Diversity Alliance names new director
Gail Harrison, who has been program Coordinator for Higher Horizons since 1991, has been named the first full-time executive director of the Northwest Ethnic Diversity Alliance. Harrison, 46, will assume her new position on February 1. She will be responsible for maintaining the organization’s budget and administering and coordinating its programs.
Sally Zeh, an Ethnic Diversity Alliance board member who was on the selection committee, said Harrison was chosen from a field of 10 applicants. “She is a wonderful choice. She has the passion and a long history of working with ethnic diversity, “Zeh said.
Harrison is one of the founding volunteer members of the alliance. The Ethnic Diversity Alliance was created June 1996. Harrison said she became involved after learning about a Grand Haven black couple who moved out of the area because they felt uncomfortable living here.
Among the events coordinated by Harrison is the annual Calling All colors conference in which middle and junior high school students explore diversity issues and discuss solutions with their classmates. Harrison is also co-chair of the Minority Affairs committee for the North Ottawa Area Community Coalition.
Harrison said she is excited about her new position. “We hope to reach out and create ways to work with organizations on ethnic diversity issues.” She said. Harrison said she plans to work with area churches, school systems, the private sector and the public in developing an awareness of diversity issues.
As coordinator of the Higher Horizons program, Harrison recruited, trained and supervised volunteer mentors for children in need of relationships. She is finishing up a master’s of Public Education Program at Grand Valley State University. Harrison received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Michigan State University and attended Central Michigan University.
Harrison also is urging community members who want to become involved with the Ethnic Diversity Alliance to call 847-1184 for more information.