Honoring Humanities Work Throughout Michigan
Dear Humanities Friends,

We are so pleased to share that the Michigan Humanities DEI Action Council’s work is underway! Michigan Humanities is engaged in deep introspection of policies, the staff and board team, and grant and program offerings. This work is being done through careful gathering of data from programs and grants, including our new Bridging Michigan series. Throughout this internal review period, we realized the need for a dedicated team that will be in charge of analyzing the gathered data and making recommendations about how Michigan Humanities can enact principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. To this aim, we developed a DEI Action Council.

Five members of the Action Council are kicking off this important work, including Eric Hemenway, Antonio David Garcia, Shannon Polk, Katena Cain, and Jennifer Sierra. The Action Council will meet frequently from October 2020 through April 2021. The Action Council’s recommendations will be presented to the Michigan Humanities Board of Directors at the May, 2021, meeting. They will consider those recommendations and incorporate them into the strategic planning process over the summer of 2021.

We invite you to get to know more about each of the Action Council members in the section below.

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to the value of the humanities in everyday life. Humanities matter; the pandemic has certainly amplified that. We are striving every day to bring literature, civil conversation, history, arts, and culture to life across Michigan, and you make that possible.
Shelly Hendrick Kasprzycki
President & CEO
Who We Are
MH Board and Staff
What makes community life worthwhile? Is it the relationships you build over time with family, friends, and co-workers? What about the good times and memories from attending annual festivals and events? Or is it the experience of working through difficult times that bonds us together? Read more...
Meet our DEI Action Council members
Katena Cain is a Management Consultant skilled at helping diverse groups and communities think creatively and collaboratively together. Katena specializes in leadership and team development, board governance, strategic planning, and communication. She is a certified Bridges Out of Poverty trainer, and is a co-creator of a statewide Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity toolkit.
Eric Hemenway is an Anishnaabe / Odawa from Cross Village, Michigan. He is the Director of Repatriation, Archives and Records for the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, a federally recognized tribe in northern Michigan. Hemenway works to collect and preserve historical information for LTBB Odawa. He is an emeritus advisory Board member of Michigan Humanities.
Jennifer Sierra is a Colombian immigrant and a PhD candidate in Linguistic Anthropology at University of Michigan. Jennifer is currently an intern at Michigan Humanities, but serving on the DEI Council in her capacity as a scholar. In her doctoral research, Jennifer works with the Shipibo-Konibo indigenous group in the Peruvian Amazon.
Antonio David Garcia is the Executive Director of Affirmations in Ferndale, a center focusing on advocacy and rights for the LBGTQ community. David has served as Executive Director of Affirmations twice, returning to help the Center through challenges after serving as Director of Policy for the LGBT Center in Los Angeles, the largest center of its kind in the nation.
Shannon Polk is a current Board member for Michigan Humanities, and a successful consultant, Pastor, Attorney, and Advocate. Shannon is a consultant specializing in communities of color and faith-based nonprofits. Shannon hails from Flint, Michigan.

Read more about the DEI Action Council here on the MH blog.
Why It Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation
Michigan Humanities is pleased to announce it is the recipient of $50,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Federation of State Humanities Councils to participate in the national “Why it Matters: Civic and Electoral Participation” initiative. This program will explore civic participation as it relates to electoral engagement in a multivocal democracy. This initiative will take place in 43 states across the country until spring, 2021.

Michigan Humanities will present a series of virtual, statewide conversations that will examine the electoral process by exploring Michigan’s urban-rural divide and the influence of social media. These conversations will bring together humanities professionals and Michiganders and provide a place for open dialogue and learning. Stay tuned for event dates and how to register to participate!
Programs and Grants
Bridging Michigan
Bridging Michigan is a new event series and grant opportunity that sparks in-depth conversation and action around systemic inequities. Grant applications are now open, and available for up to $1,500.

This summer and fall, we hosted four, well-attended virtual events that included Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha and Stephen Henderson in dialogue about systemic inequalities and the impact on health and education systems; Eric Hemenway and Matthew L.M. Fletcher shedding light on the history and current state of Native mascots; Dr. Paul Elam and Troy Rienstra discussing the history and impacts of mass incarceration; and, most recently, Katena Cain leading an instructive workshop on how to begin diversity, equity and inclusion conversations in our organizations and workplaces. Recordings of several events and application details are available on the Bridging Michigan website.
Arts & Humanities Touring Directory
Arts and Humanities Touring Grants open November 15 -- don't forget to apply! The Arts and Humanities Touring Program is a joint collaboration of Michigan Humanities and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

The Touring Program grants are available to Michigan nonprofit organizations who may request up to 40 percent of presenters'/exhibitors’ fees and travel expenses. The Arts & Humanities Touring Program grants help support the fees and expenses of touring performers, artists, exhibitors, and humanities presenters listed in Michigan’s Arts and Humanities Touring Directory. Be sure to check out the new “ Virtual Programming” category.

Requests for a grant may not exceed $3,000 per application, and an organization may not submit more than four grant applications or request more than $4,000 during the program period. Applications open November 15 for performances that will take place between December 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021. Please refer to our website for other 2021 funding window dates and application deadlines.
Humanities Grants
Michigan Humanities is pleased to announce $171,925 in fall, 2020, Humanities Grant funding to 13 organizations in support of public humanities programming. The 13 projects are summarized here, explore a range of humanities topics, and include exhibitions, oral histories, digital storytelling, speaker’s events, and digital place-making.

Pictured here: A portion of a spring, 2020, Humanities Grant-funded project at Beaver Island Historical Society.
Great Michigan Read
The 2019-20 Great Michigan Read (GMR) is extending programming into late 2020 and early 2021 to accommodate rescheduled events with Dr. Mona, author of this year's selection, What the Eyes Don't SeeFree books and funding through GMR Action Grants are still available and new partners are invited to register today.

In October, Dr. Mona virtually visited Houghton and Grand Rapids for conversations with environmental chemist Dr. Sarah Green (pictured above) and Representative Rachel Hood. Visit the GMR events page to see when programs will be taking place with your local GMR partners!
Poetry Out Loud
Poetry Out Loud (POL) registration for 2020-21 is now open online. 

POL in Michigan is part of the national poetry recitation program and competition, and all materials are provided to each participating partner at no cost. Participating high schools host their own competitions and select a student to represent their school at the state finals. Grant funding to support poetry workshops, materials, and other program expenses is available. In order to ensure the safety and health of all participants, the 2021 POL State Finals for Michigan and National Finals will be held virtually.

High school teachers are invited to register for the 2020-21 program by December 4. 
Museum on Main Street: Voices and Votes
Michigan Humanities has selected six host sites for the 2021–2022 tour of a national Smithsonian Institution exhibition, "Voices and Votes: Democracy in America."

The exhibition examines the nearly 250-year-old American experiment of a government “of, by and for the people, “and how each generation since continues to question how to form “a more perfect union.”

Don't forget to VOTE today!
Our Mission
2008 Michigan Author Homecoming
To inspire us to come together in creative and freely expressed ways to deepen our understanding of ourselves and enrich our communities.
Our Vision
For all people of Michigan to experience and understand the importance of humanities to enrich lives.
  • Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity
  • Discovery and Understanding
  • Authentic Conversation
  • Respectful Collaboration
  • Meaningful Experiences
  • Build awareness and excitement for humanities in everyday life.
  • Achieve best practices and sustainability for all humanities programs and services in Michigan.
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