racial healing | WMUK

racial healing

Courtesy of Donna Odom

The national AARP has picked Kalamazoo's Donna Odom as one of its 2021 Purpose Prize Fellows. The honor is awarded to those over 50 who are tackling tough problems.

Courtesy photo | Shannon LaNier

Note: We're reposting WMUK's interview with Shannon Lanier to coincide with his appearance today on NPR. It originally published on Feb. 19, 2018.

When Shannon LaNier was a boy, he told his classmates that President Thomas Jefferson was his great grandfather. His teacher didn't see how that was possible. LaNier looks black. She instructed him to stop lying. Now, he says, DNA and other evidence supports the story that had been passed down in his family of its connection to Jefferson and enslaved woman Sally Hemings. LaNier speaks in Kalamazoo on Feb. 27.

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College campuses may be increasingly diverse, but incoming students are still often from segregated neighborhoods, meaning they "don't have much practice connecting across lines of difference," says race relations expert Beverly Tatum. So how will things ever improve in America?

Courtesy photo | Beverly Tatum

What's one of the most powerful ways to reduce racism in America? Just talk to someone different than you. So says race relations scholar Beverly Tatum, the former longtime president of Spelman College, an historically black women's college in Atlanta. 

NOTE: The Jan. 22nd event is canceled due to inclement weather. The new date will be announced on kalfound.org.

Lanna Lewis of the Kalamazoo Community Foundation and activist-rapper Ed Genesis provide an update on an on-going racial healing project in Kalamazoo, as well as discuss the local observance of the third annual National Day of Racial Healing set for Jan. 22, timed for the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day.