The issue of race in America will be the focus of a special event being held this week by the Livingston Diversity Council and Cleary University.

“A Candid Conversation on Race” will take place this Thursday from 11am to 2pm at Cleary University’s Johnson Center in Genoa Township. The university and the Livingston Diversity Council partnered for a successful Martin Luther King Jr. Day event last year, and are teaming up this time to honor Black History Month.

President and CEO of Cleary University, Dr. Jason Boyers, said the reason a business university like Cleary is involved in these events is because diversity, “leads to innovation” adding that this isn’t meant to be a politically charged event. “It’s not progressive/conservative, it’s not politics. What this is about is creating a community where people are able to live together, thrive together, take advantage of different perspectives, different life experiences. People make this a political issue. It’s not. It is, at its heart, an economic issue in creating a community everybody feels comfortable building families around.”

Two special guests will lead an interactive panel offering different perspectives that will contribute to the conversation. One speaker will be Rochelle Riley, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author and co-founder of the Letters to Black Girls project. Bringing another perspective will be retired U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Andrew Raczkowski, a former Republican state representative and business entrepreneur.
Along with a film clip, lunch, and question and answer period, DMJStudio is hosting a Posters on Politics exhibit, with 24 posters that touch on some of today’s most pressing political subjects. Boyers says they’re sure to create a reaction, but that’s what they want as it will help open up and drive conversations.

Livingston Diversity Council President Nicole Matthews-Creech said she is excited for this event because it “creates an opportunity on how to learn and build skills on how to have this conversation when you don’t know what to say. So many times we’re caught in these moments where we think ‘I should say the right thing. I should step up and make this person, or help this person understand where I or this other person are coming from. But I don’t know how to say it, so we don’t say it.’”

Boyers and Matthews-Creech were guests this past Sunday on WHMI's Viewpoint.

Thursday’s event is free to the public. Registration is appreciated, but not necessary. More information can be found through the link below. (MK/JK)