IGE is a meeting place for community groups that share our concerns about human rights and education for multicultural and religious awareness. We promote peaceful conflict resolution through training, workshops with youth and adults, and ongoing community discussion.

Democracy Spring at Freethought Cafe

Freethought Cafe is getting a visit from Democracy Spring this Sunday, 12:00 noon- 2 p.m. at the Institute for Global Education, 1118 Wealthy St SE.

Who are they? Citizens of all parties and none, risking arrest creating the biggest mass events at the capitol in a generation.  Why don’t you know this? There’s been a media blackout!  What are they fighting?  Big money in politics!
Democracy Spring will discuss the importance of citizen activism and the politics of respectability which intertwine with all social movements. The session will conclude with brainstorming about direct actions — small or large — which you can do in your communities.
We have a potluck too–share as you are able.  And if you disagree, that is fine too–we love us some articulate controversy.  This week, cocktails!
With special appearances from Democracy Spring Marchers, The Dome 12, Wolf PAC, the Prison Creative Arts Project, TYT Army, and some stirring chants.
Thank you, Democracy Spring. Now, I’m going to go create an appropriate beverage.  Democracy Stingers, anyone?

A Discussion on Anarchist Decision Making & PRDM


A Discussion on Anarchist Decision Making & PRDM

May 9 – 7:00pm

at the IGE office

The idea of PRDM (or Decision Making that relates to proximity and resource) is as *a* response to age old questions (in anarchist circles) of power and communication. The perception, and perhaps the attraction, of anarchism for most young people is that it is a way to be involved in the decision making that dictates the arbitrary choices that life is filled with. It is a way to seize power over ones own life by participation. Formal consensus is successful at structuring a method of what purposeful self-determination could look like for a group. Informal consensus is successful at evading what feels arbitrary and collectivist about formal consensus by being more casual and ad hoc about the points in formal consensus that seem arbitrary and bureaucratic.

We are proposing experimentation around a model we call PRDM. PRDM emphasizes autonomy and production rather than collectivity and personal growth regarding our projects. It sketches an idea of an anarchist decision methodology rather than a system of processes. It is also the system that we have been attempting to use at Little Black Cart over the last 10 years.

Benefit for Chester Lowe


We are hosting a benefit to cover Chester Lowe’s medical expenses in his fight against blood cancer–multiple myeloma. Chester must now take 31 medications and maintain a C-PAP machine. Chemo treatments can take a year or longer, with monthly hospitalizations. Fortunately, his vital signs are improving, but this will be a difficult fight. We need your help to raise the money Chester needs to live longer.

Film showing: “Where To Invade Next” by Michael Moore

Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 2:30pm

Institute For Global Education

1118 Wealthy Street S.E.

Grand Rapids MI 49506


Serving food and beverages, with a discussion after the movie. Event is free and open to the public.

Please donate generously, make checks to: “Chester A. Lowe Donation Account” at IGE address above.

Sponsored by Friends of Chester Lowe, contact Katie Villarie 616-459-6626



Young Lords, seniors, students, activists and academics unite to preserve community!

Young Lords, seniors, students, organizers and academics unite to preserve community!

By Tom Burke for IGE

Grand Rapids, MI—Close to 200 people turned out for “A Neighborhood Affair to Preserve Community” organized by the Young Lords Student Organization. The event at Grand Valley State University outside Grand Rapids, MI featured the academic and community organizing work of Jose “Cha Cha” Jimenez, founder of the Young Lords.

The event highlighted the Young Lords in Lincoln Park oral history collection and debuted new oral histories from nearly 50 African American and Latino senior citizens from southeast and southwest Grand Rapids. These stories, “Community House: Senior Histories,” will be available in March through the Kent District Library as well as the Young Lords Collection, housed at Grand Valley. Two professors also showed a rough edit of a Young Lords documentary they are working to finish.

Short speeches by local activists, community leaders, college administrators and local officials conveyed moving personal experiences working to end racism and poverty. There was well-deserved praise for Jose “Cha Cha” Jimenez and his work. Speakers included, Kent District Library director Lance Werner, former Kentwood Mayor Richard Clanton; Tony Baker, Grand Rapids Public Schools board president; Grand Valley President Thomas J. Haas; and Lee Van Orsdel, dean of University Libraries.

This was followed by the spectacular dance performance by Senior Steppers and then the Soul Syndicate band performing for a full dance floor.

José “Cha-Cha” Jiménez founded the Young Lords in 1968 to struggle for human rights and fair housing in Chicago when investors, politicians, and developers began displacing Puerto Ricans, Latinos and others from the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Jiménez organized a movement, formed the original “Rainbow Coalition” with the Black Panthers and Young Patriots, and published a newspaper to draw attention to substandard housing, police brutality and corruption in Chicago.

Jiménez moved to Michigan in the 1980s and later studied at Grand Valley. He began working with a faculty mentor to capture the stories of his friends and neighbors who stood beside him in the Young Lords. This collection began as a Student Summer Scholars project through the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship.

At the event Jiménez said, “While the collection represents two different neighborhoods, the focus is similar: capturing and archiving stories of leaders and activists so that others can learn and understand the history of their community.”

Access the collection online at www.gvsu.edu/younglords.

Kate Shockey speaking on behalf of the Institute for Global Education, a sponsor of the event, said, “We are proud to work with Cha Cha Jimenez here in Grand Rapids as we pursue peace and justice for all. IGE plans to organize to stop the removal of working poor and especially African American people from the neighborhoods around Wealthy Street.”

IGE Talks is hosting a follow up event with Paul Mayhue moderating, “Neighborhood Improvement vs. Resident Displacement”, Thursday, April 7 at 7pm at the IGE office, 1118 Wealthy Street Southeast, Grand Rapids, MI.

A Neighborhood Affair to Preserve Community


Tuesday, March 29, 2016 from 4 to 8:30pm

Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI

Kirkhof Center, Pere Marquette Room 2204

Food, Music, Dancing, and a Young Lords Documentary Film. The Young Lords in Lincoln Park collection, Community House: Senior Histories, and sponsors GVSU Modern Languages

Democracy in Black: A Black History Month Discussion with IGE

Democracy in Black Book CoverBlack families lost home equity, retirement accounts and years of accumulated wealth in the recession of 2008 amounting to triple the losses of white families. The effect on the next generation is already devastating. Yet political developments make the situation either invisible or misunderstood to most Americans in an election year. How did we get here, and how do we go forward in a way that empowers our whole nation to move forward together? Join us for a discussion of the new book by Eddie Glaude, Jr. PhD.: Democracy in Black.

Monday, February 29, 2016 at 7pm
at Institute for Global Education at 1118 Wealthy St SE, Grand Rapids, MI

Mary McLeod will present on the book and then we will have a discussion. (Reading the book is helpful, but not necessary.)

Eddie Glaude, Jr., PhD, argues that the diversity of black voices has been replaced by a black leadership establishment that keeps the social and economic inequality of black Americans invisible.

Princeton scholar and President-elect of the American Academy of Religion, Glaude documents the enormous and hugely disproportionate loss of wealth by Black Americans since 2008, which has not been recovered. That economic loss wiped out the ability of MANY Black families and institutions to support the next generation of Black children with the most basic necessities for success.

He is critical of recent leaders including Presidents Clinton and Obama for failing to create the conditions necessary for Black Americans to earn and enjoy respect. When the equalizing attempts of the Civil Rights years and Great Society were rolled back after only 15 years under Reagan, we missed an important opportunity to finally create an inclusive economic and social life in American. This rebalancing of subliminal messaging we receive moment to moment about our differences is necessary to close what Glaude calls “the value gap” for the benefit of Americans of every color, including white.

Glaude argues that guilt about continuing inequity prevents all Americans from enjoying clear vision of our nation and undermines our ability to work together respectfully. He chronicles a new mode of leadership enabled by Internet connectivity that is rejecting established leaders in favor of decentralized protest and local political involvement to unmask and redress inequality that is festering in the national psyche to the detriment of us all.

From Grand Rapids to a Guatemalan SaqJa Village


From Grand Rapids to a Guatemalan SaqJa Village
A report on building friendship and partnership

Thursday, March 17, 2016
6 – 8pm @ Institute for Global Education (IGE)
1118 Wealthy SE, Grand Rapids

Our reflection will focus on the progress in rebuilding the Mayan, Quiche village of SaqJa, destroyed in the ’80s by the U.S. backed Guatemalan military.

We will learn about the Grand Rapids/Guatemalan partnership built since 1996. We will discuss ways to address the underlying causes of immigration and the need for US immigration reform.

We will watch a slide show, enjoy music, and share a dinner of black beans with rice.

Contact:  Kathy Siegenthaler at 616-389-7340 and email hidden; JavaScript is required or IGE office at 616-454-1642 and Tom Burke at email hidden; JavaScript is required

Supported in Grand Rapids by Seeds of Justice Fund and East Congregational UCC and IGE

IGE Talks: The Flint Water Crisis

IGE Talks LogoWe invite you to our next talk Thursday, Feb. 18. 2016 at 7 pm at IGE, 1118 Wealthy SE, Grand Rapids MI 49506.

The Flint Water Crisis remains in the news as a problem created by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, that would have been better if he had left it alone. Individuals will make short presentations, first on the science of polluted water. We will follow with a review of the “Emergency Finance Manager” laws, which the right wing passed to squeeze every nickel until it screams. Behind the Flint decision was that Detroit Water, renamed the Great Lakes Water Authority, should be bankrupted and privatized. When Governor Snyder is driven by profit schemes to privatize public utilities, then public health is damaged and children suffer for the rest of their lives.