KALAMAZOO, MI - Race as a sociological phenomenon rather than a biological fact is explored in a national touring exhibit coming to Kalamazoo Saturday, Oct. 2. Western Michigan University and the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, part of Kalamazoo Valley Community College, are collaborating to bring "RACE: Are We So Different?" to the museum for three months.
Through film, still photography, interactive components and programming, the exhibit invites people to explore race as well as the impact of race as an economic, political and cultural construct. It will be hosted by the Kalamazoo Valley Museum downtown through Jan. 2.
The exhibit was created by the Science Museum of Minnesota, in conjunction with the American Anthropological Association, to educate the public and be a catalyst for discussions about race. It explores three themes: the everyday experience of race, the contemporary science that is challenging common ideas about race and the history of this idea in the United States.
Throughout fall and winter of 2010-11, with support from the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, WMU will be working in partnership with community groups on projects that complement the RACE exhibit and provide the community with opportunities for creative dialogue and healing around race in the greater Kalamazoo area.
The "YMCA Kalamazoo Summit on Racism," will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7, in the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo. Registration starts at 8 a.m. The event will feature Dr. John Powell, executive director of the Kirwan Institute at Ohio State University. He is an internationally recognized authority in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, and issues relating to race, ethnicity, poverty and the law.
The summit will focus on annual reports from the three initiatives--employment, housing and education--which work on creating ways to reduce or eliminate racism in their subject area.
Also occurring in the fall simultaneous with the display of the RACE exhibit will be a portrait exhibit, "In Focus: National Geographic Portraits," Oct. 30-Jan. 2 in the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 314 S. Park St. The free event will run Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sundays, noon-5 p.m.
It features 51 of National Geographic’s most famous photographs, and it documents human connections to national identity, gender roles, cultural preferences and their surroundings. The display emphasizes that portraits can reflect the similarities of human experience or the physical and cultural differences between people.
Friday, Nov. 19, a discussion "Healthcare, Race and Disparities" will be held from 8:30-10 a.m. in the Borgess Medical Center Lawrence Education Center, 1521 Gull Road. The free event also includes breakfast at 7:30 a.m. The West Michigan Regional Chapter of the National Association of Health Services Executives will lead this discussion of the root causes of health care disparities.