1999-10-22 Grand Haven Tribune "Alliance has had lots of help"


Alliance has had lots of help
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Grand Haven Tribune

I would like to thank the Grand Haven Tribune and Gena Olejarczyk for the excellent coverage of the work of the North Ottawa Ethnic Diversity Alliance. Our efforts are greatly enhanced by the commitment from our local media to disseminate such information. As no organization can accomplish much if working in a vacuum, the Alliance attempts to work in concert with other concerned sectors of our community. I would like to acknowledge those partnerships that made the accomplishments identified in Gena's article possible.

The Welcoming Packets fro the returning migrant families would not have been possible without the partnership of Lupe Cort from Robinson School and Mary Mitchell from St. Anthony's Catholic Church. While Lupe completed the needs assessments of returning families, Mary ended up housing and disseminating the donated goods. I do not believe Mary or I realized how much this project would generate, but as the list of needed items grew, St. Anthony's response grew with it. Mary continues to coordinate the donation and dissemination of goods to migrant families throughout the growing season.

The proposal to the Grand Haven Area Public Schools to legitimize the celebration of Martin Luther King day was inspired by an Intolerance Forum coordinated by the 10th grade English class of Trudy Schultz. The question was asked of Rick Kent, why don't we as a district, celebrate this national holiday. A subsequent survey of students indicated many had never celebrated Dr. King's Holiday through the school. Yet these are numerous teachers in the district who do recognize King's contributions and we applaud those efforts. In addition to interweaving applicable benchmarks, compiling resources and historical timelines, a survey is also being completed to identify current teaching practices around this holiday. Those survey results will be disseminated throughout the district to help other educators design their own recognition. We thank Melinda Brink, assistant superintendent of curriculum, for embracing this effort. It is our goal to see all children in our district learn of the great contributions of Dr. King. 

Finally, we are HOPEFUL that Hope College will sponsor the Ottawa County Summit on Racism and we are currently in negotiation. Be assured, you will all be invited.

Gail Harrison, Executive Director
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