GRCC Conference Spotlights Race, Ethnicity and Identity - Weeklong Event Includes 9/11 Widow’s Story of Recovery and Outreach to Afghani Widows

GRCC’s Social Science Department, along with the International Geographical Honor Society, will sponsor a weeklong conference focused on race, ethnicity, and identity, March 23-29, 2012. The conference will be highlighted by nationally recognized Keynote Speakers Susan Retik and Kate Swanson.

Susan Retik transformed the loss of her husband during the September 11 tragedy into a humanitarian outreach effort designed to help widows in Afghanistan recover from the brutality of war.  Retik will tell the inspiring story of the creation of Beyond the 11th, a non-profit organization that provides support to widows in Afghanistan, at Spectrum Theatre, March 26 at 7:30 p.m.

Retik is especially known for the award-winning documentary film Beyond Belief, which details her 2006 trip to Afghanistan to speak with Afghan widows about their struggles.

On March 29 from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. in GRCC’s Calkins Science Center Auditorium, Kate Swanson, Ph.D., of San Diego State University, will discuss “Exploring Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Childhood in the Andes: A Geographical Perspective.”

Her talk will revolve around the fascinating story behind rural indigenous women and children in an isolated Andean community who were forced to adapt to a consumer culture that was alien to them on the streets of Ecuador as they struggled to survive. 

The conference, designed to explore contemporary and historical issues around race, ethnicity, and identity will also include presentations from every member of the GRCC Social Science Department and a guided tour of the Jim Crow Museum in Big Rapids.   Busing will be available to the Jim Crow Museum in Big Rapids, but the tour is limited to the first 40 requests. 

More information regarding the event schedule can be found

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.