The country’s struggle with racism will be discussed in two virtual community conversations sponsored by Willard Library during October.

“Community Conversation: Black, Indigenous, People of Color Series” be moderated by Tynisha Dungey, Willard youth services manager, and Kimberly Holley, of the Battle Creek Community Foundation.

“Due to the untimely deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, racial tensions have heightened, and the country's continued struggle with racism is again in the forefront of our minds,” Dungey said. “Willard gathered a panel of local experts for a discussion, which will likely continue in coming months.”

The panelists will discuss how traumatic images in the media affect mental health, how to have conversations with children about law enforcement, and how to effectively speak up against racial injustices in our homes, at work, and in the community.

The panelists will be:

  • Damon Brown, of the Rise Program
  • Devon Gibson, a community leader
  • Tamara Jamierson, Lakeview Middle School principal
  • Dr. Elishae Johnson, of Bronson HelpNet
  • Anthony Lewis, of the Michigan Department of Civil Rights
  • Carey Whitfield, of the Battle Creek NAACP

The Zoom meeting will be on Thursday, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m. Participants need to register at tinyurl.com/WLCommunityConversation to receive details on how to access the meeting.

Dungey said, “What excites me most about this program is it furthers Willard's work towards diversity, equity and inclusion.”

The second Community Conversation will be a virtual, weekly discussion of the book ‘Raising White Kids" by Jennifer Harvey.

The book is "a guide for families, educators, and communities to raise their children to be able and active anti-racist allies."

The goal is to equip parents with effective strategies to begin having difficult conversations about race and motivate them to do the work, said Alisha Daugherty, a Willard youth services librarian.

Daugherty and Nicole Rinckey, an early childhood education specialist at the Calhoun Intermediate School District, will be the moderators. The meetings will be Tuesdays, Oct. 6, 13, 20, and 27, at 6 p.m.  Participants may register at willardlibrary.org, and they will receive the link to Google Hangouts.

“Libraries are for everyone, and so is this book club. All voices are welcome and needed; we are all affected,” Daugherty said.

The book is available from the library or may be downloaded from Hoopla.

Registration is limited to 10.

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