Common Humanity

Mar 22, 2019 by

By Tom Watkins –

The level of hatred and evil is intensifying here at home and around the globe.

Ugliness and hatred was on full display last week. At least 49 innocent Muslim worshippers were killed (this number is likely to rise) and several others severely injured when a radicalized, hate filled, White supremacist gun man opened fire at two Christchurch, New Zealand mosques. It was an unprecedented terror attack that shocked the usually peaceful nation:

Those that wish to divide us want us to fear differences and the recent immigrants among us. The reality is nearly all these horrific acts are committed by White Supremacists.  In today’s world, we need to pause and reflect on our common humanity. We have to find ways to live as one, in harmony.

Out of Many, One

Siham Awada Jaafar

Siham Awada Jaafar has created a forum for doing just that, at least in our small corner of the world, at the 16th Annual Images & Perceptions Diversity Conference to be held on Wednesday, April 10, 2019, from 7:30 a.m.- 4:00 p.m. at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, Michigan.  This day of diversity will engage our community in a day of reflection, learning and committing ourselves to action that will lift up our region, state and nation.  It is a day of celebration, reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones.

Michigan is a mosaic of rich cultural, ethnic, racial diversity that is made better because of the contributions of people from various communities including and certainly not limited to: LGBTQ, Native People, Arabs, Latinos, Asians, Africans, Jews, people with disabilities, all religions all our communities that make Michigan dynamic.

We have to find ways to love not hate.

Together we are Truly Better

This year more than ever we are challenged to preserve the sanctity of our values as a community, city, region, state, and a nation.  While some “leaders” are digging moats, others are building bridges. You can join other like-minded bridge builders from across the state to learn how you can engage and add value in meaningful ways.

Having attended several of the previous diversity conferences, I know the conversations started in the current environment that surrounds us often morph into action that adds values and make a difference. The conference does not simply point fingers, it offers PIC:  Siham Awada Jaafar and celebrates the strength and resilience of our community, region, state and nation.

The day’s activities will address issues to help strengthen the cornerstone of understanding and provide the necessary tools for facing the challenges ahead: Education, law enforcement, media, healthcare, politics and corporate America.

Mix it Up

This is an outstanding opportunity to mix, mingle, listen, contribute, and learn about ways that we can build bridges and why bridges are much better than walls and moats.

Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference

The Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference has exceptional speakers, great learning, and even better networking opportunities. Some of Michigan’s star-studded speakers attending this event include Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy, U of M Law Professor and Media Legal analyst Barbara McQuade, Fox 2 Anchor Roop Raj, WXYZ anchor Carolyn Clifford, Michigan State Trustee Brian Mosallam, Dearborn Mayor John B. “Jack” O’Reilly, Jr., President of Henry Ford College Russell Kavalhuna, J.D, WCCCD’s Chancellor Dr. Curtis L. Ivery, and WXYZ news anchor and television program host Chuck Stokes. Find more information here:

In a panel discussion addressing healthcare, Renee Branch Canady, Executive Director of Michigan Public Health Institute, will be joined by a panel of amazing professionals discussing diversity in healthcare, best practices, the future of healthcare coverage, human genetics and the impact of legalizing medical and recreational marijuana on our future generations.

First Amendment

Given all that is going on within our nation’s capital, perhaps the hottest ticket of the day may be Brian Karem, White House reporter for Playboy, a CNN political analyst and host of  “Just Ask The Question” podcast.  The man often referred to as the reporter who defied the Trump team and went to jail to protect sources will lead an in-depth conversation about media, the White House and journalism today. Karem is the author of the book “Shield the Source”.

We all deserve a safe path…

Your voice and presence is needed to assure that diversity of thought and the search of a shared vision and common agenda can be pursued.  Clearly, diversity is our strength and will even be more so as the 21st century unfolds.

Registration is reasonable and easy to do: To register, head to or call 313-910-1955

Love Not Hate

The good people of the world grieve for New Zealand and Muslim communities around the globe affected by the violent, hateful, deadly attack in Christchurch.

Hassan Jaber, Executive Director & Chief Executive Officer of ACCESS (Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services ( captured the humanity when he pleaded in a Facebook post: “49 innocent people killed while praying—including children—by hateful terrorist belonging to hateful fascist ideology. This has to stop and we all need to be united to stop it. Solidarity with the victims and solidarity with everyone fighting against hate.”

Nobody should live in fear because of who they are, who they love or how they worship. We must unite and stand up against such evil acts of hate and intolerance here at home and around the globe.

Revoking the license to hate and to harm people is a responsibility we all must share.  We need to end the attacks on our collective humanity.

Tom Watkins

Tom Watkins has an eclectic career in both the public and private sectors. He served the citizens of Michigan as state superintendent of schools and director of the department of mental health. He has held leadership positions in higher education, business and behavioral health. Watkins has a interest and passion in all things China and has written hundreds of article on the value of this most important bilateral relationship in the world today.

Source: Common Humanity  | Dome Magazine

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