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GVSU will participate as partner in Great Michigan Read

  • headshot: Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha in lab coat
  • book jacket: What the Eyes Don't See

Posted on August 05, 2019

The Kutsche Office of Local History at Grand Valley is participating as a partner in the Great Michigan Read and will welcome author Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha to campus in the winter 2020 semester.

Hanna-Attisha is the author of "What the Eyes Don't See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City," which recounts her discovery of how children and residents of Flint were exposed to lead in their drinking water. Michigan Humanities selected the book as the Great Michigan Read for 2019-2020 and is coordinating an author book tour around the state; dates are yet to be determined.

Kimberly McKee, director of the Kutsche Office of Local History, said partnering with the Great Michigan Read is a good fit for the office and for the university. Last year, the office received a Michigan Humanities grant to explore how water impacts local communities, the project culminates with a campus exhibition in October. Grand Valley begins a two-year initiative, "Making Waves," focusing on the university's unique relationship to nearby waterways and lakes.

"This year’s Great Michigan Read selection underscores the importance of discussing questions of environmental justice and environmental racism in the context of local history," McKee said. McKee worked on the application for Michigan Humanities in partnership with staff members at the Grand Rapids Public Library to include both campus and West Michigan communities in the Great Michigan Read.

Hanna-Attisha is the founder and director of the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative in Flint. Currently an associate professor of pediatrics and human development at the MSU College of Human Medicine, she has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. She was among the first to question if lead was leaching from the city’s water pipes after its water supply was switched to the Flint River in 2014.

Hanna-Attisha will visit Grand Valley August 21 to give the keynote address at the 25th annual Fall Conference for Teaching and Learning, sponsored by the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center; learn more about the conference and register at gvsu.edu/ftlc. Her visit kicks off the Making Waves initiative, for more information visit gvsu.edu/makingwaves for information.

Learn more about the Kutsche Office of Local History online at gvsu.edu/kutsche

The 2019-2020 Great Michigan Read is presented by Michigan Humanities and supported by national, statewide and local partners, including the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Meijer Foundation.