Respecting Differences 2021: Racial trauma and working together for healing

Dear colleagues,

Western Michigan University is proud to take part in the 22nd Respecting Differences diversity program on Wednesday, April 14. The University is co-sponsoring the program with the city of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo County, the city of Portage, Integrated Services of Kalamazoo, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Kalamazoo College and a number of private sector partners. This year’s event will take place virtually.

Our Respecting Differences speaker this year, Valarie Cunningham, is the founder and CEO of Synergy Health Center and an instructor in Western’s School of Social Work. Her presentation will focus on racial trauma and working together for healing. Racial trauma is an ongoing health crisis that has generational impact. During this program, participants will learn about the historical context of privilege and power, systemic racial disparities and adverse community experiences. The audience will be invited to explore effective ways all of us can work together to leverage our collective energy, power and privilege to bring transformative and radical healing to our communities.

The program will be offered at two times to accommodate work schedules and to ensure that WMU services are not interrupted. Both the 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. presentations will take place via Webex and will last about one hour, including the presentation and time for questions. There is no cost and no registration required. All Western faculty and staff are encouraged to attend; supervisors are asked to work with their units to ensure that employees can take part in one of the two sessions.

Save this message to access the program on April 14. Click on one of the times below to attend the Webex session of your choice next week:

Thank you for your assistance in supporting this important diversity event. If you have any questions, please contact the HR Service Center at or visit the Respecting Differences webpage.

Best wishes,

Edward Montgomery