H03-1514.5. Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance (LEDA). Records, 2002-[ongoing]. 0.25 linear ft.
In 1996, the knowledge that an African-American family had moved out of the community because they were not welcome or accepted spurred 18 concerned lakeshore residents to meet for the first time, determined to transform acceptance of racial and ethnic diversity into effective action for racial harmony. With the intent to address racial intolerance, dismantle racial barriers, celebrate diversity and empower residents already accepting of racial/ethnic diversity, they founded the North Ottawa Ethnic Diversity Alliance (NOEDA), a grassroots, volunteer-driven non-profit organization based in the Tri-Cities communities of Grand Haven, Ferrysburg and Spring Lake. Within two years, NOEDA’s programming expanded to meet identified needs in other communities along the Ottawa County lakeshore, including Holland, Muskegon, and rural areas where the cultural isolation of the 6,000 agricultural migrants who work and live on Ottawa County farms every year got little attention. Renamed the Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance (LEDA) to reflect its broader focus, the organization hired a full-time executive director and office staff in January 1999. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with tax-exempt status, LEDA is supported entirely by individual and corporate donations and foundation grants. Today, LEDA has a diverse membership representing a broad cross-section of interests and cultures, with more than 200 volunteers working on racial healing initiatives throughout the county, and 3000 residents receiving the organization’s biannual newsletter. The Lakeshore Ethnic Diversity Alliance seeks to dismantle racial, socioeconomic, and institutional barriers to ensure that people of all ethnic backgrounds have equal access and opportunity to participate fully in the life of the community. Dismantling the pervasive social barriers that keep people of color from enjoying access and equal opportunity to fully participate in the community, and promoting acceptance of the richness of diversity continue to be the basis of LEDA activities and services. Collection includes newspaper clippings, postcard mailings and newsletter (now archived on their website: www.ethnicdiversity.org).
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