2001-02-07 Grand Haven Tribune Registration closed for upcoming Ottawa Area Summit on Racism

Registration closed for upcoming Ottawa Area Summit on Racism
Grand Haven Tribune

A large rush of people signing up recently to attend next week’s Ottawa Area Summit on Racism at Hope College has forced officials to close registration for the event.

Gail Harrison, executive director of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance, announced Tuesday that no additional registrations will be accepted for the summit, which is scheduled for next Tuesday, Feb 13 from 8am to 4pm.

“We have gone well past our hoped-for number of 400 and now have about 550 people pre-registered for this first-year summit,” she said. “While we would like to accommodate more, we simply won’t be able to in the facilities that are available.”

Just last Friday, when counts were at about 360, Harrison invited area residents to register by phone and even said walk-in registration would be offered at the event. Now Harrison said that only applications postmarked byt eh summit’s Feb 5 deadline will be accepted and phone registrations are now closed. There also will be no walk-in registration offered for the summit.

Harrison explained the change in plans was due to several registrations that poured in for the summit early this week.

“We got 106 registrations on Monday,” said Harrison. “It just really puts us over the top and we got another 50 (Tuesday)”

Harrison explained that LEDA, which is sponsoring the summit, does not want to compromise the quality of the conference by trying to accommodate more people than they planned on.

“We just did not anticipate this number,” Harrison said, adding that this is the first in a five-year plan for these summits. “Hopefully next year we will be able to accommodate a larger number. The first year is always a tough year.”

Despite LEDA not expecting this large response, Harrison said they are definitely excited about it and hope that the community interest is stemming from having an opportunity to address racial issues.

“By providing people with an opportunity to actually get involved in working in our community on race relations, people are responding and I also think we have some wonderful speakers coming,” she said. Although she added that no one has asked if they could just attend to hear the speakers. Everyone has registered for a workshop as well.

Seven workshops will be offered in business, government, health care, faith communities, education, community and media. Participants will develop strategies for overcoming racial barriers in each of those fields over the next year.

Harrison said that anyone who cannot attend the summit will still be able to participate in the workshop action teams and help implement the strategies. She said those who are interested can contact LEDA at 846-9074 and let them know which action team they are interested in.