Summer Camp In Warren Focuses On Diversity (August 9, 2010)
Civic and religious leaders hope some of Macomb County’s younger residents will provide a good example for all of us.
The Interfaith Center for Racial Justice hopes to foster inter-cultural relationships and build unity with its inaugural 2010 Listen, Learn and Live Summer Camp for Teenagers.
The program features 30 to 40 middle-school aged children from various ethnic groups who will meet through Friday at the Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Warren.
“We hope the kids, when they get out on Friday will have … made friends, they will have learned about other cultures and that they would respect each other more and in a more peaceful way,” said Steve Elturk, iman of the Islamic Organization of North America, a Warren mosque.
“(We hope) they will become peacemakers wherever they go … and try to bridge that gap of the various cultures in our community.”
Ethnic groups represented at the camp include: African American, Chaldean, European American, Filipino, Hispanic, Hmong, Indian and Muslim.
The program is patterned after the Interfaith Center’s similar effort for adults, also called Listen, Learn and Live. The idea is to introduce participants to the different cultures that increasingly make up the demographic picture of Macomb County and promote understanding of the various groups.
“What we don’t want to see is this is the Chaldean group in the high school, the black group and the white group,” said the Rev. Michail Curro, executive director of the Interfaith Center.
“Let’s have a group of people that know about one another.”
The summer camp was inspired by the city of Warren, which recently adopted a formal resolution that re-affirms “American core values” of freedom, equality and justice.
Warren Mayor James Fouts, a former teacher, served as keynote speaker at the first full day of the summer camp Monday.
“Warren is changing demographically,” the mayor told the students. “It’s important to let everybody know who’s moving in (to the city) that we’re inclusive, not exclusive.
“We want everybody to move into Warren. We welcome diversity.”
Although the camp is just two days old, Marianna Kattula, 12, a Flynn Middle School student, said she has enjoyed it so far.
“I like how we are going to (study) different cultures,” she said.
Wolfe Middle School seventh-grader David Hopps Jr. agreed.
“I hope to learn more about the different cultures we have here in southeastern Michigan, and I hope to make some new friends,” he said.