Living Sustainably: Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance’s Summit on Race and Inclusion

By Alice Jasper, Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance
The United States is experiencing an unprecedented change in the country’s racial demographics.
The U.S Census estimates that by the 2060, non-Hispanic whites will be in the minority and, as a result, many organizations and communities are seeking ways to foster diversity and inclusion.

Moving the needle on racial equity is no longer solely dependent on the advocacy of nonprofit and social justice organizations. Key sectors across the board such as community affairs, business and commerce, government and policy, healthcare, education, and faith are quickly learning that cultural intelligence and inclusion are imperative to success.
And enhancing vital and effective communities helps build sustainable communities.

Past Summits have hosted capacity crowds of business people, educators, health professionals, government officials and others.

Businesses, for example, benefit by improving their recruitment practices and retention rates, and stand to gain from engaging multicultural consumers as they tap into the increasing spending power of people of color. Healthcare professionals are better equipped to treat patients when they have a holistic understanding of the systemic and environmental factors that impact physical and mental health outcomes. Educators who encourage inclusivity in their classrooms are seeing higher rates of student engagement and success.
Unfortunately, there is not a “one size fits all” strategy for implementing racial equity and inclusion practices, because systemic barriers to equity impact various organizations and institutions differently. To generate authentic inclusion, and advance racial equity, solutions must be tailored to address the unique challenges of a community or industry.
Toward that end, the 2018 Summit on Race and Inclusion will feature multiple breakout sessions designed to consider sector-specific solutions to implementing racial equity and cultural intelligence.
The Summit is an annual event organized by the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance to examine the effects of racial disparities and present strategies for their elimination. The Summit annually attracts hundreds of participants from across the state to learn from nationally recognized speakers. This year’s
Summit will be held May 15 on the Hope College campus.

This year’s Summit keynote speaker is Dr. Joy DeGruy, who will address multigenerational impacts of systemic oppression and institutionalized racism.

This year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Joy Degruy, is an expert in the transgenerational trauma of African Americans. She will speak to the importance of applying culturally responsive intervention in the field of social work.
The breakout sessions will focus on different sectors of society: community, business, government and policy, healthcare, education, and faith. Each session will feature speakers with expertise in applying inclusion strategies to that sector.
West Michigan community members who are looking to learn more about overcoming challenges to racial equity and inclusion are invited to attend this year’s Summit for a day filled with insightful discussion and community reflection, with respect to some of today’s most pressing social issues.
 Alice Jasper is associate program director at the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance.

Summit on Race and Inclusion: Advancing Equity
Where: Hope College
When: 8:15 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 15, 2018

More Information/Register:

This Week’s Sustainability Framework Theme
Community & Neighborhood: The places we live and the individuals we interact with support the development of our personalities and perspectives on life. Encouraging vital and effective communities is essential.

Living Sustainably is a collection of community voices sharing updates about local sustainability initiatives. It is presented by the Holland-Hope College Sustainability Institute, a joint project of Hope College, the City of Holland and Holland Board of Public Works. Go to for more information.