By Jim Newell
As the Black Lives Matter movement continues across the nation, area leaders are bringing together a group of panelists for a discussion on cultural diversity and competency in the Lake Orion community.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the discussion is open to the general public and will be an online webinar, with capacity for the first 500 people who log on to the webinar.
Amber Kish, caseworker for the Orion Area Youth Assistance, had been talking to Michelle Cureton, , Lake Orion Community Schools Diversity and Equity Coordinator, about doing something to have a conversation about diversity and acceptance in the wake of recent events.
“Following the tragic death of George Floyd, we felt the climate in our community was ripe to have this conversation and to talk about how we can advance diversity in Lake Orion,” Kish said.
At the same time, Tonya Hamilton, executive director of the North Oakland Community Coalition, had been talking to Aaron Whatley, Orion Township Parks and Recreation director.
“Aaron and I had been talking about how important it is to hold this conversation while everyone is really passionate about it,” Hamilton said. “At the same time, Amber reached out to me. It was just a perfect time for all four organizations to come together and start this conversation.”
To access the webinar, go to https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87199041255#success. The link will also be available on The Lake Orion Review website, www.lakeorionreview.com, under the “Advancing Diversity” headline.
“We have a really great group of panelists who are going to be able to offer a lot of insight from their different perspectives,” Hamilton said. “Moving forward, we’re really looking forward to hearing from the audience about how they would like to see this conversation continue. So, this certainly isn’t a one-time event. The reason to have it quickly, and now, is to start the conversation before it losses its momentum and continue to build on it from there.”
Michelle Cureton, Lake Orion Community Schools Diversity and Equity Coordinator,
Edwina Patterson, Lake Orion African American Parent Network Member.
Rita Eaton, Lake Orion African American Parent Network Member,
Gabrielle Abdelmessih, former LOHS Cultural Outreach President, attending OU,
Alexis Delventhal, former LOHS Cultural Outreach President, attending OU,
Madison Eaton, former LOHS Cultural Outreach Member, attending U of M,
Lady Mason, LOHS Senior Class of 2021,
Hafsa Usman, former LOHS Muslim Students Association Vice President, attending WSU,
Soha Sohail, former LOHS Muslim Students Association President, attending WSU.
The community webinar is a collaboration between the North Oakland Community Coalition, Orion Area Youth Assistance, Lake Orion Community Schools, Orion Township Parks & Recreation Department and Orion Township government.