Former legislator, Michigan League director to speak

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KALAMAZOO—A woman who served as a state senator and representative and now directs a statewide organization dedicated to helping Michigan's economically vulnerable population will speak this month as part of the Western Michigan University School of Social Work's 2013 Whitney Young Jr. Scholars Program.

Gilda Jacobs, director and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy, is the keynote speaker for this year's program, beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 21, in 4010 College of Health and Human Services building.

Jacobs' presentation, titled "Truth or Consequences: Public Policy and the Future of Michigan," will focus on the role of public policy in working on the social justice issues confronting the state of Michigan. In addition, Whitney Young Student Scholar Award recipients will be announced, and a reception will follow the program. The event is free and open to the public, with free parking available in Lot 104.

Gilda Jacobs

Jacobs served eight years as a state senator and four years as a state representative from Huntington Woods. She has also served as development director for the Jewish Association for Residential Care, an association providing residential care for people with developmental disabilities, and worked as a special education teacher in the Madison (Mich.) School District.

The Michigan League for Public Policy fosters economic opportunity, independence and security for Michigan's economically vulnerable population by shaping public policy through objective, data-driven research, education and advocacy.

Whitney M. Young Jr.

The late Whitney M. Young Jr. was an internationally renowned social worker and one of America's most influential civil rights leaders during the 1960s. In 1968, when he was the convocation speaker at the dedication of WMU's School of Social Work, he was president of the National Association of Social Workers and executive director of the National Urban League. The following year he drowned in a tragic accident in Nigeria. In 1971 the School of Social Work established a student scholars program in his name to recognize students whose scholarship and service follow the ideals he represented.