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Posted on Tue, Jan 12, 2010 : 10:02 a.m.

Carmen Van Kerckhove speaking at the University of Michigan today

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

Here in Ann Arbor, we are lucky that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day spills out over the designated third Monday in January and splashes into the weeks around it. There are so many incredible speakers to hear, opportunities to explore, challenges to take on, making MLK Day more than a day off of school but an opportunity to think, learn, engage.

Today Asian American Carmen VanKerchove of New Demographic and the Racialicious blog kicks off the University of Michigan MLK Day Symposium:

Here are the details on the event from the symposium's Web site:

Symposium Opening Lecture

Jan. 12, 2010 5 p.m. Location: Michigan League Vandenberg Room Speaker: Carmen VanKerchove, Leading Voice on Race & Racism

Carmen Van Kerckhove is one of the country’s most important new voices on issues surrounding race and racism today.

She is co-founder and president of New Demographic, a consulting firm that helps campuses and organizations overcome diversity fatigue by facilitating relaxed, authentic, and productive conversations about race and racism.

Carmen goes beyond uncritical celebrations of diversity and multiculturalism and beyond individual acts of prejudice, to explore how racist ideals are disseminated by the very structures and systems upon which this country is built.

She hosts Addicted to Race, a podcast about America’s obsession with race and edits a network of blogs, including Racialicious, a blog about the intersection of race and pop culture, Anti-Racist Parent, a blog for parents committed to raising children with an anti-racist outlook and Race in the Workplace, a blog that explores how race and racism influence our working lives.

Carmen’s perspectives on race and racism have been featured in Newsweek, USA Today, The New York Times, The Nation,The San Francisco Chronicle Online, Time Out New York, andMaclean’s. Carmen has appeared on MSNBC Live, NPR’s News & Notes, Washington Post Radio, American Public Media’s Marketplace, PBS’s Asian America, KQED’s Pacific Time, and WBAI’s The Jordan Journal and Asia Pacific Forum.

Carmen contributes advice columns to the Diversity Q&A portion of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) web site. The Science Museum of Minnesota featured her as part of its exhibit “Race: Are We So Different?,” created by the American Anthropological Association. She was the keynote speaker at the 10th Annual National Student Conference on the Mixed Race Experience and the 1st Annual New York City Asian American Student Conference.

Sponsored by the MLK Symposium Planning Committee For more information contact us at (734) 936-1055

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang is a second-generation Chinese American from California who now divides her time between Ann Arbor and the Big Island of Hawaii. She is editor of Asian American Village, lead multicultural contributor for, and a contributor for New America Media's Ethnoblog. She is a popular speaker on Asian Pacific American and multicultural issues. Check out her website at, her blog at, and she can be reached at

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang will be keynote speaker at the One World One Family 2010 Community Celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 18, 7 p.m., Washington Street Education Center, 500 Washington St., Chelsea, Michigan.