Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Greetings from Ottawa County’s Cultural Intelligence Committee
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  This is federal holiday which marks the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. and was established back in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan.

Then, as now, many felt an uncertainty in the direction of our country as the country was ripe with the fear of racism and inequality.

On August 28, 1963, Dr. King gave a speech that’s widely referred to as the “I Have a Dream” speech.  Every once in a while, an individual comes along whose words lift us, inspire us to be a better, to view the world not as it is, but what it can be.  That speech holds a special meaning, not just singularly as individuals, but collectively as a nation.

The links below will direct you to that speech.  The entire speech is about 17 minutes long. The portion heard most often is bout 6 ½ minutes long.  Hit the link below.  We hope you take the time to listen and be inspired.


Lakeshore Latinas Unite Community

The West Coast Chamber’s January 2017 Connect magazine features Juanita Bocanegra, who currently works for the Ottawa County Prosecutor’s office as an assistant prosecuting attorney. View the magazine. The article is on pages four and five of the publication. (Image below from the West Coast Chamber of Commerce.)


Upcoming Diversity & Multicultural Events

Thurs, Dec 29, 6:30 pm: Annual Kwanzaa Celebration 
The greater Holland community is invited to celebration Kwanzaa, jointly hosted by Maple Avenue Ministries, Pillar Church, Fellowship Reformed Church, Zion Dominion International Ministries, Calvary Reformed Church, and Engedi. Contributions will be accepted for the annual Black Graduate scholarships for graduating seniors. At Maple Avenue Ministries, 427 Maple Ave, Holland.

Fri, Dec 30, 3 pm to 6 pm: Unconferenced Community Conversation: Dialogue and Break-out Sessions 
 to Community Conversation held in the fall of 2016 to discuss local issues and solutions. Panelists will be ACLU field director Rodd Mont; attorney Timothy Vanderberg; and community activist Germaine Pellebon-Smith; facilitated by Kim Harris of AAADO. Everyone is welcome. At Herrick District Library auditorium, 300 South River, Holland.

Community Opportunity: Reciprocal Language Partnership
The Reciprocal Language Partnership (RLP) seeks to build unity and cross-cultural understanding through the teaching and learning of languages. RLP classes pair native English speakers who want to learn Spanish with native Spanish speakers who want to learn English. Class fee is on a sliding scale based on household income. Winter 2017 classes will run Tuesdays from 6 pm to 8:15 pm, Jan 17 to Apr 18, with instruction for basic beginners and one for higher-level beginners. Classes and informational meetings (see below) are held at Eagle’s Wings Church/Iglesia Alas de Aguila, 635 Riley St, Holland. Questions? Call Rachel Patmos at (616) 738-3850. Prospective students must attend one of the following meetings before enrolling in RLP:
Tues, Jan 3, 6 to 7 pm: native English speakers and 7 to 8 pm: native Spanish speakers OR Tues, Jan 10, 6 to 7 pm: native English speakers and 7 to 8 pm: native Spanish speakers

Sat, Feb 4, 2017, 5 pm: Annual Heart 2 Heart Community Celebration
A Potluck and Cultural Sharing Party, hosted by the Alliance for Cultural and Ethnic Harmony (ACEH). Music, performances, silent auction, family activities, fabulous food, fun, fellowship. Everyone is welcome! At First United Methodist Church, 57 West 10th St, Holland.

Information From the Alliance for Cultural and Ethnic Harmony: “Diversity, Unity, and Justice Are at the Heart of ACEH”

Upcoming Multicultural Events

In the community from the Alliance for Cultural and Ethnic Harmony: “Diversity, Unity, and Justice Are at the Heart of ACEH”

Fri, Oct 7, 8 am-4 pm: The State of Latinos in West Michigan.  Conference to address issues (health and wellness, business, education) that face Latinos, including resources and assets to help resolve issues.  Free. Hosted by Julian Samora Research Institute at MSU and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, with others.  Go to for info and a link to register.  (Registration by Sept. 30 is suggested.)   At Kroc Center, 2500 South Division Ave SW, Grand Rapids.

Mon, Oct 10, 1 pm to 4:30 pm: Race, Poverty and Policy: Creating an Equitable Michigan. Keynoter: Rinku Sen, CEO of Race Forward: The Center for Racial Justice Innovation.  Breakouts: Solutions for Cities in Crisis; Government’s Role in Achieving Racial Equity; The Next Move: Taking Equitable Action for Change; From Watchdog to Dog-Whistle: Media’s Role in Reporting on Race; The Business Case for Race Equity.  No charge to attend, but reservations requested; contact (517) 487-4546 or   Annual forum of Michigan League for Public Policy.  At Radisson Hotel, 111 North Grand Ave, Lansing.

Fri, Oct 14, 6:45 pm:  Documentary “Our Fires Still Burn: The Native American Experience,” featuring four contemporary individuals in the Midwest.  Free, open to all.  Co-sponsored by Alliance for Cultural and Ethnic Harmony (ACEH) and Encounter with Cultures program at Hope College.  Discussion, refreshments.  At Winants Auditorium, Graves Hall, College Ave at 11th St, Holland.








2016 Hispanic Festival

The Hispanic Festival  is our premier annual celebration of the rich heritage of the community!  The 39th edition is free of charge and will take place on Calder Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan from Friday, August 26 through Sunday, August 28 and include:

  • Latin American food and beverages
  • Mercado
  • Constellation Brands beer tent
  • Kids Activities Area
  • Community Resources Tent
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network 3v3 Futsal Tournament (Saturday/Sunday)
  • McDonald’s Fiesta Tour (Saturday/Sunday)

Upcoming Multicultural Events

From the Alliance for Cultural and Ethnic Harmony: “Diversity, Unity, and Justice Are at the Heart of ACEH”

Fri, Sept 9, 4 pm to 7:30 pm:  Film (4 – 6:30 pm): “From Jim Crow to Barack Obama,” followed by discussion with filmmaker Denise Ward-Brown of Washington University, St. Louis.  Reception (6 – 7:30 pm).  At Hope College De Pree Art Museum, Columbia Ave at 11th St, Holland.  (Events are related to the college’s exhibit of selected artifacts from the Jim Crow Museum at Ferris State University; collection is titled “Hateful Things” and runs from Aug 26 to Oct 7; gallery is open 10 am-5 pm M-Sat and 1-5 pm Sun.)

Tues, Sept 13, 7:30 pm: Thirty-minute ensemble presentation “A Simple Question,” by The Ebony Road Players, a group of five women. Celebrates the landmark court case overturning miscegenation laws “and how things have (or haven’t) changed since then”; a kaleidoscope of stories about interracial love and marriage in the U.S. beginning with Richard and Mildred Loving and moving to real experiences in the present day. Co-sponsored by departments at Hope College in connection with “Hateful Things” artifacts exhibit (see previous entry).  At DeWitt Studio Theater, DeWitt Center, Columbia Ave at 11th St, Holland.

Thurs, Sept 15, 7 pm: Opening event of the 16th annual Tulipanes Latino Art and Film Festival (which runs Sept 15 – Sept 25 in Holland):  Concert by Mariachi Flor de Toloache, female mariachi band and Latin Grammy Nominee.  Members are from diverse cultural backgrounds and their music creates a mixture of traditional and modern.  $15 adults; $5 students, Hope College ticket office 100 E. 8th St or call (616) 395-7890.  At Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts auditorium, 221 Columbia Ave between 9th & 10th Sts, Holland.

Alliance for Cultural & Ethnic Harmony potluck

Mark your calendars | Sunday | August 14 | 1- 4 pm

18th annual Potluck in the Park hosted by the Alliance for Cultural and Ethnic Harmony (ACEH)

Bring a dish to share from your culture, and a lawn chair or blanket for extra seating. ACEH provides beverages and table service and fun activities. Come enjoy music, activities for all ages, pie-eating contest, musical tiles, prizes, and more.  Invite family, neighbors, friends, co-workers, people new to West Michigan.  Info at 396-2201.  At Dunton Park: North on River Ave, across the Unity Bridge, then west on Douglas/Ottawa Beach Rd, Holland, then left to Howard Ave, and turn right to the park.  The Potluck will be in the large pavilion. More about ACEH:

June cultural events

Thanks to the Cultural Intelligence Team who assembled this list of upcoming events:

Tues, June 14, 1 pm:  Juneteenth film: “Home Stretch,” followed by panel discussion.  At Fried-Hemenway auditorium, Martha Miller Center, Hope College, Columbia Ave at 9th St, Holland.

Tues, June 14, 5 pm to 10:15 pm: Juneteenth film: “Souls of a Black Girl,” and In the Tradition jazz ensemble with Olujimi Tafasona and DJ Henry Ford Thin-Spin Productions.  Fireworks.  At Kollen Park, Lake Macatawa, Holland.

Thurs, June 16, 10 am and 1:30 pm:  US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) holding 2 swearing-in ceremonies for new US citizens from many countries.  Each ceremony lasts about an hour, followed by a small reception hosted by the library.  At Loutit District Library, 407 Columbus Ave, Grand Haven.

Thurs, June 16, 6:30 pm:  Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance (LEDA) 20-Year Celebration.  Includes 20-year reflection; special recognition of Jim Brooks, Dorothy Johnson, and Bob Woodrick; international foods; local drinks.  $50 (some volunteer opportunities available, to attend at no cost).  RSVP by June 9 to  For more info, call (616) 846-9074.  At Midtown Center, 96 West 15th, Holland.

Thurs, June 16, 6:30 pm:  Juneteenth Celebration play: Power 2 Be presents “Going Back into Motown.”  Free; donations requested.  At Holland Civic Theatre, 50 West 9th St, Holland.

Fri, June 17, 5 pm to 8 pm: Juneteenth Pageant, with Mika Perry Fashion Show; guest speaker Kim Harris.  $25.  Tickets available online through  At Martha Miller Center, Hope College, Columbia Ave at 9th St, Holland.

Sat, June 18, 1 pm to 8 pm:  16th Holland Juneteenth Commemorative Festival & Health Fair.  Keynote speaker Floyd Cook; Angela Cunningham of WZZM 13 reads Emancipation Proclamation; Mika Perry Fashion Show; Night Fire Drumline; Isaac Norris Project; Serita Black Rose; Hotpoynt Band; Nae Ankh; Julius Hight; Re-Birth; others.  Children’s activities; information tables, including ACEH; food for purchase.  Kim Harris, president of AAADO, will be the emcee.  At Kollen Park, Lake Macatawa, Holland.

Friday, June 24, 7 pm at Park Theatre, and Saturday, June 25, 11 am, 3 pm, 7 pm at Holland Civic Theatre: PRIDE Film Festival, showing four films.  Free. Sponsored by OUT on the Lakeshore, a collaborative of Holland Pride, Holland is Ready, and PFLAG Holland/Lakeshore.  There will not be an outdoor event this year.

Thurs, July 7, 7 pm:  Documentary, “Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot,” the story of courageous young African Americans, their teachers, and others and the struggle in the South to obtain the right to vote.  Free. Hosted by the Alliance for Cultural and Ethnic Harmony (ACEH) with TRIO/Upward Bound at Hope College.  Information on how to register to vote.  At Graves Hall, Hope College, College Ave at 11th St, Holland.

Registration is now open for the Summit on Race & Inclusion

What happens when barriers are removed and inclusion is put into action? Find out May 17 when national experts present genuine examples of how intentional change transforms all lives for the better. Presenters will also offer strategies and proven best practices on how you can put inclusion into action by promoting diversity and equity in your organization, neighborhood, community, and beyond.


  • Aaron Dworkin, Dean of the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre and Dance and founder of The Sphinx Organization
  • Randall Goosby, Violinist, Sphinx Organization alumnus and Juilliard student

Sector-Specific Experts

  • Arts:  Aaron Dworkin, University of Michigan
  • Business: Mark King, Kellogg Company
  • Community: Dushaw Hockett, SPACE’s Project
  • Education: Valeria Silva, St. Paul Public Schools
  • Faith: Rev. Deth Im, PICO
  • Government & Public Policy: Glenn Harris, Center for Social Inclusion
  • Health: Dr. Simin Naz Beg, Spectrum Health

Click here to register online today!

Click here to learn more about Summit 2016 and the speakers

Click here to download the Summit e-brochure

Information Courtesy of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance | 616.846.9074

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Library Black History Month

Program reveals West Michigan involvement with Underground Railroad in 1800s

Lakeshore Museum Center Program Manager Jackie Huss will share photographs and stories about West Michigan residents who played key roles in the Underground Railroad and helped lead the fight against slavery.

Learn about abolitionist Jonathan Walker, known as “The Man with the Branded Hand”, Whitehall-area pioneers Mary and Abner Bennett, former slave and abolitionist Sojourner Truth, and more.

This program will be held Thursday, Feb. 4 in LDL’s Program Room A from 7-8:30 p.m. No registration is required. For more information, visit or call 616-842-5560, ext. 200.