City of Portage, WMU and MAPAAC to Host Conversation on Respecting Diversity

Western Michigan University, the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission and the City of Portage are delighted to announce their sponsorship of an event entitled “Kalamazoo Region Conversation on Respecting Diversity.” This event will take place on Saturday, February 18, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Fetzer Center on the campus of Western Michigan University.

Moderated by Mayor Peter J. Strazdas of the City of Portage, the conversation will begin with a welcome from President John M. Dunn of Western Michigan University. Thereafter, four (4) panels will be convened that will discuss and examine a number of the elements related to identifying and protecting individual rights and civil liberties within a diverse society.  The four panels will be titled as follows: “Law Enforcement,” “State Regulators,” “Educators” and “Elected Officials.” 

The Law Enforcement Panel will include:

  • Ms. Bushra Alawie, Community Outreach Specialist, Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Mr. Timothy Wiley, Public Affairs Specialist, Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Chief Richard White, Portage Public Safety Director
  • Chief Jeffrey Hadley, Kalamazoo Public Safety
  • Sheriff Richard C. Fuller, Kalamazoo County

The second panel focuses on the various state entities responsible for identifying, protecting and promoting civil rights in the State of Michigan and includes:

  • Agustin Arbulu, J.D., Director, Michigan Dept. of Civil Rights
  • Shelly Edgerton, Director, Michigan Dept. of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs
  • Bing Goei, Director, Michigan Office for New Americans
  • Roland Hwang, J.D., Commissioner, Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission

An Educators Panel has been assembled of regional experts in the educational forum and will feature the following:

  • President John M. Dunn, Western Michigan University
  • President Marilyn J. Schlack, Kalamazoo Valley Community College
  • Superintendent Mark T. Bielang, Portage Public Schools
  • Superintendent Michael F. Rice, Kalamazoo Public Schools
  • Superintendent David Campbell, Kalamazoo Regional Educational Service Agency

The morning will conclude with elected officials to include:

  • State Representative Brant Iden
  • Mayor Bobby Hopewell, City of Kalamazoo
  • Dale Shugars, Chair, Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners
  • Nasim Ansari, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Portage

This knowledgeable and illustrious group represents some of the more important agencies, both statewide and regionally, for identifying, respecting and promoting diversity in our community.

The public is invited to attend and participate. Mayor Peter J. Strazdas of the City of Portage said, “This significant event highlights the importance that an open, welcoming and respectful society has to both the success and wellbeing of a community. The City of Portage, along with its partners at Western Michigan University and the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission, are delighted to participate in an event that focuses on our values of promoting and enhancing diversity in our society.”

Complimentary parking is available directly adjacent to the Fetzer Center building (parking lot 72-F). For more information, contact the City of Portage Office of the City Manager at (269) 329-4400.