By Jon King /

To help honor April as Diversity Month, the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area - Brighton/Howell Area Geographical Unit and the Howell Carnegie District Library will be co-hosting an event to discuss Livingston County’s racist reputation.

Titled, “Learning From Our Past to Create a Better Future”, it will be held virtually on April 6th from 7 to 8pm and feature Nicole Matthews-Creech, President of the Livingston Diversity Council. Creech says it will tackle head-on the linkage between Livingston County’s reputation now, and that of its past, particularly that of former KKK leader Robert Miles who held cross burnings in the 1970s and 80s on property he owned in Cohoctah Township.

“I don’t know how much we can get into the weeds, which is kind of the point of this conversation as well, to lead us into those more in-depth conversations later on. This is just the start of something; this is not the end-all conversation. This is just a very broad stroke, 10,000 mile overview of where things stand today in the county, and opportunities to engage with other folks to be a part of something bigger and something better for our community.”

Creech says when there are incidents like the recent revelations of racist harassment directed at a Black student in Hartland, many people will say that doesn’t accurately reflect what Livingston County is now and that it is no longer “that” community. However, she says the Diversity Council continues to respond to ongoing instances of racism and other types of oppression. That’s why deeper conversations about these issues are needed so that root causes can be identified and solutions crafted.

On a more practical level, Ellen Lafferty, who chairs the local League of Women Voters, says they are involved in the event as part of their own efforts to promote policies of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

“It’s talk until you do the walk, and by having these conversations with the Diversity Council and trying to expand our messaging (but) also (that) any organization in Livingston County listening to this forum will take some time to review their own DEI policies. So it’s a matter of getting that conversation out there to the Livingston County community.”

Both Matthews-Creech and Lafferty were guests on WHMI’s Viewpoint.

The April 6th event will include a live Q & A session after the conversation about the goals, programs, and initiatives of the Livingston Diversity Council and how the community can support those efforts. Registration is required, and you’ll find those by Clicking Here.