Archive for May 2011

Would You Ride?

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation, which administers the Warner Norcross & Judd Minority Scholarships program, recently commissioned the following 30 second commercial, which aired on WGVU during the showing of “The Freedom Riders.”  The commercial, filmed by Grand Rapids photographer Brian Kelly, asks a simple question: “Would you ride?”

Freedom Riders Commercial from Brian Kelly Films on Vimeo.

2011 One Book, One Firm Selections Announced

The HelpOne Book, One FirmEach year in our One Book, One Firm program, Warner Norcross & Judd selects a book relating to diversity and inclusion and encourages everyone in the firm to read and discuss it. This year’s One Book, One Firm selection is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The Help tells the story of African American maids working in white households in Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 1960s. It is told from the point of view of three narrators, two of whom are maids and one of whom is a recent college graduate who comes home to find that the maid who helped raise her since childhood has suddenly disappeared. The book explores the complex relations between the black and white families of Jackson.

A movie based on the novel will be released in August. Here is the trailer:

As we have done in the past, we will be holding a movie night on the east and west sides of the State, when members of the firm and a guest can view the movie shortly after it is released. Details on that will follow.

Copies of The Help will be available in the firm’s Southfield library and in the coffee room in Grand Rapids. If you work in one of our other offices, contact M.L. Calvin and she will see that a copy from the library’s collection is sent to you through interoffice mail.

A Suggested Reading List

In addition to the One Book, One Firm selection, we have a suggested reading list of fiction and non-fiction books addressing diversity and inclusion. Copies of these books will be available to check out in Southfield and Grand Rapids. Again, contact M.L. Calvin if you work in one of our other offices to get a copy through interoffice mail.


Whistling vivaldiWhistling Vivaldi And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us by Claude Steele, explores the impact that stereotypes have on behavior and performance. Steele, a psychologist who teaches and is the Provost at Columbia University, offers suggestions on how we can reduce the impact of stereotypes.

In 2002, Deborah Rodriguez, a hairdresser from Michigan went to Afghanistan on a charitable aid mission. On seeing that the Taliban had closed all the beauty parlors, she set up a school to teach Afghan women to be beauticians. Along the way she helps Afghan women take a stand for independence. She wrote about it with a wicked sense of humor in The Kabul Beauty School. Her story was the subject of a documentary, which will be available on DVD in the One Book, One Firm collection.

Native American Testimony: A Chronicle of Indian-White Relations from Prophecy to the Present, 1492-2000 CoverNative America Testimony is a history of Native-white relations seen through Indian eyes and told through Indian voices. It is a compilation of primary source documents—spanning more than 500 years—in one very readable volume.

Choosing Civility is a self-help book. Why would I choose a self-help book on civility? As I reviewed Forni’s book, my thoughts jumped back to Craig Clayton, who spoke to us at our partners retreat several years ago in Detroit. Craig talked to us about microinequities – little things that can have a big impact on how inclusive an organization can be. I put his book on the list because I thought it might help us recognize some of those unintended behaviors in ourselves that can have such a big, negative impact on others.




Nikki Giovanni has gathered a collection of what she considers the 100 Best African American Poems. Giovanni has selected works from a broad range of poets from Paul Laurence Dunbar and Langston Hughes to Rita Dove and Tupac Shakur, who give voice to the African American experience through their poetry.

The Namesake: A Novel CoverJhumpa Lahiri returns to our reading list with her novel, The Namesake. Like many of her short stories, The Namesake delves into the differences among generations in an Indian family that has immigrated to the United States. The Namesake was released as a motion picture, which will also be available in the firm’s collection.

Caramelo CoverIn Caramelo, author Sandra Cisneros tells the story of the Reyes family through the eyes of Celaya, the youngest and the only girl among seven siblings. The book follows Celeya as she grows up in a noisy, and loving family of Mexican Americans struggling to be successful in the United States while remaining true to their cultural heritage.

To Kill a Mockingbird (Slipcased Edition) CoverFinally, its been over 50 years since the publication of To Kill A Mockingbird. A standard of high school English courses, it is a classic exploration of racial inequality in the southern United States. While most of us have probably read it, it merits another read this summer. A copy of the classic movie adaption starring Gregory Peck will also be in the firm’s collection.