'Rolling Stone' journalist to deliver keynote address for GRCC conference



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213


March 17, 2015 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College’s 2015 Race, Ethnicity and Identity Conference looks at the violence of Ferguson, the problems of income inequality, and the role the college has played in the community during the past 100 years.

The conference, scheduled for March 23 through 26, is sponsored by GRCC, its social sciences department and the International Geographical Honor Society. All the events are free and open to the public. Except for the keynote speech, all the presentations will be held in room 108 of GRCC’s Sneden Hall, 415 E. Fulton.

Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi will deliver the keynote address on “The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap” at 7 p.m. March 25 in Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. NE.

Conference organizer Mike Light says the event gives students the opportunity to see global and community issues from a fresh perspective.

“This annual event is an opportunity for students and community members alike to connect with GRCC faculty and experts from around the world who focus on issues of race, ethnicity and identity,” he said. “GRCC upholds a high standard for teaching both critical thinking skills and social responsibility skills. At the end of this conference, attendees should be prepared to practice community engagement that addresses environmental responsibility, social justice, and cultural diversity.”

The conference’s other presentations:

  • “Income Equality” by GRCC sociology professor Cedric Williams — 10-11:30 a.m. March 23.
  • “Diffusion, Deflection and Diversity: A Geographic Perspective on Immigration” by Marie Price, professor of geography at George Washington University — 7 p.m. March 23.
  • “Race, Class and the Legitimacy of Power: An Anthropological Perspective on Ferguson, MO” by Dillon Carr, assistant professor of anthropology at GRCC — 1-2:30 p.m. March 24.
  • “Linking Environmental Justice and Community Empowerment through Urban Agriculture in Southern/Eastern Africa” by Courtney Gallaher, assistant professor of geography at Northern Illinois University — 7 p.m. March 24.
  • “GRCC 100 Year Anniversary: Exploring the Relationship between your Community’s College and the Community” by Carr and Steve Abid, GRCC economics professor — 1-2:30 p.m. March 26.
  • “Colorblindness and Geographies of Racial Violence” by Anne Bonds, assistant professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee — 7 p.m. March 26.

GRCC encourages the entire community to participate in its programs and activities. If you anticipate a need for an accommodation, or have questions about accessibility, please call the social science department at (616) 234-4283 in advance of your visit or program participation.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.