News & Blog: Community


Christina Arnold's Sense of Place

Christina Arnold, recipient of this year's Award for Community Engagement at our annual Spellebration event, has a profoud sense of place. Born and raised in Grand Rapids, Christina is the granddaughter of Daniel Christina and Mayor BlissVargas, a Mexican immigrant and one of the first Latino leaders in the community. As she tells the story, her grandfather would welcome anyone into his Grand Rapids home, providing translation services and support to his neighbors.

Formed in part by her grandfather’s passion for the Latino community in Grand Rapids, Christina spent her career at Grand Rapids Community College, helping others access educational opportunities. She was a student, then a secretary, and then an administrator. She is perhaps best known for the role she helped create at GRCC: Director of the Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Center for Equity and Inclusion.

The Center’s annual Diversity Lecture Series exemplifies the power of the relationships that Christina builds. Under her leadership, the series has started-- and moved forward-- incredibly meaningful community conversations about equity and inclusion. Moreover, it brought together people who might not share the same view, but who are willing to listen to each other because of Christina.

We are pleased to be honoring Christina and her work at our Spellebration event on May 11, 2017. She will be receiving this year's Ledy Award for Community Engagement sponsored by Grand Rapids Community College. And while Christina is the first to recognize that the work on diversity and inclusion will never be finished, we are grateful to her for her efforts to move us all one step closer to bringing about a just and vibrant West Michigan.

To purchase tickets, visit Spellebration Logo

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