In Michigan
6:33 pm
Tue November 17, 2009

Lansing hosts "Root Beer Summit"

LANSING, MI –

Around 30 governmental, educational and civic figures sat down Tuesday in Lansing to talk about race and ethnicity.

AUDIO:
Lansing's Foster Community Center was the site of Tuesday afternoon's "root beer summit." Harold Core is a spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, which helped organize about a dozen such gatherings around the state. He says regional economic development in Michigan means creating a diverse workforce.

"...A workforce that really knows how to leverage and how to use those differences, diversity differences to help the companies, to help the educational process, to help the government..."

Core says the state wants the summits to lead to an ongoing dialogue about race and ethnicity. The idea stems from President Barack Obama's "beer summit" last July after a police officer arrested a prominent African-American scholar. The tense encounter sparked a national debate on race relations.