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Diversity Lecture Series: Rev. Ricardo Tavárez, a GRCC grad who leads New City Neighbors, shares his story

April 11, 2023, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Rev. Ricardo Tavárez, a Grand Rapids Community College grad who leads the youth development organization New City Neighbors, will share his story on Wednesday as part of the college’s Diversity Lecture Series.

Tavarez is planning to speak from 4-5 p.m. on April 12 in room 168 of the Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center. The event is also available remotely here and is free and open to all. American sign language interpreters or Closed Caption services will be available.

Tavárez is an artist, writer and speaker with Afro-Latino of Dominican and Puerto Rican heritage, and proudly part of the LGBTQ+ community.

He delivers a unique intersection of writing, visual art, and public speaking that reflect on race, gender, queerness, social justice, faith and doubt.

Tavárez is the executive director New City Neighbors, a faith-based non-profit that empowers youth through leadership development and urban farming. He is also the Senior Pastor of En Vivo Church, a Queer-affirming church plant he founded in 2016.

Tavárez came to GRCC after a year at a four-year university, an experience he describes as “suffocating.”

“GRCC is a breath of fresh air,” he said in a 2021 alumni profile. “It welcomes students from all walks of life, from those fresh out of the halls of their high school to established individuals seeking to make a career change to retirees just looking to learn something new. GRCC provides opportunities for connection, exploration and discovery, with the benefit of an affordable tuition.”

After receiving his associate degree in Business Administration, he earned a bachelor’s degree in international business and marketing at Kuyper College and a master’s in divinity from Calvin Theological Seminary.

“My journey has been about making meaningful connections with people that help me better understand who I am and, subsequently, what my goals should be,” Tavárez said. “That, with quite a bit of grit and what Jaime Escalante would call ‘ganas,’ has got me a long way.”

The Diversity Lecture Series provides GRCC stakeholders and members of the Grand Rapids community with tangible access to society’s most prolific scholars, thought-leaders, activists, and innovative artist. The lecture series aims to connect members of the community with people that hold a compelling interest in shaping a culture of inclusion and social justice.

For more than 20 years, the diversity lecture series has helped attendees consider different perspectives through cultural engagement, critical thought, and civil discourse.

Additional information is available here.