Downtown Holland to observe MLK Day with virtual event

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Downtown Holland Courtesy Downtown Holland

Downtown Holland will observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday with a virtual community event that will examine diversity, equity and inclusion issues in the lakeshore town.

The destination marketing organization Downtown Holland said it will host an event called Virtual DEI Day from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday on its Facebook page.

The goal of the event is to examine DEI issues related to downtown Holland and to engage the community in the conversation as downtown Holland strives to become a place where all members of the community and all visitors feel invited, welcomed and engaged.

Plans for the Virtual DEI Day event began last fall after Downtown Holland was forced to cancel a number of community engaging events over the summer as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Virtual DEI Day event is being planned by Downtown Holland’s DEI subcommittee and hosted and produced by Jennifer Pascua, a multimedia specialist and owner of Halo Halo Multimedia in Grand Rapids.

“We believe the event is an important step in engaging the public as we explore how we move forward in our journey to ensure that downtown Holland is welcoming to all,” said Kara de Alvare, Downtown Holland marketing coordinator. “We know we won’t have all the answers on Monday, and we won’t solve all of the issues in one day, but we want to start a line of open communication with the event.”

The Virtual DEI Day will begin at 9 a.m. with a live panel discussion featuring community leaders working in the field of DEI, including Robyn Afrik, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Ottawa County; Esther Fifelski, human/international relations coordinator for the city of Holland; Gloria Lara, executive director of the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance; and Jeffrey Sorenson, executive director of Out on the Lakeshore.

The day will continue with recorded interviews from downtown Holland business owners and representatives at noon, followed by another live panel discussion featuring leaders of nonprofit organizations in downtown Holland. Scheduled to join the 3 p.m. panel discussion are Sara Cozolino, market master at the Holland Farmers Market; Sara DeVries, relationship manager at the Herrick District Library; and Ricki Levine, executive director at the Holland Museum.

The day will conclude at 6 p.m. with additional recorded interviews from downtown Holland business owners and representatives.

To attend the Virtual DEI Day event, visit the Downtown Holland Facebook page to view the panel discussions and business interviews. A Facebook account is not required to attend the free event.

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