2021 Virtual Summit on Racism
November 12 – 13, 2021
Kalamazoo’s Summit on Racism has since 2004 been a unique and important venue to bring the community together for open dialogue regarding race and to create solutions to eradicate racism. The theme of the 2021 Summit is Reigniting Racial Equity in our Community.
2021 VIRTUAL SUMMIT SCHEDULE
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12
10:00am – 11:30am
Art Presentation by Imo Imeh
A conversation with TRHT and United Way – Equitable Workplace Project
ENTERTAINMENT – Isaiah Thompson Quartet – Presented by the Gilmore Keyboard Festival
6:00pm – 7:30pm
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13
10:00am – 11:30am
BLACK VOTERS MATTER
Presenter: Stephanie Williams
THE IMPORTANCE OF BLACK RACIAL EQUITY
Presenter: Dr. Kenneth Harris
HOUSING DISPARITIES IN KALAMAZOO
Presenters: Stephanie Hoffman & Matt Lager
ENTERTAINMENT – Rootead
6:00pm – 7:30pm
REPARATIONS/CRITICAL RACE THEORY
Dr. Fred Hampton Jr.
Fred Hampton Jr.
President & Chairman of Prisoners of Conscience Committee & the Black Panther Party Cubs
Fred Hampton Jr. Is a American political activist, based in Chicago. He is the president and chairman of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee and the Black Panther Party Cubs. He is the only child of Fred Hampton, the Black Panther Party leader assassinated by police in Chicago in December 1969.
Motivational Speaker, Author & Entrepreneur
Yusef Bunchy Shakur, is well versed in the language and syntax of Black Detroit as an author, educator and neighborhood organizer. Yusef epitomizes redemption from the many lessons he learned from his father whom he met in prison for the first time. As a Black organic intellectual, unorthodox leader and father he has demonstrated his commitment to the revolutionary principles of social justice as activist and organizer to enhance the lives of Black people and other oppressed people through his works of restoring the neighbor back to the hood by being the director of the Mama Akua Community House. He has been featured in many newspaper articles, TV interviews and radio shows talking about his transformation, redemption, ideas and organizing efforts. He also has received numerous awards and received the Michigan Chronicle Men of Excellence Award in 2019. He currently serves as Deputy Director of Strategy & Innovation with the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity & Inclusion and earned his MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work in 2019. In January of 2021 he will start as a PhD candidate at Union Institute & University with a focus in Public Policy & Social Change.
Dr. Kenneth Harris
President & CEO of National Business League Inc.
Dr. Kenneth L. Harris is known for his innovative style and visionary approach to addressing societal and economic challenges within Black and Brown communities. Born and raised in Detroit, Dr. Harris started the International Detroit Black Expo, Inc. (IDBE), which reached 300,000 consumers, becoming one of the largest expositions in the entire country in 5 years. The Honorable Dr. Harris was also elected to the Detroit Charter Commission and served as the President/CEO of Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce. He became the 12th President/CEO of the National Business League, Inc (NBL)., encompassing more than 150,000 members and 365 local leagues, with access to 2.9 million Black-owned businesses across the country.
Dr. Kenneth L. Harris received his undergraduate degree from Clark Atlanta University. He has received several additional degrees and specialties along with a dual Ph.D. at Michigan State University in African American and African Studies and Economics with a specialization in Business and Entrepreneurship from the Eli Broad School of Business.
Executive Director of Open Doors
In 2006, Stephanie joined the Next Door Shelter for Women operated by Open Doors Kalamazoo. For almost 50 years, Open Doors Kalamazoo has been effectively providing affordable homes and supportive services to create long-term solutions to the housing crisis faced by working families and individuals in our community. Since joining the team at Open Doors, Ms. Hoffman has grown through the ranks of the organization; challenging internal and external systems, creating new models of supportive services for families and individuals as they navigate their relationship with self, family and society. In 2018, Ms. Hoffman became the first black woman to lead the organization as executive director in its 50-year history of service.
Imo Nse Imeh
Dr. Imo Nse Imeh is a Nigerian-American visual artist and scholar of African Diaspora art. Presently, he is Associate Professor of Art and Art History at Westfield State University in Massachusetts. He is a Columbia University alumnus, and received his Masters and Doctoral degrees in Art History from Yale University in 2009.
Dr. Imeh leverages his practice of visual art and research in art history to investigate historical and philosophical issues around the black body and cultural identity. He has made contributions to visual arts discourse with publications, lectures, and provoking studio art projects that interrogate the ways in which black bodies are imagined, installed, ritualized, and transformed. Recently, his art has been recognized by PBS News Hour, New England Public Media, Orion Magazine, and the contemporary art and culture magazine Art New England. His recent project 17 Years Boy: Images, Sounds, and Words Inspired by the Life and Death of a Young Black Boy—created in response to a spark of racist incidents on his campus—utilizes public performance, visual art, and musical tributes to reimagine Trayvon Martin and other slain black boys, in an effort commemorate them while warning viewers of the horrific consequences of ongoing and evolving systems of racial subjugation in the United States.
His current studio project, Benediction, tells the story of a group of angels that have been cast down to earth, and bound to the skins of black boys and men. Their task is to serve as witnesses to the traumas and triumphs that they experience while in this guise. Dr. Imeh considers this series as his personal response—as a black man—to the global pandemic, and the many horrific realities of black existence that the darkness of this plague has elucidated for the entire world to witness.
Executive Director of Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing
Matt Lager has been the executive director of KNHS Homeownership Services for over ten years. He lives, works and plays in Kalamazoo and loves this City. Prior to leading KNHS, Matt practiced law for ten years with a focus on insolvency and bankruptcy litigation.
Michigan Regional Coordinator of Black Voters Matter
Stephanie Williams has spent a lifetime serving the community of Kalamazoo in various capacities. She is the first African American to serve as Chair of the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners. She is a lifelong resident of Kalamazoo and agraduate of Kalamazoo Valley Community College. She is the program director for Mothers of Hope, a nonprofit organization founded by women united to uplift families and empower leadership in the community. Additionally, as a local community leader, Commissioner Moore serves as the local convener of the state based, Black Women’s Roundtable in Kalamazoo, a program of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation.
As an organization, our goal is to draw awareness to the narratives held internally (within the body) but expressed externally across the greater Kalamazoo community. We deliver our services through a decolonized, decentralized, trauma informed and indigenized lens that reflects the unique cultural heritage and experiences of multicultural, LGBTQIA+ and BIPOC living in the greater Kalamazoo community. In order to disrupt systems and structures of oppression the paradigm of surviving must shift to thriving. In order to reduce black/BIPOC oppression, we need spaces that reduce stress and invite healing. Therefore we achieve our goal and mission through our Enrichment Center, which offers movement classes, workshops in cultural humility, yoga, meditation, doula/perinatal services, in addition to facilitating a youth dance and drum collective. As an organization we have offered culturally relevant dance, healing arts and somatic awareness to our community for over 5 years.
Isaiah Thompson Quartet
Isaiah J. Thompson leads his jazz quartet with virtuoso playing and solid technique, coupled with the confidence of a born band leader. Jazz aficionados will notice homages to jazz greats throughout this performance, but very much appreciate the quartet’s fresh, original approach.
Isaiah J. Thompson is a jazz pianist, bandleader, and composer who began studying classical piano at the age of five and quickly branched out to other styles, including jazz. Since graduating with an MM and BM from The Juilliard School, Mr. Thompson has performed with major artists, including Christian McBride, Steve Turre, John Pizzarelli, and Buster Williams. His recording debut, Handful of Keys with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Wynton Marsalis, was recorded on Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Blue Engine Records.