Past Events

WAIT, She was homeless?

Trustee Emeritus George Franklin unveiled the deeply personal journey behind the Wall Street Journal's headline sensation, "She Talked Like a Millionaire, Slept in a Parking Garage and Fooled Nearly Everyone". Delve into the heart-wrenching narrative of Franklin's late sister and her struggle with homelessness, shedding light on the complex realities often obscured by societal misconceptions.

In an enlightening discussion, WSJ reporter Jon Kamp provided invaluable insights drawn from his extensive reporting on homelessness, mental health, and substance use disorders. Together, we unraveled the intricate layers of this pressing issue, confronting the harsh truths while fostering understanding and compassion.

Kalamazoo Mayor Anderson, along with esteemed professors from the School of Social Work, Dr. Shane Brady and Dr. Don Cooney (also serving as City Commissioner for Kalamazoo), joined our endeavor. As the rate of homelessness escalates in Kalamazoo, it's imperative to challenge prevailing narratives and confront the underlying issues head-on. Guests joined us as we embarked on a journey of empathy, education, and advocacy, guided by firsthand accounts, journalistic expertise, and the collective wisdom of community leaders and experts. Together, we can strive for meaningful change and support those most in need within our city.

WAIT, She was homeless? 2024 Spring WeTalk Event Video

Foundation for individual rights and Expression (FIRE) visit

We Talk hosted the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE)'s Legislative and Policy Director Joe Cohn and Student Press Counsel, Lindsie Rank, to campus on Wednesday, September 27 2023, to promote free speech protections. We had productive dialogues on why free speech is important in the higher education landscape and how we can improve on it. Below were the sessions:

Dave Isay Visit

We Talk and the Fetzer Institute were pleased to bring Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps, an ongoing national oral history project, and the One Small Step initiative to Kalamazoo on March 28 and 29, 2022.

Dingell/Upton Civility tour

WMU We Talk hosted a stop on U.S. Congressional Representative Debbie Dingell and Fred Upton's Civility Tour at Heritage Hall on August 1, 2022. President Edward Montgomery served as the moderator of an engaging and enlightening conversation about how the two members of the Problem Solvers Caucus have reached across the aisle in recent years to pass important legislation and foster civility.

Eboo Patel and manu Meel Visit

The founding leaders of Interfaith America, author Eboo Patel, and Manu Meel of BridgeUSA, visited Kalamazoo October 5 and 6, 2022 to share how their organizations work with institutions and individuals to build a more diverse and just democracy. They hosted student-focused events and a campus/community conversation.

Irshad Manji VISIT

Irshad Manji, with the force of personality and wit, brought her message of moral courage to WMU in September 2021, boosting the We Talk movement among students, faculty and staff. The Brooklyn-based educator and founder of Moral Courage College challenged her audiences to think differently about how they handle conflict. In classroom, panel, presentation and social settings, Irshad prepared young people to engage honestly about contentious issues rather than shaming or canceling each other.