Archive for the ‘Recommended Viewing/Listening’ Category.

Panel to Discuss “The Arrival”

The ArrivalWarner Norcross & Judd’s One Book, One Firm program continues on Tuesday, July 21, with a panel discussion about this year’s OBOF selection, The Arrival, by Shaun Tan.  Earlier this summer, Nardos Osterhart performed her presentation, Hafrican, in which she told us her story of emigrating to Oklahoma City with her family from Ethiopia when she was five.  Nardos will join us once again as part of the panel on July 21.

Joining her on the panel will be:

  • Alice Kennedy –Alice is the founder and director of Diversity Theatre and works in talent recruitment for Gordon Food Services.  Alice was a presenter for our first One Book, One Firm selection in 2008 (Stealing Buddha’s Dinner).   Alice and her family were refugees who fled South Vietnam when it fell to the Viet Cong in 1975.
  • William Blacquiere – Bill is the President and CEO of Bethany Christian Services.  In partnership with local churches and community agencies, Bethany Christian Services welcomes refugee and immigrant families and helps them adjust to a new life in the United States.  Bethany offers a wide range of services to refugees, including refugee and immigrant foster care, resettlement services, and supportive trauma treatment plans for refugees and immigrants who are victims of torture.
  • Dr. Simin Naz Beg — Simin specializes in hospice and palliative medicine and is a member of the  Spectrum Health medical group where her work focuses on improving access to care for vulnerable populations.  Simin, originally from Pakistan, earned her medical degree from Nishtar Medical College and completed her graduate medical education at Michigan State University.

The Arrival is a story of one immigrant’s experience leaving his family and his home to find opportunity in a strange and wondrous place.  Along the way he is helped by other immigrants who share their stories.  The book is a graphic novel without any words. The author relies upon the pictures to tell the stories.

Here are two brief videos on Youtube that serve as a nice introduction to the book. The first is an abridged version of the story set to music. The second is a review of the book delivered in sign language with English subtitles. Author Shaun Tan came across this review and was struck by the parallel between the experiences of immigrants with the experiences of persons with disabilities.


The Grand Rapids Civic Theatre Presents “Caroline, or Change”

Warner Norcross & Judd is excited to be the Production Sponsor for the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s production of Caroline, or Change, a play by Tony Kushner.  The play is set in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1963 during the civil rights movement.  Caroline Thibodeaux is an African American, single mother of four who works as a maid for the Gellmans, a Jewish family headed by Stuart, whose wife recently died.  Stuart’s new wife, Rose, has recently come from New York to live with the family in the deep south.   Caroline, or Change explores how Caroline, Rose and their families adapt in a time of tumultuous change.  The play, which is all performed in song, was nominated for six Tony awards, including Best Musical.  In London, it won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical.

We are pleased that the Grand Rapids Urban League will be joining Warner Norcross as an Artistic Sponsor of the production.  The Urban League has a long record of service promoting civil rights and economic development.  The Grand Rapids Urban League has worked with the Civic Theatre to present some historical exhibits in the lobby for patrons to view before the show.

Each season Warner Norcross & Judd supports the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s efforts to bring to the stage productions that address issues of diversity and inclusion.  Past productions sponsored by Warner Norcross have included, among others, Avenue Q, Having Our Say, The Piano Lesson, The Diary of Anne Frank, and Twelve Angry Men.

Caroline, or Change opens on June 3 and runs through June 19. For more information, read this article in The Rapidian and take a look at these videos about some of the cast members. You can find more profiles of cast members by following this link to the Civic Theatre’s website for Caroline, or Change.

Lisa Butler, as Caroline:

Alex Sullivan, as Noah Gellman

Tarita Dooley, as Dottie

Essay Contest Winners Honored by the Grand Rapids School Board

Last evening, the Grand Rapids School Board honored the winners and honorable mention recipients in the 11th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., essay contest conducted by Warner Norcross & Judd LLP. Each of the winners read his or her essay to the School Board, and the honorable mention recipients were invited forward to receive their award. School Board President Dr. Tony Baker commented that the essays should be required reading for the insight the students shared. Below are some photos of the honored students in attendance last evening. To read the winning essay, click here. To see the Grand Prize winner, Twanyea Smith, read his essay at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day Community Celebration, click here.

Three of the winners with their teach, Ms. Emily Holt, of Riverside Middle School.  The winners are (from left to right): Dayshawn Fields, 1st Runner Up; Kanyia Brown, 2nd Runner Up (tie); and, Twanyea Smith, Grand Prize Winner.  Not pictured: Niko Hinzmann, 2nd Runner Up (tie), from the Center for Economicology

Three of the winners with their teacher, Ms. Emily Holt, of Riverside Middle School. The winners are (from left to right): Dayshawn Fields, 1st Runner Up; Kanyia Brown, 2nd Runner Up (tie); and, Twanyea Smith, Grand Prize Winner. Not pictured: Niko Hinzmann, 2nd Runner Up (tie), from the Center for Economicology

Winners and honorable mention recipients in the 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , Essay Contest

Winners and honorable mention recipients in the 2016 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , Essay Contest

 

Honorable mention recipients and their teachers from the Southwest Community Campus

Honorable mention recipients and their teachers from the Southwest Community Campus

Honorable mention recipients from the Center for Economicology

Honorable mention recipients from the Center for Economicology

Winners and honorable mention recipients from Riverside Middle School

Winners and honorable mention recipients from Riverside Middle School

A Letter to Dr. King

Twanyea Smith, the winner of this year’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., reads his Grand Prize winning essay at the Community Celebration to honor Dr. King on January 18, 2016.  To read Twanyea’s essay and those of the other students honored in the competition, click here. Twanyea is a student in Ms. Emily Holt’s class at Riverside Middle School. (Be patient. The video takes a while to load.)

The essay contest, which is in its 11th year, is open to all sixth-graders at Grand Rapids Public Schools.  Winners are selected by the attorneys and staff of Warner Norcross & Judd LLP.

Addressing Unconscious Bias in the Tech Industry

The tech industry has come under scrutiny for its lack of diversity. While there are some prominent women in the industry, such as Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) and Melissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo!), the industry is dominated by males. Moreover, few people in tech are Latino or African American.

Major tech companies have woken up to this and are taking steps to become more inclusive. Recently, Sheryl Sandberg announced that Facebook is sharing part of its new training program on unconscious bias. In her announcement, Sandberg wrote, “Managing bias is an essential part of building diverse and high-performing organizations. We know we still have a long way to go, but by helping people recognize and correct for bias, we can take a step towards equality – at work, at home and in everyday life.”

The presentation portions of Facebook’s training program are available online at managingbias.fb.com. The training program is divided into seven short modules, which should be watched in sequence:

1. Welcome
2. Introductions and First Impressions
3. Stereotypes and Performance Bias
4. Performance Attribution Bias
5. Competence/Likeability Tradeoff Bias
6. Maternity Bias
7. Business Case for Diversity & Inclusion and What You Can Do

Facebook recommends that before you view the presentation modules, you take an implicit assumption test (IAT) to explore your unconscious biases. Project Implicit at Harvard has over a dozen different tests you can take, on anything from gender, race and sexual orientation to weight, religion and disability. Each test takes less than 10 minutes. To take an IAT, go to https://implicit.harvard.edu/. One the opening screen, select the second option on the left to continue as a guest.

Google has also been addressing unconscious bias with training of its own. In the following video, Dr. Brian Welle, Google’s Director of People Analytics, discusses how unconscious bias works at Google and how the company is interrupting.

One Book, One Firm Panel Discussion Video

Here is a video (in two parts) of the panel discussion of Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange History of Integration in America, by Tanner Colby.  The book was the One Book, One Firm Selection for Warner Norcross & Judd.  The panel included, civil rights attorney Stephen Drew, Father John Geaney, the Rector of the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in Grand Rapids, and Nancy Haynes, Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan.  Warner Norcross & Judd’s Diversity Partner, Rodney Martin, moderated the discussion.

Part 1

Part 2