KENTWOOD — A West Michigan staffing agency is starting a conversation about diversity. In fact, their weekly webinars are getting a lot of attention in the community.
Sara Knoester started Mixed Staffing and Recruiting out of Kentwood with a goal of helping women and minorities find jobs. She's since turned her focus into advocating for people who don't have a voice.
Knoester said her company has always stood behind diversity, equity and inclusion. But, the death of George Floyd really opened her eyes to all the injustice and pain in our country. Having a black husband and a black daughter, she said she realized she could no longer stay silent.
She created weekly webinars to create a community-wide dialogue. Each week features black panelists who share their stories, experiences in racism, and the change they want to see happen. Knoester invites anyone to join the discussion if they have the desire to learn, change, and break the cycle.
"I have learned that people genuinely are just so hurt and they're exhausted," Knoester recounts.
"They're exhausted of being the one token black person. They're exhausted of 'hey, now we need a diversity, equity and inclusion division.' What I've learned is we, as white people, need to be bringing more diversity, all of the time to the table, not just when things like this happen. We need to be intentional. We need to be aware of people around us."