The Federation of State Humanities Councils has presented the 2016 Schwartz Prize for outstanding work in the humanities to the Michigan Humanities Council (MHC) for its program, “Heritage Grants: Exploring the History of All Michigan’s People.”
The MHC created the program which is funded through the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, to support projects that “explore local histories at the intersection of race, ethnicity, and cultural identity in Michigan” and that use authentic voices, history, and experiences that highlight Michigan’s diverse and underrepresented groups.
Tibbits was the recipient of two Heritage Grants from the MHC for a variety of programming related to Coldwater’s local Yemeni community. Through partnerships with the Arab American Society of Coldwater (AASC) and Aira, a new nonprofit aimed at empowering Yemen-American women, Tibbits will continue grant activities through the spring of 2017. This includes a presentation of documentary films this Saturday at 2pm. The films examine the 2011 revolution in Yemen. The event which is free to the public will also include complimentary Middle Eastern food and discussion with audience members.
Also funded through the grant, will be an exhibition on the history of Yemeni immigration in Coldwater which is scheduled to open at the theatre in January. Additionally, the AASC will continue its Arabic Language School program in which students are taught how to read and write in their native language – something that is typically lost by immigrant groups by the third generation. Representatives from Aira will present cultural competency workshops to city employees and other groups in Coldwater.
“At a time when questions of race, inequality, and social justice are prevalent, council programs like Michigan’s Heritage Grants demonstrate how the humanities can move conversations toward understanding across generations and among diverse backgrounds,” said Esther Mackintosh, Federation President.
The Federation of State Humanities Councils, founded in 1977 as the membership association of state and territorial councils, provides support for the state humanities councils and strives to create greater awareness of the humanities in public and private life.
The state humanities councils are independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations supporting grassroots humanities programs and community-based activities. Humanities councils were created by Congress in the early 1970s and receive an annual congressional appropriation through the National Endowment for the Humanities, which most councils supplement with state and private funding.
For more information on the Heritage Grant program contact Tamara Apmann, Tibbits’ audience outreach director. Apmann can be reached at 517-278-6029 or at boxoffice@Tibbits.org.