2010-01-08 The Holland Sentinel "2010 Summit on Racism bringing Tatum, Campolo"

2010 Summit on Racism bringing Tatum, Campolo
Author of “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?” to speak
The Holland Sentinel

Holland, MI —

Organizers are hoping the 2010 Summit on Racism will bring people together — and not just for one day.

Nationally recognized authors Tony Campolo and Beverly Tatum will help the local community toward that goal, says Gale Harrison, executive director of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance.

“There’s just incredible excitement about both of them,” Harrison said. “What we really want from this summit is to help people understand what are some things that are critical for us as a region to help foster inclusion.”

The 2010 Summit on Racism is planned for May 20 at Hope College. The first summit was in 2001 and continued annually until 2006. Now, it’s put on every other year.

Harrison said the first summit relied on participants to develop their own action plans, but now the community has programs and groups to help individuals make progress.

“Rather than ask people to design something new, we’re plugging people into existing work,” Harrison said.

Summit planner Roberto Jara, director of the Latin Americans United for Progress, said some might not recognize local racial issues, but minorities experience them every day.

“We’re not bitter people shouting on street corners, but we want to respectfully communicate the issues that we face,” he said. “Most people are good-hearted and willing to listen, and that’s who we want to bring to the summit.”

This year’s first keynote speaker, Tatum, is the author of “Can We Talk About Race?” and “Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”

She is likely to share ideas on how to develop a comfortable environment for racial harmony, Harrison said.

Campolo has written 35 books, and also hosts Christian television and radio programs.

Robyn Afrik, Good Samaritan program director and LEDA board member, said the summit hopes to bring an honest conversation about race the Holland area’s large faith community.

“We’re engaging the faith community to really ask, ‘What is our responsibility and how do we get other faith communities involved?’” she said.

Other breakout sessions will focus on the education, business and government communities.

A conversation on race is never easy, so Afrik says bringing in thoughtful, well-known speakers helps get it started.

“We get a great, huge showing because we engage with very educated people who can show the realities of how race effects our community,” she said.

Registration for the 2010 summit will begin in the spring. The cost will likely be $20 per participant and include lunch, Harrison said.

“I don’t think we’ll want to go above that just because the economy is so horrible,” she said.