmy Award Winner John Leguizamo (Sept. 15), Marisel Herrera (Sept. 21), and Temple Grandin (Sept. 30).
Leguizamo will lead a keynote address to introduce Latino Heritage Month. As a writer, director, and actor, Leguizamo has continued to work toward a career that withstands categorization. His work in the multimedia field highlights a multitude of genres in a limitless, creative way.
Herrera, a first-generation college student, is a published author, certified life coach, and educational leader with 25 years of experience. Herrera’s messages dive into the importance of education, faith, and community that help shape humans.
Grandin was diagnosed with autism as a child and pursued a career in psychology and animal science. As an advocate for autistic communities, Grandin has also been recognized for her accomplished work in animal welfare, neurology, and philosophy.
ODEI’s diversity lecture series will continue into October and November, and will include two major discussions in January and February of 2022. The guest speakers will consist of Pulitzer-Prize Winner Nikole Hannah-Jones, co-founder of Black Votes Matter LaTosha Brown, indegenous hip-hop artist Arturo Hernandez, and many more.
Individuals can find out more information about the upcoming events and RSVP at this link.