Speaker highlight Bioneers conference


Detroit Mercy hosted the 14th annual Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit Conference Nov. 2 and 3.

The conference as a whole focused on problems involving global warming, issues in the community and Disability Pride.

To start of the conference on the second day, Wanda Jones passionately described some of the history of the Native American flute and played “Peaceful Solitude” on her instrument.

There were three things Dessa Cosma highlighted when talking about things that people as a whole need to focus on.

She spoke of disability pride and how to help “social justice, common good and the community.”

The Great Lakes Bioneers sessions on Friday involved many youths from middle and high schools

The morning saw them being led on tours that had a focus on humanitarian efforts, improving oneself and projects such as One Water for All.

While later in the evening it was more focused on adults and what they are able to do to help.

Also on the Friday were many speakers, as well as some recordings of speakers from a past meeting not in Detroit.

A student Jayden Lim spoke on the discrimination she felt growing up as a Native American student.

There were also recordings of plenaries by Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, the CEO of the Latino Community Foundation, and May Boeve, executive director of an international climate change campaign.

On the second day after the performance by Jones, a panel with Cosma, Janice Fialca and Rhiannon Chester spoke on issues involving disability pride.

There were three different talks played on the second day.

Among those featured was Justin Winters, executive director of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, who had discussed climate problems.

If nothing changes in our effort to protect the environment, said Winters, “It means the collapse of the world's coral reefs, it means 10 feet of sea-level rise, it means permanent drought covering one quarter of the earth.”

Other recorded talks featured Patrisse Cullors, Michael Pollan and Kevin Powell.

Powell’s presentation was titled “Redefining Manhood: A Message to Men, to Boys and to Us All.”