Coming Together for Racial Understanding - Emmet County 2020 - INTEREST FORM

March-May 2020
Emmet County, MI (Harbor Springs)

Racism affects every community and every person’s quality of life. It shows up in inequities between groups and in tensions among people from different ethnic backgrounds. In order to have healthy communities and a strong country, we need to face racism head-on. In a democracy, there must be ways for everyone to have a voice in finding the solutions and in carrying them out.

When it comes to facing issues of racism, this is a moment of transition in our country. This moment offers new challenges. It also provides new opportunities to make things better.

If we are going to make progress in our communities and our country, people from all backgrounds and views must work together to address racism and inequality.  We need democratic dialogue, organized on a large scale, so that people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds can:

  • Listen respectfully to one another.
  • Look at different sides of an issue and explore common concerns.
  • Come up with practical ways to address racism and inequality.
  • Take action on their ideas.
A growing number of communities are creating ongoing democratic dialogue and action on racism, they are finding ways to involve people from all racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, all political beliefs, all faiths, all education levels, all income levels, and all walks of life. They are finding ways to move from dialogue to individual change and collective action.

As more of us move ahead with this challenging work, we will find ways to honor the ideals of equality and justice. Together, we can build strong communities where everyone has a voice.

Participants in the Coming Together for Racial Understanding - Emmet County 2020 Project will take part in a series of facilitated conversations with others from their community about the topics of race and racism which will lead to positive community-wide action. 

The Coming Together for Racial Understanding - Emmet County 2020 Project will include...
  • A diverse group of people from the whole community.
  • People from all walks of life.
  • Open, honest, safe and fair-minded discussions.
  • Trained facilitators who reflect the community’s diversity.
  • Community action when the dialogues conclude.
Participants in the project will become members of a small group that engages in meaningful conversation and dialogue over the course of about 6-8 weeks.  We will be forming 2 discussion circles for the first round of dialogues: a youth discussion circle which will meet from 3:15-5:15 pm at Harbor Springs High School, and an adult group which will meet from 3:15 - 5:15 pm at Harbor Springs Middle School. 

Each small group dialogue...
  • Will be a small, diverse group of 10 to 15 people.
  • Meets together for several, two-hour sessions.
  • Sets its own ground rules. This helps the group share responsibility for the quality of the discussion.
  • Is led by an impartial facilitator who helps manage the discussion. He or she is not there to teach the group about the issue.
  • Starts with personal stories, then helps the group look at a problem from many points of view. Next, the group explores possible solutions. Finally, they make plans for action and change.
The project will be facilitated utilizing the guide "Facing Racism in a Diverse Nation", which is published and supported by the organization Everyday Democracy:

Everyday Democracy (formerly known as the Study Circles Resource Center) is a national organization that helps local communities find ways for all kinds of people to think, talk and work together to solve problems. We work with neighborhoods, cities and towns, regions, and states, helping them pay particular attention to how racism and ethnic differences affect the problems they address.

Complete an interest form if you might want to participate in this project!

If you may be interested in participating in the Coming Together for Racial Understanding - Emmet County 2020 Project, please complete this interest form.

The small group dialogues will be held over the course of 6-8 weeks sometime between March 1 and May 31, 2020 (most likely in March and April.) We will also finalize the day of the week that the dialogues will be held based on the feedback we receive from everyone who expresses interest in participating, but we are planning on scheduling the dialogues on a date Monday - Friday.  We are tentatively planning on holding the dialogue group for youth at Harbor Springs High School from 3:15 - 5:15 pm and the dialogue group for adults at the Harbor Springs Middle School from 3:15 - 5:15 pm.  Snacks and refreshments will be provided.  There is no cost to participate in this project.

Thank you for your interest in participating in the project!

Sign-Up Form for Interested Participants is open.

Sign-Up Form closes at 11:59 p.m. on January 31, 2020.


Michigan State University is committed to providing equal opportunity for participation in all programs, services and activities. Accommodations for persons with disabilities may be requested by contacting the event contact two weeks prior to the start of the event. Requests received after this date will be honored whenever possible.

Contact Information

For information, contact: Emily Proctor, Emmet County MSU Extension Tribal Extension Educator at or 231-348-1770; Tamara Kiogima, Title VI Coordinator, Harbor Springs Public Schools at or 231-526-4545; Lindsey Gardner, Extension Educator Michigan State University Extension at or 231-627-8816; or Brian Wibby, Extension Educator Michigan State University Extension at or 231-922-4621.