Guest post by Jared Leys, Operations & Marketing Manager for the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance

Twenty-two years ago, the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance (LEDA), was founded with a straightforward vision: to boldly work toward the complete eradication of racism in Ottawa County.

Though this task has not always been easy, LEDA has continued to pursue this vision through the building of several diversity education programs. We have expanded to provide a variety of workshops, consultations, youth programs, and seminars throughout West Michigan, across the State, and even as far as northern California.

LEDA’s programs offer organizations and individuals an opportunity to learn more about strategies and best practices for promoting diversity, inclusion, and racial equity in our communities and workplaces.

Diversity Education Workshops

Thanks to a grant from the Grand Haven Area Community Foundation (GHACF), LEDA was able to provide a number of free diversity education workshops in Northwest Ottawa County in 2016 and 2017.

These workshops and seminars, available for a nominal fee at any location across Michigan, provide participants with an opportunity to learn about the value of diversity, the causes of unconscious bias, and strategies for promoting meaningful inclusion.

At a recent workshop provided to the City of Grand Haven Human Relation Commission (HRC), one participant said the experience, “has given me a framework for viewing a new path forward for the HRC. It has motivated me to challenge current city policies.” Another attendee noted, “The workshop has increased my ability to promote racial equity by being more conscious when writing policy.”

While governmental groups are an important recipient of LEDA’s workshops, these opportunities are also offered to businesses, nonprofits, schools, universities, and many other organizations.

Summit on Race and Inclusion

Another of LEDA’s programs supported by GHACF is our annual Summit on Race and Inclusion, which is sometimes hosted in the cities of Grand Haven or Muskegon, and is this year being hosted on May 15 at Hope College in Holland, Michigan.

This day-long event brings in national and international experts in the field of diversity, inclusion, and racial equity. Attendees are able to hear a keynote address—keynotes from previous years include doctors John A. Powell, Rachel Godsil (pictured at right), and Phillip Atiba Goff—and have a chance to attend two sector-specific breakout sessions, where they receive specialized information and strategies from their fields.

The keynote address at the 2018 Summit on Race and Inclusion will be provided by Dr. Joy DeGruy, an internationally-recognized expert on the long-term impacts of trauma as it relates to racial inequities. Space is filling up fast, but registration for the 2018 Summit will remain open through May 10.

If you are interested in attending, please visit for more information.