Sunday June 3rd at 3 p.m.
2018 Multicultural Celebration, "Unity in Diversity, the Heartbeat and Ties of Many Cultures." Grand Opening Celebration on Sunday, June 3rd at 3 p.m. at the Art Center, 265 E. Emmett St., Battle Creek. Southern Straight singers, dancers and drummers from the NHBPI and Voces confirmed program participants.

Sat. June 9......10-11am....African American Spirituals Sing Along. At the Underground Railroad Monument site behind the Kellogg House. Vivian Laws Ritter will welcome the community and .share the historical significance of the legendary individuals represented at the Sojourner Truth Monument and the Underground Railroad Monument. Count Laws and Carolyn Ballard will lead the musical part of the program.

Juneteenth, Friday, June 15: 1) Softball game on Friday begins at 6 p.m. and is open to all interested, celebrity players will be on hand to enjoy the game with our community! Reach out to Bobby Holley if interested, he's organizing players for the game. 2) The movie in the park has changed to Black Panther, bring your lawn chair and enjoy this free record breaking movie with your family, it will begin after dusk. Free popcorn provided. Concession snacks and beverages will be available for sale during the softball game and movie. In case of rain, the movie will be shown at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, 636 W. Van Buren Ave., Battle Creek, MI 49037 at 8:00 p.m.

Juneteenth, Saturday, June 16: The "African American Spirituals Sing Along" program that was rained out the day of the Cereal Festival has been rescheduled thanks to the Juneteenth Committee. They have graciously given us permission to do our program at their Juneteenth Family Day Celebration at Claude Evans Park on Saturday, June 16th from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m., just prior to their Opening Ceremonies. Vivian Ritter will give the welcome, and history of the legendary individuals represented at the Sojourner Truth Monument and the Underground Railroad Monument, and Carolyn Ballard and Count Laws will lead the singing. Bring your lawn chair. 1) Free hot dog, chips and red pop will be served starting at 11 a.m. and will be available while supplies last. 2) Basketball Exhibition games will be played throughout the day, come out and enjoy! 3) Kids Korner is available 12:30-4:30 p.m. 4) Bring your lawn chair and enjoy entertainment from the main stage 12:30-6:00 p.m. during which time our headline bands Stacked and EarthPhish featuring Angela McKinney will be performing. 5) JUST ADDED: A salute to African American fathers. African American fathers and their children are encouraged to come to Juneteenth Family Day. At a time announced during the opening program (which begins at 11:30 a.m.) come to the stage with your children (whether they are present or not) for a ceremony that salutes our fathers just in time for Father's Day! 6) Youth in grades 3rd - 12th are encouraged to apply for our essay contest by midnight on June 10th, winners receive an Amazon 8GB Tablet! Writing workshop will be hosted on June 4th at 4:30 p.m. at the Southwestern Michigan Urban League.

Annual NHBPI Pow Wow, Saturday, June 23: NHBPI Pow Wow at Pine Creek Recreation Fields, 1485 Mno- Bmadzewen Way, Fulton, MI. Sunrise Ceremony at 11 a.m., Pine Creek Parade of Cheers at 1 p.m., PowWow Grand Entry at 2 p.m., 50/50 Drawing and FireKeepers Casino Hotel Raffle at 2:15 p.m., Tiny Tots Dancers: Sponsored by Waseyabek Development Company, 2:30 p.m., Contests: Adult Team Dance and Adult Old Style Woodland at 4 p.m., 50/50 Drawing and Special Features at 6 p.m., Contests: Youth Hand Drum and Youth Potato Dance; Nottawaseppi Rave: Sponsored by NHBP Veterans Committee at 7 p.m., 50/50 Drawing and FireKeepers Casino Hotel Raffle at 10 p.m., Community Quiet Time.

*** Please stand and remove your hats during Pow Wow Grand Entry.
*** Pow Wow Rules: No drinking, drugs or pets of any species allowed.
*** Modest clothing is required. Limited camping is available.
*** For vendor or general information, please contact Robyn Burlingham at 269-704-8373.

Annual NHBPI Pow Wow, Sunday, June 24: Sunrise Ceremony at noon, Pow Wow Grand Entry at 2 p.m., Contests: Youth Team Dance and Youth Old Style Woodland at 2:30 p.m., Tiny Tots Dancers: Sponsored by Waseyabek Development Company, LLC at 3 p.m. Contests: Adult Hand Drum and Adult Potato dance att 3:30 p.m. 50/50 Drawing and FireKeepers Casino Hotel Raffle att 4 p.m., Gifts and Giveaways.


Thursday Jan 19th 2017 Bridges to Culutrual Understanding Presents "The Importance of Education" at First Congreational Church 145 Capital Ave., N.E., Battle Creek, MI 7p.m. The Keynote speaker will be Dr. William Bell,Jr, an outstanding educator, motivational -speaker, founder and mentor.

Did you know:
1. That your child first encounter with education comes from you?
2. You set the stage for your childs learning environment?
3. You hold the baton for your childs education?
4. When you march out on the field of education you become the role modle for your child?
5. How far are you willing to march for your child?

The question and answer portion of the program will be followed by light refreshments served in the Atruim. RSVP's requested: or 269-964-4921

Thursday Febuary 16th 2017 at 7:00 P.M. "The Journey to Selma" learn about the history of this journey from panelists who have first hand experiences of these unfolding events. From the unfolding of the boycott’s in Birmingham, Alabama 1954 to all the events that follow.

The question and answer portion of the program will be followed by light refreshments served in the Atruim. RSVP's requested: or 269-964-4921


(Update - Program Cancelled) Thursday, January 21st, 2016 Diversity in Education from a student and teacher perspective. This program features Scott Durham, Social Studies Teacher at Lakeview High School, along with a group of students who have been organized to help initiate change and understanding that will promote greater equity within the school system.

Thursday, February 18, 2016 Black History Program. J.R Reynolds and Carey Whitfield will present recent information on institutional racism in such areas as housing, health, education, and the criminal justice system.

Thursday, March 17th, 2016 Minister's Round Table. Rev. William Wyne and Rev. Tom Ott, among the diverse religious leaders, sharing insights on how to build Christian alliances, with the goal of determining key strategies and a unified action plan to bring about equal justice for all people.

Register to Vote: Every Saturday starting August 13, 2016 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Sojourner Truth Monument:
Don't miss your Opportunity to Register to Vote. The A. Philip Randolph Institute - Battle Creek Chapter, Bridges to Cultural Understanding, the Calhoun County Democratic Black Caucus and the NAACP, are partnering to register voters every Saturday, starting August 13, 2016 from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Sojourner Truth Monument. If it rains, the registration will take place at the Urban League building, 172 W Van Buren St. If you are turning 18 years old on, or before, the general election on Tuesday, November 01, 2016, or if you have never been in the right place at the right time to get registered....this is your chance to do so. This opportunity is available until one month prior to the election. On the following Saturday mornings, a short message about the importance of voting will be given at 10 a.m., Aug.13....Cary Whitfield, Sept. 10....Jim Haadsma, and Oct. 1.... Bobby Holley

THURSDAY OCT. 13 " Calhoun County's Felon Re-entry Programs: Facts and Opportunities" at First Congregational Church 145 Capital Ave., N.E., Battle Creek, MI 7p.m. The keynote speaker will be William DeBoer, President/CEO of KPEP (Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program), who is at the helm of the innovative work KPEP has been doing with prisoners since it"s inception in 1980. Additional speakers will address such topics as prison ministry, parole management, life recovery programs, transitional homes, the role of mentors, the experiences of employers who have hired ex-felons. In addition to these topics, there will be one or two true accounts shared by ex-felons who have turned their lives around by having been given a second chance. Consideration of what more can be done to move these programs to the next level will be open for discussion. The question-answer portion of the program will be followed by light refreshments served in the Atrium.. RSVP's requested:  or call 269-425-6346. Thank you.


Thursday January 15, 2015 “Diversity in Education: From Students, and Teachers Perspectives: Scott Durham Social studies Teacher From Lakeview High School will be the presenter. Panel of Educators, and Students will discuss what it is taking place in Lakeview School District to promote diversity. Please RSVP to Jennifer LaGrand or Nina LaGrand 269-964-4921 or email or

Thursday February 12, 2015 “Civil Rights Movement, Boycotts, Freedom Riders”Presenter Nina LaGrand. To acknowledge and create awareness of this important part of our American History. The journey from the Civil Right Movement to where we are today. Fifty years ago the Civil Rights Movement began in Birmingham, Alabama. So where are we today? Please RSVP to Jennifer LaGrand or Nina LaGrand 269-964-4921 or email or

Thursday March 19, 2015 6:30-8:30pm ….Presented by The KCC Center for Diversity and Innovation in collaboration with Bridges to Cultural Understanding... Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the whitest of them all?  Have you ever heard of the term white privilege, but you’re unsure of what it is? Are you on a journey toward becoming an ally for people of color in your community? If so, join us to engage in an exploration on whiteness and white privilege with Debby Irving, the author of Waking up White. She will be speaking on her own personal journey to understand whiteness, white privilege, and racism. There will be time for questions and answers afterward. (more info) Please RSVP to Jennifer LaGrand or Nina LaGrand 269-964-4921 or email or

Thursday, April 16th, 2015….The hope and Potential of local Churches building positive alliances with diverse churches to bring about equal justice. Mr. Carrrie Whitfield, Black Cultural Advocate for Political Affairs - Second Missionary Baptist Church, President of the Battle Creek NAACP, President of the Black Caucus and Rev. Tom Ott Pastor of the First Congregational Church Please RSVP to Jennifer LaGrand or Nina LaGrand 269-964-4921 or email or

(Updated) - Thursday, June 11, 2015 from 7p.m. – 8:30 p.m.


"Disability Language: Recognizing ableism on our journey toward disability justice."

This July marks the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA is a landmark civil rights law that works to end the segregation and discrimination of people with disabilities in all areas of society. However, the change in the law did not immediately change our cultural ideas or understanding of disability. The language we use around disability is a key component in understanding disability as a civil rights and diversity issue.  We invite you to explore how ableist language supports discrimination and to learn about the disability justice movement.
Awareness of this information will give you invaluable insights in understanding the issues and also equip you to know how to handle situations you may encounter with greater wisdom and sensitivity.

Presenters:  Disability Network Southwest Michigan.
Michele McGowen, Program Manager for Community Education Systems Advocacy.
Joanne Johnson, Community Educator & Systems Advocate.

*** If you need an accommodation to participate at this meeting, please let us
know; see contact info below.

*** CIR will provide an ASL interpreter for this meeting.

*** This is a fragrance-free event.  Please refrain from wearing any perfume, 
cologne or scented products to the presentation.

Please RSVP to Jennifer LaGrand or Nina LaGrand 269-964-4921 or email or

About Disability Network Southwest Michigan

We provide services to people with a variety of disabilities, including physical, neurological, psychiatric, learning, cognitive, and sensory disabilities. Whether you were born with a disability or acquired a disability later in life through accident, illness or through the aging process, you are welcome here. We are a resource for friends and family members of people with disabilities as well as community professionals and other human service providers. 

We provide services to local units of government and the business and non-profit communities by providing information, training, technical assistance and support in learning to be welcoming of people with disabilities as customers, clients, patrons, volunteers, or employees. 

We work in partnership with other organizations that provide services to persons with disabilities, being careful not to duplicate services but to fill unique niches and address unmet need. We are careful stewards of the financial support we receive.

What is unique about us is that we, too, are people with disabilities!  At least 51% of our Board of Directors and staff members identify as having some kind of disability.  Our philosophy has always been that people who live the disability experience are experts on disability issues, and that services we provide should be created with the direct input of those they will impact.  That makes us different from the traditional social services model.

Interested in becoming a member of Disability Network?  There are great benefits! Disability Network Southwest Michigan is a 501C3 tax exempt organization.. We are affiliated with the United Way of Battle Creek and Kalamazoo RegionSt. Joseph County United Way, and Van Buren County United Way.  

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2015 from 7 - 8:30 P.M.

1. Level II Disability Language. Intended to promote even greater understanding of Disability Issues, change paradigms, grasp the bigger picture, and help us connect in more meaningful ways as allies in the Disability social justice pathway to equity.

2. Spotlight on understanding how we can reduce stress and hurt in the lives of Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals we love, have as friends and work with on a daily basis. Information will be very helpful if you know someone personally who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

Krista Nawrocki will be our keynote speaker. She has worked at the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Center since 2009 in the Equal Employment Opportunity Office as a Nationally Certified Sign Language Interpreter and the People with Disabilities Program Manager. She will be sharing front line knowledge of Disability issues, education and problem solving with us.

Krista, who is originally from Detroit, graduated with a BA in Sign Language Studies from Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan. She advises on disability concerns, hiring Schedule A candidates, and teaches Deaf Culture and How to Use an Interpreter in the work force. She has also taught Sign Language classes to the community with her husband Dan, who is Hard of Hearing. They have a one year old daughter, Kira.

BTCU and First United Methodist Church present:
The Dorothy Height Story: "My Walk to Freedom."
Thursday, Sept. 24th at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church 111 E. Michigan Ave., B.C.

Celebration Reception after the program....all are invited to meet for informal conversation with Dorothy and share the celebration of Bridges to Cultural Understanding for completing its 7th year of giving multicultural community programs.



February 13, 2014 Thursday, ....“Insight into the Face of Racism.
Spike Lee's Documentary to be shown entitled, The Four Little Girls, the story of the Sixteenth St. Baptist Church Bombing in Birmingham, Alabama,1963. Hear first hand how Nina LaGrand 's sister very well could have been the Fifth Little Girl. Q & A to follow facilitated by Scott Durham, Lakeview High School History Teacher. This program will be held at First Congregational Church, 145 Capital Ave., N. E. from 7 - 8:45 p.m. Please RSVP to or call Nina La Grand at 269-964-4921.

April 10, Thursday. “Teen Talk/Health Issues.” This program will feature a panel of youth representatives who have helped organize the program related to
teen pregnancies, STD's, depression and healthy self esteem, and a panel composed of health professionals and youth advocates. The goal of this exchange is to raise questions that will promote understanding of the issues and equip the audience and the youth with accurate knowledge to support healthy life choices. This program will be held at First Congregational Church, 145 N.E., Capital Ave. at 7 p.m. The community is invited free of charge. Please RSVP to or call Nina La Grand at 269-964-4921.

The two following events, the Commemorative Air Force"RISE ABOVE" Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit and the Wednesday, April 16, 5 p.m. W. K. Kellogg Auditorium Tuskegee Airmen program represent a joint organizing partnership of both Neighborhoods, Inc., of Battle Creek and Bridges to Cultural Understanding.

Tues., April 15 - Friday, April 25. The Commemorative Air Force Rise Above Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit


  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014, through Saturday April 19 the exhibit is scheduled to be located in the Battle Creek Central High School parking lot. On Friday, April 18, the exhibit will be open to the public as the schools will be closed for Good Friday.

  • The Exhibit will be relocated over the weekend to the parking lot at Lakeview High School and will run consecutively, Monday, April 21 through Friday, April 25.

    This exhibit is set up to run in 45 minute increments, with 35 students/community members able to view the documentary at one time and is shown approximately 9 times daily starting at around 7:45 a.m., (whatever time increment that best matches start time of the school and the time required to get to this exhibit,) with the last showing being approximately early - mid afternoon.) Feel free to check out more information on their website:

    This exhibit has a "Wow!" factor to it, in that it comes in the form of an unforgettable red 81 foot semi trailer truck, with pictures and info about the Tuskegee Airmen on the panels surrounding the truck. When the truck is parked, the sides expand out to create a theater with a 160 degree screen on which the Tuskegee Airmen story is shown. This exhibit travels to classrooms across our nation to share the story of obstacles, persistence and triumph that are all a part of the Tuskegee Airmen story. The purpose of this exhibit is to inspire youth who also face obstacles and feel looked down upon by others. Each student going through the exhibit gets a set of dog tags with the mottos of the Tuskegee Airmen inscribed on them: "Aim High, Believe In Yourself, Use Your Brain, Never Quit, Be Ready To Go, Expect To Win," as reminders that they, too, can Rise Above their circumstances.

  • Wed., April 16 at 5 p.m. The W. K. Kellogg Auditorium Tuskegee Airmen Program. "Overcoming Adversity---An Inspirational Success Story." This program will be held on Wednesday, April 16 at 5 p.m., and will feature
    1. Lt. Col. Alexander Jefferson a former Tuskegee Airmen, who was also a P.O.W. and received the Purple Heart, as our keynote speaker. He is known nationally to be an outstanding and inspirational speaker.
    2. T. R.Shaw, President of the Navy League will give a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen and military servicemen in the audience.Tuskegee Airmen Chapter representatives will be present from Michigan's two chapters, the West Bloomfield Macon Thomas Chapter and the Detroit Tuskegee Airmen Chapter.
    3. An excerpt from the Commemorative Air Force DVD, "Red Tail Reborn" will be shown with outstanding news footage about the story of the Tuskegee Airmen.
    4. Dave Powell, Dean of Western Michigan's College of Aviation, will speak about it's mission and affiliation with OBAP ( Organization of Black Aerospace Pilots ),
    5. Sid Adams, OBAP's previous local Summer Camp trainer and community leader will speak about mentoring youth to believe in themselves.
    6. Burt Lowe, from the Detroit Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen will tell the story of how the Tuskegee Airmen was pulled from the graveyards of history through the restoration of WWII airplanes, and about a man named Don Hinz that championed carrying their story nationwide.
    7. "Carrying the Legacy Forward" with Bill Phillips closing out the program.

    This program is free to all schools, churches, businesses, organizations and residents of the Battle Creek area.

    W. K. Kellogg Auditorium has a seating capacity of 1,880. We would like to see a full house! There are few stories that can touch the heart regarding the wrong-mindedness of racism, and how perseverance against the most daunting circumstances can turn adversity into triumph, as the story of the Tuskegee Airmen can.

June 19 Thursday. “The Anatomy of A Stereotype.” An opportunity to discuss stereotypes, the “whys “ and “affects” of them, and to prepare us to know how to respectfully and assertively handle them. We'll do break out sessions to experience "life like" scenarios and work in small groups to problem solve responses. Open to the community at no charge. Please RSVP to  or call 269-275-1818.

Thursday, September 25, 2014 “Leadership, Youth Self-Improvement: Code of Ethics”, Mr. Ted Nichols: Writer, Author, and Motivational Speaker will present a program entitled Leadership, Youth, and Self-Improvement. Please RSVP to Jennifer LaGrand or Nina LaGrand 269-964-4921 or email or

Thursday, November 13, 2014 “How to keep our Community Healthy based on good eating habits. “ A Panel of Health Educators, Doctors, will address some factors that will create a more Healthy Community for all. Please RSVP to Jennifer LaGrand or Nina LaGrand 269-964-4921 or email or


Thursday, February 28, 2013..... “A Vision for Neighborhood Equity”.
Bridges to Cultural Understanding and Neighborhoods, Inc. of Battle Creek are partnering to present a Community Conversation. A panel discussion will be held by community leaders representing a variety of organizations providing services in Battle Creek. The goal will be to identify the barriers to achieving equity for residents; and suggest actions that organizations and businesses may implement to address the dismantling of the barriers. The panelist for this discussion represent a cross-section of service providers from health care, government, job training and placement, housing and financial services, ethnic groups and educators.
RSVP to Neighborhoods, Inc. of B.C., 269-968-1113 .  

Thursday, April 11, 2013 ....“Missing Truths About Our American History”.
How one teacher sought to enlighten his students by making Howard Zinn's graphic text, “A People's History of American Empire”available to his students. Come and learn about Loy Norrix teacher, Matthew McCullough's motivation to connect his student's with this history book and what the reception to it has been. RSVP to Barb Shambach 269-275-1818.

June 15th, Saturday Juneteenth celebration at Claude Evans Park....
BTCU will be partnering with the Art Center again this year to do some fun and interactive things with the kids and the audience.

September 2013: Three part series, “Race the Power of An Illusion.”
Very insightful documentaries about how racism got started and perpetuated
in our American History. PBS series.

*     Thursday 12, Episode 1. “The Difference Between Us.” Discover facts
about what contemporary science, including genetics says about human
beings being bundled into 3 -4 races according to physical traits. How
different, or alike, are we really? Be prepared to learn the truth.

*     Thursday 19, Episode 2. “The Story We Tell.” The roots of the race
concept in North America is uncovered. Learn about the 19th century
science that legitimated it, and how it came to be held so fiercely in
American society. This episode is an eye opening true story of how race
served to rationalize, even justify, American social inequalities as “natural.”

*     Thursday 26, Episode 3. “The House We Live in.” This episode
uncovers how race resides, not in nature, but in politics economics and
culture. It reveals how social institutions “make” race by disproportionately
channeling resources, power, status and wealth to white people.

*** All 3 of these meetings will be held in the theater room on the second floor of First Congregational Church at 145 Capital Ave., N.E.,starting at 7 p.m. Popcorn and soft drinks will be served. A question and answer period and discussion will be held following each film session. Invitation is extended to the Battle Creek community, free of charge. Please RSVP to or call 269-275-1818.

November 14, Thursday “Our Relationship with Mother Earth and the Environment from A Native American Perspective.” Program will be presented by Barry Phillips, Education Director at the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indian Reservation. To be held a First Congregational Church, 145 N.E., Capital Ave. at 7 p.m. Please RSVP to or call 269-729-5151.


Jan, 19th Thur. 7pm ”Sing and Dance Around the World.”
Prepare to Move and to Sing and to Join Hands and Hearts as we explore the power of music and movement to create community. Mary Jo Ramsey will lead this interactive evening. She has spent her life as a singer, actress, director and writer exploring many traditions of music and spirituality. She will be joined by performers from a variety of cultures to lead simple folk dances and freedom songs from many times and places. Music is the force which gives us courage To change and reaches deep in our soul as we walk together on common ground. Program to be held at Congregational Church, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Program free to the community, includes ½ hour of Q & A and light refreshments. Please RSVP to Mary Jo Ramsey at: or 269-578-6084

Feb. 16th Thur. 7pm - "The Joys and Challenges of Inter-racial Marriage."
Panel discussion. Program to be held at First Congregational Church, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Program free to the community, includes ½ hour of Q & A and light refreshments. Please RSVP to: Jennifer LaGrand at:, or 269-964-4921.

Mar. 15th Thur. 7pm - "Silent Poetry. An Evening in ASL Story Telling and Deaf Culture." Program held at First Congregational Church, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Program free to the community, includes ½ hour of Q & A and light refreshments. Please RSVP to Valoree Helms Boyer at or phone 269-288-0464, extension# 24.

April 19th Thur. 7pm. - "Journey Toward A Non-Racist White Identity." featuring Professor Jim Croteau from WMU. This program will be held at First Congregational Church, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Program free to the community, includes ½ hour of Q & A and light refreshments. Please RSVP to J. R. Reynolds at: or phone #269.274.3896

May 6th to 26th - "Unity in Diversity: The Heartbeat and Ties of Many Cultures," an inter-cultural exhibit. BTCU, partnering with The Art Center and Director, Linda Holderbaum, to create an inter-cultural celebration of cultural diversity within our Battle Creek community, with an exhibit the month of May 2012. Opening Ceremonies would be on Sunday, May 6th and the exibit will run through Saturday, May 26th.

Community cultural representatives that have been contacted to participate include the following:

1. African American...Sam Gray, Velma Clay, Nina LaGrand
2. Japanese: Tracy Miller, Yoko Butler, Sumako Nebel.
3. Korean: Hee Kwan Lee, Sung Cha and Pastor Kyung Jang at the HanMee Korean Presbyterian Church.
4. Jewish:..Gigi Lincoln, Sandi Kopelman
5. Native American: Barry Phillips, Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, and Warren Petoskey, Lakotah and Odawa Indian.
6. Burmese: Edward Thawnghmung, Martha Thawnghmung, Pastor David Laisum and Christina Khim.
7. Hispanic: Jesus Grillo, Kate Kennedy Flores, Charles Rose, Xenia Schafer, Jeannie Miralrio. Carla Fernandez
8. Indian: Lily Rajachar, Arathi Badarinath, Lina Hattangadi, Saraswati, Sabbani
9. European American....Barb Shambach, Linda Holderbaum

Highlights of the Opening Ceremony on May 6 include: Three Generational Native American Drumming, the Japanese Women's Chorus, Burmese Dancers, and the Mpatpo Drum and Dance Ensemble.

Evening community programs during the month of May
Thursday, May 10th .....Middle East, Judaism, Christianity, Islam
Thursday, May 17th........Burmese Program
Thursday, May 24th........ Warren Petoskey, Lakotah and Odawa Indian

JUNE 16th (Sat.)..Barb and Nina….to have a table at Juneteenth
Plan to make sponsorship donation. Enlist rotating team of BTCU membership to take 2 hour shifts of manning the BTCU table. Create an interesting draw to bring both youth and grown ups alike to see us.

July 19th. Thur. 7pm - "An inter-cultural artistic expression of dance, songs and instruments" J.R. Reynolds…. Emcee for "Battle Creek Youth Have Talent," . Program to be held at First Congregational Church, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Program free to the community, includes ½ hour of Q & A and light refreshments. Please RSVP to J. R. Reynolds at: or phone #269.274.3896

AUGUST........We need someone to volunteer to organize a BTCU table at the International Fest and Black Arts Show.

Saturday, September 8, 2012...... Trip to the Islamic Center of America.
A Car Caravan will be leaving the Target Parking lot on Beckley Rd. at 8 a.m. to drive to the Islamic Center in Dearborn, MI to tour this beautiful mosque and Center.There will be an opportunity to meet the Imam. Lunch will be at the nearby Arab American National Museum. Lunch choices range from $8.00 to $15.00 dollars. An Arab American Cultural presentation is scheduled for our group at 1 p.m. followed by a self guided tour of this national museum. Admission to the museum is $6.00 general, $3.00, students, seniors and children 6 – 12, children 5 and under are free. If you ride with someone, please plan to pay your driver $10.00 for gas. Total cost range for the day is $21 to $31 for this special opportunity, depending on your age and choice for lunch.Return to BC at 3 p.m. RSVP to Barb Shambach at 269-962-2990 or by Wednesday, August 29th.

Thursday, November 8, 2012..... “Teen Talk”
City wide forum about the criminal justice system will feature special guests, Judge John Hallacy, local attorneys, and representatives of the Battle Creek Police Department. Teens from Starr Commonwealth will be given the opportunity to ask questions, and receive answers from skilled and experienced panel members. This two way dialogue will provide an excellent opportunity for youth to learn about the law and to realize there are advocates within our community to help them learn how to live informed and successful lives. There will be a general Q & A at the end of the program for the audience to participate in. All are welcome. RSVP to Nina LaGrand 269-964-4921


Thursday, January 27...."Identity Formation of Biracial Children During Adolesence." Renay Montgomery from BC Careers is the keynote speaker. 7:00 - 8:30 p.m., First Congregational Church.

February 17..."Black History Celebration," Charles Six keynote speaker,founder of "Ending Stereotypes for America." First Congregational Church, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 24...."How Racism Developed in our American History." Two facilitators, Ken Ponds and Tony Cox, of the "Healing Racism Seminars" from Starr Commonwealth will take us on an unbiased walk through our American history. First Congregational Church, 7 - 8 :30 p.m. program. Annual Spring Planning Committee/ Kellogg House, 8:45 - 11:00

May 1 - May 5...."The Jim Crow Exhibit" at the Art Center of Battle Creek. BTCUA is on of 15 partners.
     The three themes are: "Remember the Past" "Celebrate the Progress" "Commit to a Better Tomorrow"

Times of each day that the exhibit will be open:
      Sun., May 1....2:00 to 5:00 p.m.
      Mon., May 2...8:00 to 6:00 p.m.
      Tues - Thurs., May 3 - 5...8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Special Events:
Sunday, May 1, 2:00 - 5:00. Opening Ceremonies. "Remember the Past." At 5 p.m. Conversations will be taped at AccessVision between youth and adults regarding responses to having viewed the exhibit and listened to shared personal stories. This conver- sation will be moderated by MSU history professor, Dr. Peter Knupfer.

Monday, May 2nd at 7 p.m. Coach Herman Boone, the real life coach portrayed in the well known movie starring Densel Washington, "Remember the Titans," will give an address at Harper Creek High School. "Celebrate the Progress." Compli- mentary tickets are available at the Urban League, the Art Center and Harper Creek High School.

Wednesday, May 4th at 6 p.m. Project 20/20 will host a community conversation on Race and Diversity, "Commit to A Better Tomorrow" at the Family Health Center, Sanitas Conference Room, 181 W. Emmett St.

Tuesday, May 10th...."Middle Eastern stereotypes and contributions." Will cover information on the Muslim culture and Islam. Keynote speaker, Charles Six, founder of "Ending Stereotypes For America" will be our keynote speaker. First Congregational Church, 7 - 8:30 p.m. (cancelled, speaker unable to come; ill.)

Thursday, May 24th...."Learn About the Muslim Culture and Islam." Charles Alawan from the Islamic Center of American's Interfaith Outreach program will be the keynote speaker. First Congregational Church, 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Sept. 15th Thur. 7pm - "Celebrating the Strengths of the Hispanic Community.”
LHS Spanish Club members, Crystal Hernandez and Joe Jones will be our featured speakers. Carla Fernandez will update us about "Voces" the dynamic Hispanic Center on Michigan Ave. Program at First Congregational Church, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Oct. 20th Thur. 7pm - “Groundwork to Understanding Poverty for Businesses and the Community.”
Jerry Mainstone and/or Associate to present “Understanding Poverty for Businesses and the Community.” First Congregational Church 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

NOV. 17th Thur. 7pm - "Re-discovering Sacred Values: A Journey to Recovery from Historical Trauma." Barry Phillips and Beth Fehsenfeld from the NHBP Reservation will be the featured speakers highlighting the wisdom and respect of Native American cultural values, the impact that the Boarding Schools had on the First People’s culture and identity, and the difficult journey to recovery. Three generational drumming. First Congregational Church 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

DEC….No program


January 6.."White Privilege," keynote speaker, Charles Six from Lansing. Prosecuting Attorney, John Hallacy, guest speaker. Held at First Congregational Church. 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

February 25...."Living the Experience." Sharon Davis, guest speaker? moderator J. R.Reynolds, Lynn Ward Gray, Michael Evans and Pastor William Wyne were the panelists. First Congregational Church,7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

March 25...."Truths, Insights and Tools: Reflections of a Recovering White Racist." Barb Shambach speaker. Video, "A Girl Like Me." Native American Drum Song for Unity by Henry "Tiq"Bush, Tribal Counsilman of the NHBPI. First Congregational Church from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.

April 20...."Japan - Up-Close and Personal". Tracy Miller and Yoko Butler from the Japan - American Society will be the keynote speakers.Documentary CD, "150 Years of US -Japan Relations." 7:00 -8:30 p.m. First Congregational Church.

May 18...."Kinetic Affect". Dynamic poetry duo, Kirk Latimer and Gabriel Giron do their presentation. At First Congregational Church from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

June 24..."Does Hip-Hop Deserve It's Bad Rap?" Keynote speaker. J. R. Reynolds. First Congregational Church, 7 - 8:30 p.m.

July 22..."Tattooing: An Ancient and Rich History of Art, Meaning and Self Expression." Local tattoo artist, David "Ike" Briggs keynote speaker from Old Anchor Tattoo Shop, First Congregational Church, 7 - 8:30 p.m.

August......No program

September 14...."Understanding Poverty for Businesses and Community Members." Jerry Mainstone keynote speaker, First Congregational Church. 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

September 23...."Poverty Simulation Workshop." Kelcie Douglas, key facilitator, from the Poverty Reduction Iniative, and Reggie LaGrand from the WKKF, co- facilitator." 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Thursday, October 14.."Understanding Immigration Issues." Bridges to Cultural Understanding is partnering with Voices of Peace to present Liz Balck, Regional Attorney as the keynote speaker, in addition to Jeannie Miralrio,Bilingual Education Specialist at BCPS. Announcement will be made regarding the opening of the new Latino Hispanic Center, "Voces," on W.Michigan Ave. Program to be held at the First Congregational Church, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 28..."Hope for All: Learning to Live Loved." William Paul Young, the author of the book, "The Shack," will be the speaker. Come to hear the many healing messages conveyed in this book which was # 1 on the New York Bestseller List for 52 weeks, and remained on that list for 152 weeks. The book has been translated in over 20 languages because of it's powerful impact on it's readers. 7:00 - 8:30 p.m., First Congregational Church.

Thursday, November 18..."Bad Sugar: Diabetes in Two Native American Communities." Collaboration with the Regional Health Alliance, Jill Wise, Scott Weber and Barry Phillips, Dietician and Education Director of the Notawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi Indians, respectively.4:30 - 6:00 p.m. held at First Congregational Church. program


January 8th...."Ending Stereotypes in America" with Charles Six at the Urban League. 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

January 26th...."Traces of the Trade" Katrina Brown, collaboration with WKKF & NRCHR, at WKKF.

February 5...."4 Little Girls" Sixteenth St. Baptist Church Bombing in Birmingham. Held at First Congregational Church. 7 - 8:30 p.m.

February 19...."When the Bough Breaks" AAWHI, infant mortality. Marvin Austin, Dr. Mary Johnson, Lynn Ward Gray, Alison LaGrand at the Urban League.

March 24...."Freedom Writers" with Dr. Jim Longhurst and Sabrina Corbin, M.A.,leading a guided discussion. W. K. Kellogg Auditorium.

April 21...."Diversity Celebration of the Asian Community in Battle Creek." Hee Kwan Lee (Korean,) and David Laisum and Edward Thawnghmung, (Burmese.) Burnham Brook, 7:00-8:30 p.m..

May 2, 10 a.m...."Holocaust and Genocide: Then and Now." Professor Henry Greenspan from the University of Michigan. Holiday Inn, 10 a.m. - 12 noon.

July 9.... "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee", collaboration with WKKF and the NRCHR. Facilitators: Sherry Salaway Black, Alice Warner and Al Yee at the WKKF from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

August 6...Bus Trip to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. 9:15 a.m. until 5:30-6:00 p.m. Partnered with the Boys and Girls Club of Battle Creek, the Youth Council of the NAACP and the Mentor Provider's Collaborative. 120 attended.

In September, hosted the 3 part series: "Race - the Power of An Illusion" for the 2nd year in a row.      September 8...."The Difference Between Us."      September 15...."The Difference Between Us."      September 22...."The House We Live In," held at First Congregational Church, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

October 13...."Hispanic Celebration and Insights." David Medrano,Jesus Grillo, and the band "Forefront." Burnham Brook. 7:00 -8:30 p.m.

November 12...."The Canary Effect," an award winning documentary recounting American history from the Indian's perspective. Partnered with Barry Phillips, Education Director and Henry "Tic"Bush, Tribal Counsilman. Held at the Pine Creek Indian Reservation Community Center, 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. program.


August 7, 2008...Discussion of the CNN Documentary "Black in America" at the Urban League Building. 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

In September, hosted the 3 part series: "Race - the Power of Illusion"
     September 4..."The Difference Between Us."
     September 11...."The Story We Tell."
     September 18...."The House We Live In." The first at Westlake Presbyterian Church, the final two at First Congregational Church.) 7:00 - 8:30 p.

October 14th...."Hispanic History Celebration" at Burnham Brook.

November 25th...."Native American History Celebration" at the Pine Creek Reservation. Barry Phillips, Education Director of the NHBPI. 7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Video Links of Interest

A Girl Like Me
Color is more than skin deep for young African-American women struggling to define themselves
Reza Aslan
Unity in Diversity

An internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, tells his own story of growing up as an Iranian-born emigre and explores the common narrative of what it means to be an American
One Drop Rule
"Insights and implications regarding the "One Drop Rule."
The Rev. Eric Law of the Kaleidoscope Institute
Talks about assumptions that we might make when we meet another person?