Programs and Events
07.25.2017 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


On Tuesday, July 25th, 6-7:30 PM, Project Speak Up of YWCA Kalamazoo will provide a community presentation on Hate Crimes. The presentation will take place at the Berrien County Health Department, 2149 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI.

The ninety-minute presentation, followed by a Q&A session, will be led by YWCA Kalamazoo’s Community Outreach Specialist, Demetrias Wolverton. Topics covered will include information on bias and prejudice, the ways a hate crime is defined, an overview of the kinds of hate crimes currently occurring in Southwest Michigan, and information and tangible best practices for people to use.

“People don’t just wake up one morning and say, ‘Today I’m going to commit a hate crime.’ Wrong ideas are nurtured until they are demonstrated in action. Now more than ever we need to have these conversations and facilitate opportunities for respect and understanding,” says Sekenah Tennison, ALPACT Co-Chair. “And we are so very pleased that the OutCenter brought this project of YWCA Kalamazoo to our attention.”

A new tension across the nation impacts a diversity of communities. In 2015, Michigan was one of the top 5 states for reported hate crimes, with an increase in these crimes in Michigan through the first few months of 2017 as the highest in the Midwest. “When one person is attacked based on their personal characteristics, that affects anyone who shares that characteristic,” says YWCA Kalamazoo’s Emily Deering.

“I had received information about this great program of YWCA Kalamazoo from OutCenter Board member, Beth McCree, after speaking to her about an LGBTQ+ survivor of a hate crime that occurred recently in Berrien County,” says Mary Jo Schnell of the OutCenter. “We know there has been an uptick of hate crimes and hostility toward minority communities across the nation. This is a great opportunity for Southwest Michigan to work together across communities, educate ourselves and others to reduce hate crimes, and care for the survivors. We are so very grateful to YWCA Kalamazoo and ALPACT!”