1999-11-22 Grand Haven Tribune Alliance has had lots of help

Alliance has had lots of help
Grand Haven Tribune

To the Editor: I would like to thank the Grand Haven Tribune and Gena Olejarczyk for the excellent coverage on 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 Packages for the returning migrant families would not have been possible without the partnership of Lupe Cortez form Robinson School and Mary Mitchell from St. Anthony’s Catholic Church.

While Lupe completed the needs assessment of returning families, Mary ended up housing and disseminating the donate goods. I do not believe Mary or I realized how much response this project would generate, but as the list of needed items grew, St. Anthony’s response grew with it. Mary continues to coordinate the donations and dissemination of goods to migrant families throughout the growing season.

The proposal to the Grand Haven Area Public School 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. Kings’ Holiday through the school.

Yet there 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 current teaching practice is among 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 goals 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

North Ottawa Ethnic Diversity Alliance