Actor Edward James Olmos headlines Detroit diversity conference April 10 in Dearborn

Actor Edward James Olmos headlines Detroit diversity conference April 10 in Dearborn
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Actor Edward James Olmos headlines Detroit diversity conference April 10 in Dearborn

By Ray Hanania

Edward James Olmos in Washington, D.C., Jan. 1...

Edward James Olmos in Washington, D.C., Jan. 18, 2009, during the inaugural opening ceremonies. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Golden Globe and Academy Award nominee Edward James Olmos will headline the annual Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference in Dearborn April 10 featuring a day-long program of entertainment, educational instruction and attendee participation exploring issues of diversity. This year’s theme is “Embracing Diversity, Empowering Communities.”

Olmos is a civil rights activist and critically acclaimed Hollywood actor who has starred in many films including Selena, Stand and Deliver, and Walkout, and the popular TV series The West Wing, American Family: Journey of Dreams, Miami Vice, and Battlestar Galactica.

Additional conference presenters include: Hollywood actor Sayed Badreya who starred in Iron Man,  Don’t Mess with the Zohan, and he produced the award winning film short Chicago Mirage; Poet and Author Suheir Hammad and star of Russell Simmons’ HBO’s Def Poetry Slam; Heaster L. Wheeler, assistant Wayne County Executive and former NAACP President; Dr. Matthew Seeger, the Dean of the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University and a crisis management expert; and, Professor Frances Kai-Hwa Wang, a writer, activist and the Diversity Educator at University of Michigan.

The conference offers training for educational and community leaders explore levels of inclusion and portrayal of multi-ethnic communities and images in media, film, and television, the evolving role of diversity in the workplace, and ultimately the implications and changes in education, government, and corporate America,” said conference coordinator Siham Awada Jaafar, president of 3D Consultant & Communications Inc.

sayedbadreya“Prior conferences have proudly hosted other renowned speakers including Hollywood actress Kathy Najamy, Internationally acclaimed author and media critic, Dr. Jack Shaheen, Columbia University Scholar, Dr. George Saliba, and Ambassador Dr. Clovis Maksoud,among other esteemed trail-blazers in their respective fields. Over the past decade, the conference has hosted hundreds of participants which include members of TV, film, print and broadcast media; corporate and business leaders; educators; health-care professionals; human resource directors; diversity program managers; advertising, marketing and communications professionals; noted municipal and government employees including many elected state and local officials; law enforcement personnel; as well as community leaders from multiple diverse communities and vocations, from Metro Detroit and across the country.”

The 11th Annual Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference will be held at Byblos Banquets in Dearborn, Michigan, 7258 Chase Road on April 10, 2014 from 8:30 am until 4:00 pm. It provides effective educational tools for attendees and helps foster bridges of constructive dialogue, exploring challenges and triumphs and ultimately bringing communities together, Jaafar said.

Jaafar noted eligible professionals attendee the conference can receive Continuing Education Unit Certificates (CEUs) and State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH) are available to administrators, educators,  and counselors.

Beginning in 2012, the conference has held conferences in both Chicago and Greater Detroit, Last year’s Chicago conference featured Keegan-Michael Key best known for starring in the Comedy Central sketch series Key & Peele and for his six seasons as a cast member on MADtv. The nationally acclaimed Images and Perceptions Diversity Conference which will celebrate its 3rd annual conference in Chicago in November 2014.

DiversityConferenceChicago2013Images and Perceptions partnerships include RAWI, NAACP, SER Metro, La Sed, the University of Michigan-Dearborn and U of M’s Center for Arab American Studies. Sponsors include LegalZen, Ziyad Brothers Importing, DTE Energy, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Henry Ford Health Systems, and Comerica Bank. We continue and value our partnerships with the generous businesses, individual sponsors, attendees and the successful collaboration with national diverse multi-ethnic organizations and communities.

Past guests have also included: Comedy Central & Michigan’s own Keegan Michael Key, Hollywood Producer & Director, Asaad Kelada; Hollywood actress Kathy Najamy; author/media critic, Dr. Jack Shaheen; Former White House Bureau Chief Helen Thomas, Motivational, Diversity Trainer, Guadalupe Lara, film actor Haaz Sleiman, CEO & Motivational Speaker Victor Antonio, , Professor John Woods, PhD University of Chicago and Ambassador Dr. Clovis Maksoud; among other esteemed trail-blazers in their fields.

Jaafar said there is still time for sponsorships and booths for organizations. Registration includes breakfast, lunch & conference materials. Individual Registration is $125. Registration for groups of 5 or more is $100. Student registration is $35.

For more information, call 313-910-1955 or 313-671-1749. Or register online at

(Some photos Courtesy Bill Chapman Inc.,


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Managing Writer at The Arab Daily News
RAY HANANIA — Columnist

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

Click here to send Ray Hanania and email.

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Visit this link to read Ray's column archive at the ArabNews,com
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