The people of Grand Rapids reflect the full range of human experience – in who they are, where they come from, what they look like, how they worship and so much more. All of them have contributed their own unique colors and brushstrokes to the canvas of Grand Rapids, creating a rich, vibrant community that emphasizes collaboration while honoring diversity.
However, we as a community recognize that we can and should do more to make all of our citizens feel equally included. The Office of Equity and Engagement for the city of Grand Rapids is dedicated to promoting community, workforce and supplier diversity to help ensure that everyone gets to participate in the area’s economic success and quality of life. Likewise, Kent County is committed to advancing a culture that demonstrates Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.
Before we can look forward, we must take a look back at the people who helped shape West Michigan, from the first French fur traders to the latest influx of refugees escaping wars and others seeking a better standard living. Visit the Grand Rapids Public Museum to view the Newcomers: the People of this Place exhibit – and check out this video for a quick overview. Then, see what Kent County is doing today to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for New Americans.