Free Pride Weekend event: KCC Center for Diversity hosting keynote speaker to kick off Pride Weekend events in Battle Creek

A text slide promoting KCC's Pride Weekend Keynote event scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 13, 2017, in downtown Battle Creek.

The Center for Diversity and Innovation at Kellogg Community College will kick off Pride Weekend in Battle Creek this week with a Pride Weekend Keynote and community discussion from a former FBI agent and noted outreach program director.

The keynote, titled “Staying Safe, Staying Strong, Staying Proud: A Call to Action Following the 2016 Election,” will be delivered by Cynthia M. Deitle, Esq., a retired FBI Civil Rights Special Agent and current program director for the outreach organization Matthew Shepard Foundation. The event will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, July 13, in the Lew Boyd Room of the Kool Family Community Center, 200 Michigan Ave. W, Battle Creek.

The event is free and open to the public, and appetizers and child care will be provided.

Deitle’s address will focus on Matthew Shepard, a gay college student whose murder in 1998 brought international attention to hate crime legislation and issues relating to LBGT rights. Deitle will present a touching tribute to Shepard, whose story inspired his parents and millions of LGBTQ youth and adults to use their voices, courage and their own journeys to promote acceptance and equality in the halls of Congress, the Oval Office and in their local communities.

Deitle also will facilitate a discussion from 10:30 a.m. to noon July 13 focused on how law enforcement personnel can combat bias-motivated violence. This special presentation, titled “Joining Together to Erase Hate in 2017 America,” is intended for law enforcement audiences and will be held at the Marshall Regional Law Enforcement Center, 714 Old US 27 North in Marshall. Registration is not required.

The CDI keynote event kicks off a series of public Pride Weekend events in downtown Battle Creek celebrating and supporting the LGBT community, including:

  • A Pride Parade beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, July 14
  • A Pride Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 15, in McCamly Park
  • A Candlelight Vigil beginning at 9 p.m. Sunday, July 16, at the Sojourner Truth Memorial

Keynote event guests are asked to arrive fragrance-free. For more information or to make accessibility requests, contact CDI Program Manager Sara Johnson at or 269-565-2107.

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