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Pride Center’s Jazz McKinney to speak on the complexities of being a queer, Black, indigenous person


By Anane Badom

Grand Rapids Community College’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI) is hosting a Diversity Lecture Thursday, Feb. 9 in honor of Black History Month featuring keynote Jazz McKinney, the executive director of the Grand Rapids Pride Center. 

 McKinney will be speaking on the “complexities of being a queer, Black, indigenous person.” Erin Mieskowski, the assistant director for the ODEI, said McKinney will discuss their lived experience during their presentation.  

“They have lots of experience with the intersection of being a Black person and an indigenous person as well as having the identity of being a two-spirit person which is something they’ll talk about more in their talk,” Mieskowski said. 

This diversity lecture will offer the campus community an opportunity to learn about the different people in our community and the experiences we all face. Learning more about the people in our community is an essential factor to living in peace and harmony. 

“This program is for anyone who wants to learn and go deeper about Black history and how it has affected folks over the years,” McKinney stated in an email to the Collegiate.  

McKinney’s lecture is scheduled for 4 p.m. Feb. 9 in the Applied Technology Center Auditorium room 168.The ODEI office has many opportunities and events planned throughout the year for students and faculty to learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Mieskowski also invites GRCC students to connect with the ODEI office. 

“We want to know what the students want to know,” Mieskowski said. “We want them to be able to ask the questions and present the topics that folks want to know about. So, we definitely encourage requests and questions and we love those curious conversations!” 

Anyone with requests or topics they would like to learn more about are welcome to reach out to the ODEI office staff by emailing ODEI@grcc.edu, calling (616) 234-3390, or stopping by the office in the Woodrick Center for Equity and Inclusion, Library and Learning Commons, room 119.

To learn more about upcoming ODEI events visit the website

Editors note: Conversation with McKinney was via email.

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