Diversity Lecture Series

Ta-Nehisi Coates speaking at the Diversity Lecture Series.

The Diversity Lecture Series is intended to give insight and understanding of multicultural issues to the West Michigan Community. It is designed to help audiences consider perspectives other than their own, encouraging civil debate, broadening the basis for critical thought and promoting cultural understanding.

  • Lectures are free and open to all.
  • Lectures begin at 7 p.m. at Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. NE in Grand Rapids.
  • ASL interpreted.
  • Book signings to follow Navarro and Valenti lectures.
  • For more information, call (616) 234-3390.

2018-19 Diversity Lecture Series

Celebrating 24 years of diverse voices.

October 24, 2018

"Political Outlook"

Ana Navarro

Ana Navarro, GOP Strategist and Political Contributor to CNN, ABC News, and Telemundo

Ana Navarro is a Republican strategist and a political analyst for CNN and CNN en Español. She also is a political contributor on ABC’s “The View.” The Miami New Times named her a “Republican power-consultant,” and the Tampa Bay Times called her “a sought-after voice in Republican politics and an adviser for any presidential hopeful.” She has served as ambassador to the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission, devoting much of her energy to condemning human rights abuses in Cuba. Navarro has also worked in the private sector, representing private and public clients on federal issues, particularly related to immigration, trade, and policy affecting Central America.

February 13, 2019

"Education, Civil Rights and Equality: Cornerstones for our Future"

Bakari Sellers

Bakari Sellers, CNN Political Analyst, Lawyer, and Activist

Bakari Sellers made history in 2006 when, at the age of just 22, he defeated a 26-year incumbent to become the youngest member of the South Carolina Legislature and the youngest African-American elected official in the nation. In 2014, he was South Carolina’s Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor. In addition to serving on President Barack Obama’s South Carolina steering committee during the 2008 election, Sellers is widely considered to be a rising star within the Democratic Party and a leading voice for his generation. He has been named to Time magazine’s “40 Under 40” in 2010, 2014, and 2015; and “The Root 100” list of the nation’s most influential African-Americans. He has provided commentary and analysis to CNN and MSNBC, including in appearances on "Hardball with Chris Matthews" and "Morning Joe." He now serves on the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee’s National Council.

March 20, 2019

"Feminism Today"

Jessica Valenti

Jessica Valenti, Renowned Feminist Author and Journalist

Jessica Valenti has led the national conversation on modern feminism for more than a decade. A New York Times best-selling author of five books and a columnist at the Guardian US, she has also been widely credited with sparking the online wave of the women’s movement. Valenti’s “The Purity Myth” was made into a documentary by the Media Education Foundation, and “Yes Means Yes” inspired sexual assault legislation of the same name across the country and on campuses. Her most recent book, “Sex Object: A Memoir” was called “bold and unflinching” by Publishers Weekly. Valenti’s articles have topped the most-read lists at The Atlantic, the Guardian US, and The Washington Post. She has also written for The New York Times, Salon, The American Prospect, Bitch, Ms. Magazine, and The Toast.