“Understanding Who We Are” – A Town Hall Conversation

I’m honored and pleased to be a panelist for “Understanding Who We Are” – A town hall conversation about Detroit and Detroiters. This timely and important event will explore and discuss the diverse communities that makeup the metropolitan Detroit region. I hope you will be able to join us if you’re available on the evening of March 22. Here is the official press release for the event.

Wayne State University’s Detroit Orientation Institute (DOI) and One of Us Films are hosting a series of free town hall conversations examining Detroit’s communities – and a screening of the documentary film titled “Regional Roots: The Birth and Evolution of Detroit and its People,” produced by Carrie LeZotte of One of Us Films with the DOI. This inaugural town hall, hosted by the Task Force on Race Relations and Ethnic Diversity, will be held on Monday, March 22, 7 p.m., at The Birmingham Community House, 380 South Bates, Birmingham, Mich.

For further information and to reserve your seat, call 248-644-5832, or e-mail racerelations@communityhouse.com.

Following the screening of the 26-minute film, audience members will participate in a conversation moderated by Detroit Free Press columnist Rochelle Riley exploring why the various communities came to the Detroit area; what roles they play socially, politically and economically; what conflicts occur and what opportunities are available to work together. The audience also will learn some myths and truisms about the various communities.

Panelists from various ethnic groups in the Detroit area will be on hand including: Devon Akmon, deputy director, Arab American National Museum; Ozzie Rivera, director, Community Based Services & Family Preservations Programs, Health and Human Services, State of Michigan; Heaster Wheeler, executive director, Detroit Branch, NAACP ; and Sook Wilkinson, chairperson, Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission.

Covering 300 years of history, “Regional Roots: The Birth and Evolution of Detroit and its People,” uses the immigrant experience as an introduction to the diverse landscape of the Detroit region. From the earliest French and German settlers to today’s growing communities, the documentary illustrates how immigrants continue to shape the region.

For more information about the film, visit www.oneofusfilms.org. Regional Roots will also be shown locally at the Main Theatre on April 21 and 25 as part of a One of Us Films Showcase. And it will be shown on Detroit Public Television on Monday, April 26 at 10:30 pm.

To learn more about Wayne State University’s Detroit Orientation Institute, visit www.doi.wayne.edu.

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Devon Akmon

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